Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

This Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting is a moist one bowl banana snack cake that pleases everybody, from the pretty crunch of the poppy seeds to the creamy vanilla buttercream, it’s a joy to make, and eat!

That handful of everyday ingredients pulls together to make a really special cake…I’m not sure if it’s the extra ripe bananas, the poppy seeds, the sour cream in the batter, or that frosting with a virtual galaxy of vanilla bean specs. But in the end, does it really matter? This cake is perfect, that’s all we need to care about, right?

Vanilla beans are expensive, but you can also use vanilla bean paste, which is one of my favorite new discoveries. It gives you that same flavor and beautiful specs at a much lower cost. The heavy vanilla presence in this frosting really makes a difference, and extract just doesn’t cut it.

Of course you could double the recipe and made a grand layer cake, but I like it this way, it’s more approachable, more snackable. And I could never eat a layer cake for breakfast 😉

I know this is going to become your favorite…

‘Nuf said.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got more great banana cakes on the blog~

3.3 from 60 votes

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Author Sue Moran


the cake

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

the vanilla bean frosting

  • 3 to 4 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature (about half the 8 oz package)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
  • milk or cream for thinning the icing
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter, sugar and sour cream together. Beat in the egg, bananas and vanilla. (Make sure the bananas are completely mashed smooth first)
  • Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into the wet mixture. Mix together just until thoroughly combined. Fold in the poppy seeds.
  • Spread the batter into a greased 8x8 square baking pan. I lined mine parchment paper (or foil) so I could remove it easily for a neater presentation and cutting.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick just comes out clean.
  • Cool before frosting.
  • To make the frosting--- mix everything together until you have a thick, creamy, spreadable consistency. Taste to adjust your lemon juice.
  • Heap onto the completely cooled banana cake and swirl it around thickly.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


Don’t forget to pin this Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

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  • Reply
    February 11, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    Sue, I was looking at both your Banana Poppy Seed cakes (this one with Vanilla Bean frosting) and your other cake with the Lemon Buttercream frosting.
    This cake calls for 1/2 cup of Poppy Seeds and the other cake calls for 1/3 cup. Which amount would you recommend?
    Another question: This cake calls for 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract and the other one shows 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract. Is one of these amounts wrong?
    I’d like to make one of these cakes for my niece’s birthday at the end of February.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 11, 2021 at 1:57 pm

      I made these cakes at different times, and they have different amounts os some ingredients just because that’s the way I roll 🙂 Some people don’t like too many poppy seeds, so the amount is completely up to you. I adore vanilla, and sometimes I get heavy handed. I think a teaspoon is fine for this cake.

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