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Spiced Banana Snack Cake
This buttery spiced banana snack cake is a bit like banana bread, but richer, and topped with an irresistibly creamy vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. It's perfect for this time of year when you want those cozy fall flavors but aren’t ready for apple and pumpkin everything. Although if that is what you're looking for, I have a ton of apple recipes and pumpkin recipes that you'll love!
Why You'll Love This Easy Spiced Banana Cake Recipe
- Flavor. Obviously, it's jam-packed with banana flavor, but it's also perfectly spiced, which adds such a complex flavor.
- Texture. This snack cake is super soft and insanely moist.
- Easy to Make. Just mix the ingredients with a hand or stand mixer, bake, let cool, and top with frosting. No chilling or stacking layers is required!
- Size. This recipe is made in an 8×8-inch pan, so you can get anywhere from 9 to 16 servings depending on how you slice it!
This spiced banana snack cake contains pretty common ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Bananas: You'll need about 2 large bananas. Make sure to use overly ripe bananas, where most of the peel is brown/black. Brown, overripe bananas are sweeter because, in the ripening process, the starches in the banana are converted to sugar.
- Butter: This recipe uses softened butter, so it does require a tiny bit of planning ahead.
- Sugar: You'll use a combination of dark brown and granulated sugar for the cake. And you'll need powdered sugar for the frosting, of course.
- Eggs: You'll need 1 (whole) large egg and then 1 large egg yolk; make sure they're room temperature! Stick the eggs in a warm glass of water to help bring them to room temperature quickly.
- Vanilla: I generally prefer vanilla bean paste as I find it to lend a stronger flavor, but you can use an equal amount of vanilla extract!
- Buttermilk: This brings a pleasant tang to the cake and helps keep the cake tender by inhibiting gluten formation. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, use ¾ cup (180 grams) of milk with 2½ teaspoons of either lemon juice or vinegar!
- All-Purpose Flour: You'll need 1⅔ cups total.
- Salt: Baked goods made without salt can taste overly sweet but also a little plain, so don't forget it!
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: To help our banana cake bake up nicely.
- Spices: This is a spiced banana cake, after all. You'll need cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, and black pepper.
- Cream cheese: For the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting!
How to Make the Best Spiced Banana Snack Cake
There are two main components to this recipe: the spiced banana cake and the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting!
1. The Spiced Banana Cake
This banana cake is delicious on its own without the frosting. It's jam-packed with banana flavor and spices. The best part? It's super easy to make and comes together quickly. Like seriously, if you can hold a hand mixer and a spatula, you can make this cake!
To make the cake, you'll start by creaming the butter and sugars together until nice and fluffy. Then you'll add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and, again, beat until combined. In a medium bowl, you'll whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, and then gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk until everything is incorporated. Then just pour the batter into your prepared baking pan, and you're ready to send it off to the oven!
2. The Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Honestly, this frosting is so good that you'll want to eat it by the spoonful; just make sure to save some to frost your cake with! To make, you'll beat together the softened cream cheese and butter until combined. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt and continue beating until smooth and combined. Then, you're ready to spread the frosting on top of your cake once it's fully cooled!
Troubleshooting & FAQ
Can this recipe be doubled?
Absolutely! You can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-inch pan. You can adjust the 'servings' slider from 9 to 18 in the recipe card to get the proper measurements. Just keep in mind that your sheet cake might take a few minutes longer to bake overall.
How do I store this spiced banana snack cake?
This banana snack cake can be placed in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days!
Why did my cake sink in the middle?
A little bit of sinking when cooling is natural, but if the cake completely sinks to the point where the edges of the cake are higher than the middle, then something went wrong! It's possible that you underbaked the cake and removed it from the oven before the middle got a chance to finish baking. Adding too much leavener could also cause the cake to rapidly rise while baking and then collapse while cooling.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it's the most accurate way to bake and it's how I develop them; cups are not only inaccurate, but they vary in volume worldwide! However, if you look at the recipe card underneath the ingredients list, you can click "US Customary," and it'll convert to volume measures.
Spiced Banana Snack Cake
For the Spiced Banana Cake:
- 208 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 98 g unsalted butter softened
- 110 g granulated sugar
- 55 g dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg (50 g)
- 1 large egg yolk (20 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 213 g mashed bananas (approx. 2 medium ripe bananas)
- 195 g buttermilk room temperature
- cream cheese frosting
To Make the Spiced Banana Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) grease an 8×8-inch baking pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, pepper, and salt until combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Then add in the mashed banana and mix until fully incorporated. Don't worry if the mixture looks slightly curdled at this stage!
- With the mixer running on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, and mix each addition until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix! The batter will be slightly thick, and a few lumps are okay. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out evenly with a spatula. Bake the cake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and relatively crumb-free. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely to room temperature.
- Frost cooled cake with cream cheese frosting. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.