One Bowl Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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When I was married many years ago my two grandmothers gave me copies of two of the most popular cookbooks of that time, McCall’s Cook Book and Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, both published in 1963.  Many years later these are still two of my favorite books.  The recipes are down to earth and not cluttered with hard to find ingredients that I have to drive all over town to buy.  In these books my grandmothers and my mother found many of the recipes they prepared for everyday meals. Pages in both books have started to fall out and the most used pages are stained and have started to darken around the edges.  Ha…that makes me sound ancient, doesn’t it?  Considering the fact that these books are almost 50 years old I guess I am ancient.

This simple banana cake is one of the best I’ve ever tried.  Everything goes into one mixing bowl and the cake is light, delicate, and tender with a wonderful banana flavor.  My dad liked it frosted with whipped cream, sliced bananas and a sprinkle of finely chopped walnuts on the top, but this time a simple cream cheese frosting sounded better to me.  As you can see, I was a little heavy handed with the frosting.  My mom liked to frost just the tops of the layers so that’s the way I do it.  Spread thinner the amount of frosting will frost the sides as well. The layers freeze nicely so you can stick one in the freezer for another day if a big cake is too much.

An easy trick to make sure your layers are the same size is to weigh the filled cake pans on a digital scale.  It takes only a minute and the guessing is eliminated. I don’t know how I would get along without my little scale.  I use it almost every day… a must have kitchen tool.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
: Dessert
  • 2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well and flour two 8 inch layer cake pans or a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. Into the large bowl of an electric mixer sift flour with baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.
  3. Add shortening, bananas and vanilla. At low speed beat just until combined.
  4. At medium speed beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping side of bowl with rubber scraper.
  5. Add eggs and buttermilk, beat 2 minutes longer.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake layers 30-35 minutes, oblong pan 40-45 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip.
  7. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Fill with sweetened whipped cream and sliced bananas or with cream cheese frosting.
  9. Beat cream cheese with butter and vanilla until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach the consistency and sweetness that suits your taste.


 A NOTE ABOUT MY PANIC WHEN MY BLOG DISAPPEARED… One of the big problems involved in working with my blog is that I don’t know what to do when something bad happens.   I don’t know how to troubleshoot and many of the help sites are written in a jargon I don’t understand.  It is slowly getting better and I learn a lot when there is a malfunction.  The best source of help has been my blogger friends who quickly respond to my SOS email.  A huge thanks to everyone who sent me advice.  You saved my sanity. If you are thinking of moving to self-hosted WordPress and are computer illiterate like I am just expect that there will be a steep learning curve, but you can do it.  And you will be so glad you did.



  1. says

    Love to find cookbooks for teh 60s when I started cooking. They did use Shortening then, don’t see that too much anymore. Love the buttermilk in there and you can’t go wrong with a cream cheese icing.

  2. Kris says

    Wowie, does that ever look delicious Cathy! I am printing this! I don’t know what I would do either if my blog went poof! I have considered WordPress too.

  3. says

    My very first cookbook was McCall’s, given to me for my 20th birthday by my best friend Amy. Wonderful memories.
    However, my favorite banana layer cake has always been the one from Silver Palate. Yours looks delicious too!
    Karen@Mignardise recently posted..À BientôtMy Profile

  4. says

    Your cake looks magnificent and that frosting is over the top goodness! Love it and I’d love a slice right now!!! I have the same cookbooks, got them as wedding shower gifts in 1967; still use them even though they’re old, stained and tattered. Sometimes old is a good thing, Cathy!!! lol!!!

  5. Jean says

    The Better Homes cookbook was purchased during my home economics years in high school. I still have mine…recipes written everywhere…torn pages…pages stuck together from my messy cooking but I still love that old book. Its one of my favorites. They did come out with a gold cover edition and I have that too. I think it is chocked full of good recipes and techniques.

  6. says

    Hi Cathy, I too started out cooking in the early 60s with these two cookbooks, as I suspect the majority of young brides did! This cake has always been a big hit, with my children, and now my grandchildren. You just can’t quibble with pure goodness!
    I am a retired chef now, with thousands of cookbooks in my library. Since my retirement, I buy beautiful cookbooks with fabulous photographs, but I still read these good old standbys!
    Chef Kay Tucker recently posted..There they go again!My Profile

  7. says

    Heavy handed with the frosting? I don’t think that’s possible. My sweet tooth loves a GOOD frosting (not that fake stuff from supermarket bakeries). I’m ho-hum about banana bread. However, I’m banking that the buttermilk makes this cake moist and delicious. This is such a classic looking cake, and I do like that the cake isn’t frosting all the way around the sides. Sign me up, Cathy, for a slice.
    PS: I ate that bag of cinnamon-almonds all to myself. Call me selfish, but they were good!
    Foodiewife recently posted..Duck Breasts with Citrus Port Cherry Sauce– Ooh-la-la!My Profile

  8. says

    It looks wonderful, Cathy, and very much like the recipe I have used for years, which came from an older teacher I taught with. The blacker the banana the better. The cream cheese icing is one of my favorites.
    Kathleen recently posted..Eggsactly! Farm Fresh!My Profile

  9. says

    I think I had those same cookbooks when i first got married. You can see that the recipes have held up well – that banana cake looks scrumptious. I weigh my cakes too when I have more than one layer.
    ciaochowlinda recently posted..Baked ApplesMy Profile

  10. says

    I still have and use the 1970’s edition of the BH &G cookbook my sister gave me when I got married, Cathy. I’ve learned many a good recipe through it. Your banana cake looks moist and delicious ans the thick cream cheese frosting really makes it special.
    Pat recently posted..Thank YouMy Profile

  11. says

    I can’t believe in my many years of baking I’ve never made a banana cake like this – it has always been banana nut bread with my over ripe bananas! The photo of your cake is making my mouth water, though, and I’m grabbing a copy of the recipe :)

    Glad you got your blog fixed! Blogger is having issues again and the link to my blog list hasn’t been working for several days. Looks like I’ll have to put it back on the side bar. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to change to WordPress but if Blogger continues to act up – I just may.
    Susan recently posted..Pork Schnitzel with Lemon Caper ButterMy Profile

  12. says

    Yum! That cake looks delicious. I’m definitely going to be making this. Thanks for the recipe. You just perfectly described my 1969 Betty Crocker cookbook. Some of the pages in mine are taped together! laurie
    laurie recently posted..EVENING IN PARISMy Profile

  13. says

    I received this very same McCall’s cookbook when I was in junior high from my parents for Christmas. Those were the days of Home Economics for girls and shop class for boys. It’s one of my all time favorites in my cookbook collection which counts well over a hundred now. A tried and true, go to cookbook. Can’t wait to try this delicious looking banana cake.
    Susan recently posted..Snow and SoupMy Profile

  14. says

    The cake looks amazing and delicious. When I got married I got the same BHG red plaid cookbook, still one of my favorites too. It is definitely falling apart, but love it. Thanks for this recipe.
    Marilyn recently posted..The Last HatMy Profile

  15. Jamie says

    I can’t wait to make this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday! However, I don’t have an electric mixer, do you think I could get by without one?

  16. Lana Olsen says

    I posted this on Pinterest using your website as the link…I have had 208 repins and 38 Likes as of today. I made a cupcake version of this recipe and it turned out wonderful! Will be making this in September as the full cake version. Just thought I’d let you know how far this recipe is going via Pinterest.

  17. Sherry says

    Just made this delicious cake. I have been trying to find a recipe that was like the banana cake my mother made when I was a child with no luck until now. If this is not it, it is very close. Everyone that tried it, loved it.
    My only question, does it need to be refrigerated because of the frosting? When I tried googling I got mixed answers.
    Thank you again for this recipe & bringing back sweet childhood memories.

    • says

      Hi Sherry –
      Thanks so much for your comment. I do refrigerate the cake because of the frosting, but I take it out of the fridge about an hour before I serve it. The cake gets a little heavy when chilled because of the butter. So happy you like this cake. My mom made it too and I think of her every time I bake it.

  18. Anna says

    Hi there! Just wanted to let you know I made a smaller version of this cake, with the only change of replacing the milk with buttermilk, and it tasted delicious! It was a hit at the potluck I brought it to – no leftovers!

  19. says

    Found your site after a search for a banana cake recipe to bake for my husband’s birthday. How fun to discover we live in such close proximity! I’m in Vancouver, WA :)

    Anyway, this recipe looks amazing and fits the bill for his request – although he loves his with chocolate fudge frosting, so I’ll be swapping out the cream cheese this time, hahaha! I’ll let you know how it turns out :)
    Lindsey K. recently posted..Cocktail: The Bomb PopMy Profile


  1. […] by Cathy on December 31, 2012 I always look forward to the roundups of favorite recipes that many bloggers post at the beginning of a new year.  This morning I already have found a list of recipes I want to try that will take me well into Spring. Here is my list of favorite and most popular recipes of 2012, starting with the most visited One Bowl Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. […]

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