Banana Cake – Super Healthy Kids

Crguk-Wine

This moist, tender cake is packed with banana flavor and topped with a decadent brown butter icing that really turns this into the best Banana Cake you have ever eaten.

banana sheet cake with brown butter icing topped with fresh banana slices

Why We Love This Banana Cake

We go through a lot of bananas at our house. Like… a lot. We grab them when we’re running late in the morning, for a snack, or throw them into our bags as we head off to after school sports and activities. Even so, every once in awhile, there are a few that end up getting a little too ripe by the end of the bunch. And when this happens I do a little happy dance. Because even though there are a LOT of great uses for ripe bananas, I have shunned them all in favor of this cake.

It is a humble and unassuming sheet cake, but somehow I can’t help sneaking a forkful every time I walk through the kitchen. And neither can anyone in the family. It is tender and moist, and full of yummy banana flavor. But what really takes it over the top and keeps us coming back for more is that brown butter icing. If you have never before attempted browned butter, let me just tell you. It is life changing. Once you get the hang of the incredibly simple technique, you will be throwing that nutty, glorious stuff in EVERYTHING. Lets start with this cake, shall we?

banana cake cut into pieces on a sheet pan

Ingredients for Banana Cake:

  • sugar– we used white granulated sugar, although brown sugar could be used with similar results
  • greek yogurt– I used a whole milk variety
  • butter– I use salted butter
  • eggs
  • bananas– make sure you are using very ripe bananas! It will contribute to the overall sweetness and banana flavor in your cake. The riper it is, the better the banana flavor will be.
  • vanilla
  • flour– I used all-purpose flour. I haven’t tried a gluten-free alternative, but King Arthur Gluten Free Flour has worked well for me in the past.
  • baking soda– this will give a soft, fluffy texture to your cake.
  • salt– I almost always cook and bake with Kosher salt.

Ingredients for Brown Butter Frosting:

  • brown butter– more on this below!
  • powdered sugar
  • milk
  • vanilla
ingredients for banana cake

How to Make Banana Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a sheet pan.
  3. Cream sugar, yogurt, and butter.
  4. Add eggs, bananas, and vanilla.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients, just until combined.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and set in the middle.
process shots for how to make banana cake

How to Brown Butter:

While brown butter is actually very easy to make, there are a couple of tips we have to make sure it turns out perfect every time. Brown Butter = Delicious. Burnt Butter = Not So Much.

  1. Starting with cold butter, cut it into pieces. Add your butter to a saute or small saucepan over medium heat. Pro tip- Do not use a dark coated pan here! It makes it too difficult to see the darkened flecks as your butter begins to brown. Your butter can go from brown to burnt very quickly, so avoid using a dark pan if at all possible.
  2. Gently stir the butter or swirl the pan as it melts. You want to make sure you are continually stirring it so that the butter has the chance to brown evenly and the lovely flecks we are creating aren’t burning on the bottom of the pan.
  3. The butter will begin to foam. This usually takes about 5-8 minutes. Keep stirring! Once this happens your butter is just about done. You will start to see the golden brown bits at the bottom of your pan and your butter will smell rich and almost nutty.
  4. As soon as you reach this point, remove your pan from the heat and pour the butter into a glass bowl. The residual heat from the pan is enough to take your butter too far if left in the pan for too long.
process shots for how to make brown butter

Tips and Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is my banana cake dry? The yogurt and banana in this cake help to keep it super moist. If you are still having issues here are some other things to try:

  • Make sure you are not over-mixing your cake batter after adding the dry ingredients.
  • Do not over bake! Your cake is done when the center is set and a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.
  • Measure your dry ingredients accurately. A kitchen scale is a great tool for this!

What can I use instead of Greek yogurt? The greek yogurt adds moisture and acidity. If you don’t have plain Greek yogurt, you can use regular plain yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk.

Can I use frozen bananas? Yes! I actually do this all the time. Allow your frozen bananas to thaw completely; then drain the excess moisture before mashing.

Can I make the frosting with regular butter instead of brown butter? Yes, you can simply melt the butter and use it in place of the brown butter. But I highly recommend trying the brown butter!

Can you freeze banana cake? Yes! Banana cake freezes great. Make sure your cake is completely cooled before freezing. I like to cut it into individual pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and then put all of them into a large ziplock freezer bag.

slices of banana cake topped with fresh banana slices on a cooling rack

More Banana Recipes You’ll Love:

Banana Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed bananas 4 medium bananas
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup browned butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Banana Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a baking sheet pan (13×18 inches)

  • In a mixer or large bowl, cream together, sugar, Greek yogurt and softened butter until light and fluffy.

  • Add eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla. Mix until well combined and smooth.

  • Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

  • Pour batter into your prepared sheet pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when the top bounces back and looks golden brown.

  • Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before frosting.

Frosting

  • To brown your butter: Cut butter into several peices and add them to a saute pan over medium heat. Stir the butter the entire time to keep it moving. Keep stirring over medium for for 5-8 minutes until the butter begins to foam and turn golden brown. Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl to make your frosting.

  • Add confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.

  • Pour frosting over warm (but not hot) cake and smooth until the entire surface of the cake is evenly covered. Slice into 24 even slices. Serve warm or cool and enjoy with a tall glass of frosty milk!

Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

Natalie Monson

I’m a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie