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Banana Lemon Cake

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Our banana lemon cake is the delightful dessert you didn’t know you needed. It combines the comforting sweetness of bananas with the refreshing zest of lemons in a soft and tender cake. 

A slice of banana lemon cake with a bite taken out of the corner.

With its fluffy, creamy frosting, this versatile banana cake is perfect for everyday moments and special occasions. The light and airy frosting complements the rich flavors of the cake, making it an ideal choice for everything from a cozy family dessert to an elegant celebration centerpiece.

Here is Why This Banana Cake Recipe Works

  • Simple Ingredients: This recipe transforms everyday ingredients into a delightful dessert. Combining ripe bananas and fresh lemon zest creates a delicious balance of flavors.
  • Versatility for All Occasions: This banana cake is perfect for any time of the year and every type of gathering.
  • Balanced Moisture and Flavor: This recipe combines butter and oil to achieve the perfect cake texture. The butter imparts a rich flavor, while the oil ensures a moist and tender crumb.
  • Extra Tender Crumb: Alongside butter and oil, the buttermilk and mashed bananas enhance the tender, moist crumb. 

If you like this recipe, you will enjoy our blueberry banana muffins and our base muffin recipe. They are easy recipes that offer the same delightful balance of simplicity and flavor 

Banana Cake Ingredients

Here is a list of the cake ingredients you will need for this recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Produce: Bananas, Lemon
  • Pantry: All-purpose flour, Granulated sugar, Vegetable oil, Baking powder, Baking soda, Salt, Confectioners sugar. 
  • Dairy: Butter, Cream cheese, Eggs, Buttermilk
  • Condiments & Flavorings: Vanilla extract, Lemon extract.
Ingredients needed to make a lemon banana cake.

Ingredient Notes

 If buttermilk is not available, mix regular milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice as a substitute. You could also use kefir as a substitute. 

Swap out half of the granulated sugar for brown sugar which will add some caramel notes to the recipe. 

Make sure the bananas are ripe.

How to Make It

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with the recipe. You will see more details if you scroll down to the printable recipe card below.

Rubbing lemon zest into sugar.

Before you get started, whisk or sift the dry ingredients together. Next, use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar, then cream it with the butter.

Four process photos showing how to make banana lemon cake.
  1. Blend in the eggs one at a time.
  2. Beat in the bananas, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to the wet ingredients.
  4. Bake, cool, and frost or add a lemon drizzle. 

Variations: Banana Cakes with a Twist

Introducing a twist to traditional recipes can turn a simple bake into an extraordinary treat. Here are some variations of banana cakes that blend some fun flavors and textures. 

And for an extra zing, consider topping these variations with lemon icing, transforming the recipes into a simple snack cake. And if you are looking for more banana recipes, we have those too. 

Banana Chocolate Chip

Add chocolate chips to the batter for a sweet twist. Our chocolate nutella buttercream goes well with this recipe. 

Nutty Banana Delight

Add chopped toasted walnuts or pecans for added texture.

Lemon Poppy

Fold 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds into the batter. Top with a lemon glaze by combining one cup of confectioners sugar with 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. 

This variation is also great with a handful of blueberries scattered on top before baking. 

Tropical Twist

Add 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut and 1 cup of canned pineapple bits (drained). Top the frosted cake with dried banana chips. 

Several slices of snack cake topped with cream cheese frosting on a counter.

Tips for Success

When making our banana cake, keep these tips in mind for the best results:

  • Ensure your bananas are ripe for the sweetest flavor and moistest texture.
  • Room temperature ingredients mix better, so take your butter, eggs, and dairy ingredients out of the fridge ahead of time.
  • Don’t overmix the batter; stir until just combined for the most tender results. 

Serving Suggestions

Serve this banana sheet cake as a delightful dessert or a special brunch treat. It is perfect for birthdays, potlucks, or as a snack with your afternoon tea or coffee.

Storage

Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. The cake can also be frozen, for up to two months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this cake in advance?

Yes, the cake can be baked up to three days in advance.

Can I use a different type of citrus?

Absolutely! Orange or lime zest can be used in place of lemon for a different flavor profile.

Can I make this recipe with reduced fat?

If you reduce the butter or oil, the cake will not be as tender or moist. Even though bananas are sometimes used as a fat replacement, they do not work the same and you may be disappointed if you reduce the fat.

A slice of banana cake with lemon cream cheese frosting.

This lemon-infused banana cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of simple ingredients coming together to create something special. The rich banana flavor shines through in every bite and the hint of lemon brings the flavor home. 

Made as a sheet cake, this recipe is easy to slice and share, and it is perfect for potlucks and birthdays. 

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A slice of banana cake topped with cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Banana Cake

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This Lemon Banana Cake offers a subtle hint of lemon that beautifully complements the rich banana flavor. Made with very ripe bananas for depth and sweetness, the cake's lemon essence is enhanced by rubbing lemon zest into the sugar.

The Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting adds a creamy, tangy finish, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. This delightful cake, perfect for any gathering, combines the warmth of bananas with a fresh lemony twist for a truly satisfying dessert.

Ingredients

Lemon banana cake

  • 2-⅓ cups all purpose flour (280 grams)
  • 1-¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened (141 grams)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-¼ cup mashed bananas (284 grams)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (50 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk (76 grams)

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (block style)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper or grease with baking spray. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Add the sugar and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to rub the zest into the sugar. This will release the oils in the lemon zest and bring out the lemon flavor. Toss in the softened butter and use an electric mixer to beat on high speed until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well and scrape down the bowl between additions. Blend in the mashed banana, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. 
  5. Beat in half of the flour mixture. Mix in the buttermilk. Use a wide rubber spatula to fold in the rest of the flour. 
  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 36 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  1. Add the butter, powdered sugar, lemon zest, extract, and juice to a mixing bowl. Beat on medium high speed until smooth and creamy. 
  2. Add the cream cheese and beat until well blended. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. 

Notes

  • Use very ripe bananas for the best flavor and moist texture. 
  • There is a very faint lemon flavor in the cake. If you want a more pronounced lemony flavor, add ¼ teaspoon of lemon extract when you add the vanilla.
  • Maximizing the lemon flavor involves rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar to release the essential oils from the zest. You can add  ½ teaspoon of lemon extract to the batter if you want a more pronounced lemon flavor. 
  • For a smoother frosting, ensure both the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature before mixing.
  • The ripeness of bananas plays a crucial role in this recipe. Riper bananas not only impart more moisture and natural sweetness to the cake, but can also affect the baking time. As the sugar content in overripe bananas increases, it can lead to a moister batter, potentially extending the baking time. Keep an eye on your cake and do the toothpick test to ensure it's baked to perfection. When I use extremely ripe bananas, I have to add up to 5 minutes to the bake time.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 219mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This recipe was loosely adapted from my (very old) Betty Crocker cookbook and morphed into what it is today.

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandson or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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angiesrecipes

Sunday 24th of December 2023

The cake has a really soft and tender crumb! Wishing you and your family a very happy and joyful Christmas, Dahn!

Dahn Boquist

Tuesday 26th of December 2023

Thank you Angie. So glad you enjoyed the cake.

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