Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Every morning, when I check my computer, I am greeted with an onslaught of subscription emails. Emails from blogs, websites and magazines I choose to follow. In an ideal world, I would spend time each day pouring over every detail, soaking up all of that wonderful information that I just love reading about. However, as you know, when you throw life into the mix, that just isn’t going to happen. I read what I can, save things for some unknown time and delete the rest.

Last week, an email from the website Food52 caught my eye. Food52, if you haven’t already heard of them, brings cooks together to exchange recipes and ideas. They are everything food; from recipes and tips to tools and products, you will most likely be able to find what you need at Food52. It is one of my favorites and I pay special attention to their updates. This email featured a Banana Cake with Panocha Frosting. I have been hunting for a recipe like this.

Last month, I was out to dinner with family. A big, multi-course dinner at a little local Italian restaurant, La Taverna in La Jolla. The very best part of the meal was dessert, banana cake. My SiL, Conni, and I each took a bite of our respective slices and looked across the table at each other. There were NO words; this cake was heavenly. I had never tasted anything like it, ever. Until now. Since that meal, I’ve been on the look-out for a recipe that will provide a light, fluffy and not overly-complicated slice of banana cake.

This recipe from Food52’s Lindsay-Jean Hard, a contributing writer and editor for the site, is THE recipe. You will not need another recipe for banana cake ever again. In fact, you won’t even need another recipe for banana bread. If you go to Food52, be sure to check out the story behind her recipe (I am making few, if any, actual changes).

 Share with You – Nashville Soundtrack featuring Lennon & Maisy Stella

Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting adapted from Lindsay-Jean Hard’s recipe at Food52.

For the cake:

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 bananas, crushed
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I was out of buttermilk, if this happens to you: combine 1 cup milk & juice of 1 lemon, stir and let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans (Next time I make this, I will use rounds of parchment in each pan: butter each pan, place parchment rounds in pans, butter and flour bottoms & sides).


Cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, bananas and buttermilk, mixing after each addition until combined.


In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.



Beat the egg whites, in a very clean bowl, until soft peaks form.


Fold egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden and the cake tester comes out clean.


For the Brown Sugar Frosting:

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and stir in the brown sugar. Stirring constantly, cook for about 3 minutes. Add the milk, raise the heat to medium and cook until boiling. Remove from the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is lukewarm.

Transfer mixture to a standing mixer. While beating, gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth.

Frost the bottom layer of the cake. Carefully place the top layer on the bottom, frost the sides and top of the entire cake.


In my opinion, the perfect slice of banana cake.

Enjoy after dinner with a glass of milk.



Or in the morning with your coffee (the way I like it:)).


I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! The cake itself is amazing even without the frosting. It will definitely be a regular in my cake rotation.

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Have a wonderful holiday weekend!




9 thoughts on “Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

  1. I saw that recipe pop up too and immediately saved it. It looked amazing, and now that I know it has the Sheli seal of approval, I’m definitely making it! Perhaps an Easter dessert…. ?

      • I ended up doing the brown butter brownies (another Food 52 fav) for Easter because my ‘nanas just weren’t ready. But they ripened up nicely while I was in Palm Desert, so I made this last night. So delicous! Have had three slices already… one for breakfast, one for snack, and one after lunch. 🙂 Not sure it will still be around tonight!

  2. This looks amazing! Have you ever had the Banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery in NYC? The hubby introduced me to it this week and now I’m all about banana desserts!

  3. This cake looks like everything I need in my life. I love banana — cakes, muffins, bread, whatever. And those pictures were making me drool. Seriously — this is on my short list of things to make very soon. The brown sugar frosting is (quite literally) the icing on the cake. Thanks for the inspiration! =)

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