Banana Walnut Cake - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Cake | Cakes & Cupcakes | Dessert

Banana Walnut Cake

July 1st, 2023
4.67 from 21 votes
4.67 from 21 votes

Banana Walnut Cake is a ridiculously easy one layer ultra moist cake loaded with flavor and topped with a rich cream cheese frosting.

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

This post is sponsored by The California Walnut Board. All opinions provided are my own. Thanks for supporting me in working with brands I love to bring you new recipes!

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: There are a few flavor-boosting ingredients, like brown sugar, sour cream, cinnamon, and walnuts that really help take this easy cake to a new level of deliciousness.
Texture: The cake is moist and tender without being too delicate to frost and serve easily.
Ease: Super quick and easy. Short amount of prep time and no special equipment or skills required.
Pros: Fun combination of banana bread and cake that I think will become a go-to recipe.
Cons: None that I can think of!
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

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This easy, quick Banana Walnut Cake is the perfect use for over-ripe bananas.

the whole banana walnut sheet cake before slicing

Whether it’s in cake, bread, cupcakes, or muffins, I just love baking with bananas. Most of the time, I actually hope my bananas will over-ripen before we can eat them!

As a kid, I didn’t like nuts very much. I would turn my head to brownies or cookies made with nuts.

It wasn’t until I tasted a slice of banana bread made with walnuts that I was truly converted. Now, the combination, plus just a hint of cinnamon, is the epitome of comfort food in my mind.

The cake itself is tall, moist, and sturdy enough to handle the thick cream cheese frosting.

No layers, no assembly, no special equipment. It’s also easy to transport and serve, so this would be perfect for a potluck, party, picnic, or housewarming treat.

Of course, what banana cake would be complete without the crunchy earthy bite of California Walnuts?

I hope you enjoy this simple cake as much as I do!

a closeup of one slice of Banana Walnut Cake covered in quick cream cheese frosting

How to Make Banana Walnut Cake

How Ripe Should Bananas be for Banana Walnut Cake?

  • Be sure to use overripe bananas for this Banana Walnut Cake recipe.
  • The best bananas for baking should be very well-speckled or even nearly black.
  • This is important when baking banana cake, Banana Bread, muffins, or cupcakes!
  • Why use overripe bananas? Besides the fact that they’re not good for much else in the kitchen, overripe bananas are actually significantly sweeter and will contribute more banana flavor AND more moisture to the recipe.
  • If you use underripe bananas (and when I say ‘underripe,’ I mean for baking specifically), your muffins will be bland and dry.

side-by-side comparisons of bananas to show which is best for baking

The Best Way to Mash Bananas

  1. Place bananas in a bowl and use a fork to mash them into a banana mixture.
  2. OR, place bananas in a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the bananas until they’re mashed.

Do I Have to Use Cream Cheese Frosting? 

I love this cake with a layer of rich and tangy cream cheese frosting. Feel free to use any frosting you want, or none at all if you want to make this a little less sweet. Personally, I think that chocolate frosting would taste delicious too!

What’s the Best Pan for Banana Walnut Cake?

I highly recommend using a light-colored 9×13-inch metal baking pan for best results. Dark-colored pans will brown the edges and make them dry. Glass or ceramic pans will work in a pinch, but you’ll likely need to increase the baking time and lower the temperature by 25°F.
Check out this article on Glass vs. Metal Pans for more information.

How to Make MOIST Banana Walnut Cake

  1. Don’t add too much flour! Be sure to measure your flour correctly. Too much flour will create a dense, heavy, dry banana cake. I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale, but if you don’t have one, use the ‘spoon and level’ method. Learn more about how to correctly measure flour here
  2. Do not reduce the sugar. Sugar does much more than simply sweeten your baked goods! Read more about the role sugar plays, and see my experiments with lowering sugar in baking, here.
  3. Avoid overmixing. Overmixing your batter can result in dry, dense cake instead of light, soft cake with a moist crumb.
  4. Use overripe bananas. Follow the other tips above for using overripe bananas for the best guarantee of moist cake.

closeup of the sliced Banana Walnut Cake

How to Store Banana Walnut Cake

Store Banana Walnut Cake covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.

Can You Freeze Banana Walnut Cake?

Unfrosted Banana Walnut Cake can be wrapped well in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before frosting and serving. 

slices of Banana Walnut Cake on a white background

More Recipes You’ll Love:

4.67 from 21 votes

How to make
Banana Walnut Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Banana Walnut Cake is a ridiculously easy one layer ultra moist cake loaded with flavor and topped with a rich cream cheese frosting.


For the cake:

  • 3 cups (372 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups (300 grams) mashed bananas, from about 4 medium bananas
  • 1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (106 grams) California walnuts, chopped

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at cool room temperature
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • Chopped walnuts, for garnish


Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time. On low speed, beat in half the dry ingredients then the bananas, sour cream, and milk. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently stir in the walnuts. Do not overmix.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. Unfrosted cake can be well wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before frosting.

Make the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light, creamy, and smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy.

  2. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Garnish with chopped walnuts. For cleaner cuts, refrigerate for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Video

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id="5q7WkOAW" upload-date="2022-01-10T20:41:35.000Z" name="How to Tell If Your Bananas Are Ripe Enough for Baking" description="Are you using underripe bananas?! Using overripe bananas in your baking will result in moist, sweeter baked goods. Here's how to tell if your bananas are ripe enough!" player-type="default" override-embed="default"]
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : banana cake, banana walnut, cream cheese frosting, easy, sheet cake, walnut

This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated with additional recipe tips. 

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    G Judy — September 2, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    My husband loves this cake. I think he intentionally buys more bananas than we can eat just so I will make this for him! So yummy.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 6, 2022 at 9:32 am

      Haha smart man 😉 So glad you both enjoy this cake so much, Judy 🙂

  2. #
    Danielle — March 1, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Can i use the blue bird flour in place of all purpose?

    • #
      Tessa — March 2, 2021 at 11:27 am

      That should work! Enjoy!

  3. #
    Steven Buchet — January 15, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    I made this cake for my family. They LOVED it. Highly recommend it, especially if you have bananas that have ripened.

    • #
      Tessa — January 18, 2021 at 9:53 am


  4. #
    Arbee — November 17, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Was easy to make and wonderful to taste. Thank you

    • #
      Tessa — November 17, 2020 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks so much, Arbee!

  5. #
    Julie Lakey — October 25, 2020 at 9:06 am

    I made 12 cupcakes and a small loaf cake from this mix. I gave them the topping with walnuts.
    These were the best cakes I have ever made! They all rose and had such a light texture. And so moist!!
    I will definitely make these again and can give them my highest recommendation! And they are all gone now.

  6. #
    Gabi — October 6, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    I made this cake and today and yea it is moist but didn’t have much flavor ,kinda blah it needs some other seasoning in there

  7. #
    Mary Mincey — September 28, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Can you later this cake

  8. #
    Toni Rich — September 19, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    I’m about to make this for the second time. I had people lucky enough to get to try this say it is the best banana cake ever. So moist and tasty and the walnut and cream cheese frosting make it so delicious. This time I’m making a double batch because I need to share with so many friends and family that just loved it last time.

  9. #
    Lucia R — August 6, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    This cake is literally one of my family’s Favorites! They all loved it so much and are always asking for me to make it as it is perfectly moist and flavorful. There is no banana flavoring missing at all and the cream cheese frosting compliments it so well that i honestly didn’t expect it to! I added a bit of cinnamon to the frosting along to give it a kick and MMMM DELICIOUS. I actually made this into a two layer 9 inch round cake and it was PERFECTO!!! Thank you so much Tessa for sharing your recipes!! I have def become more confident in my baking and learned so much!

  10. #
    Cynthia Tatum — July 26, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Absolutely delicious! Making it for the second time in just three weeks. Three of my granddaughters had a piece and wanted me to bake them one. I didn’t have walnuts for the second one so I substituted with chopped pecans. Hope it doesn’t change the taste.

  11. #
    Jennifer — May 12, 2020 at 5:46 am

    Why does my banana walnut cake fall apart when i cut it up?

    • #
      Myra Das — June 28, 2020 at 1:34 am

      Hi Tessa, I am making this cake and don’t have cream cheese is there anything else i could replace it with???????

    • #
      Myra Das — June 28, 2020 at 1:34 am

      Hi Tessa, I am making this cake and don’t have cream cheese is there anything else i could replace it with???????

  12. #
    May — April 26, 2020 at 5:51 am

    I like the way you wrote the recipe because it gave me the amount in grams and clear instructions. Excellent!

    I have done a 8 by 8 square pan and halved all the ingredients.

    I noticed that my oven is not working so well nowadays. I have applied 180 Degree Celsius but it went down to 150. So midway, I have adjusted it back to 180

    The cake turned out to be a bit charred on the surface. But the inside is a bit soft and moist. Not like the usual banana cake.

    Can you advise why?

  13. #
    Mrinalini Batra — April 16, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Turned out perfect!

  14. #
    ann — April 16, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Can this recipe be baked in a bundt pan instead of 9×13” rectangle? How would you adjust oven temp and baking time? Thanks

  15. #
    Nina — April 8, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    So easy. Toast the walnuts.

  16. #
    Nancy — March 29, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Great recipe to use up your over ripe bananas. Easy to make and it’s delicious!

  17. #
    Lydia — January 31, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Family loved this cake! I did make some changes: doubled the vanilla in the cake, substituted Fage Greek Yogurt for the sour cream & increased the walnuts to 2 cups.

  18. #
    bz — January 25, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Just made this. Go away. It’s mine.

  19. #
    Sharon — November 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Scrumptious cake!! The cream cheese frosting with walnuts took this cake to new heights! I made this for my neighbors and one described it as “AMAZING” and the other described it as “DELICIOUS”! Will make again and again! Thank you for this keeper recipe!

  20. #
    Terri Gossett — October 27, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Awesome cake, family and friends LOVE it! One asked me for a 5 gallon bucket of the frosting!

  21. #
    Christi Robbins — September 5, 2019 at 5:27 am

    Amazing! My husband was so in love with this cake that he came wagging in a brand new KitchenAid stand mixer so I could make some more. I had to use my hand mixer on the first batch so it was a little challenging. Looks like I’l be making another one today. 🙂

  22. #
    Shery Sullivan — August 12, 2019 at 11:49 am

    I will make this for my mother’s 88th birthday tomorrow. She requested banana walnut cake. She’s coming for dinner with 2 friends from her assisted living center. Then some of my mom’s 13 kids will come for the cake. Thanks for an easy recipe. If I make it today shouldI refrigerate it till tomorrow?

  23. #
    Lesley — August 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Enjoying it very much (at this very minute, with coffee). Perhaps it was the bananas, but I think I’ll up the white sugar by a quarter cup next time. I also doubled the amount of vanilla, but again that’s just my taste. The texture is very nice, dense without being heavy. Definitely a keeper, thanks so much!

  24. #
    Alvina — July 9, 2019 at 11:03 am

    How could I make it as a eggless cake..

  25. #
    Susan — May 20, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you!! I’m thinking about making 2 layer with whipped cream icing.

  26. #
    Susan — May 19, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Can you bake this in a 11×15 inch pan?

    • #
      Tessa — May 20, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      The cake will be shorter if you do so and you’ll need to adjust the baking time, I’d shave off probably 5-10 minutes.

  27. #
    veda vispute — April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am

    What can i use as a substitute to sour cream?? Is it essential?? Can i eliminate it??

  28. #
    BeckyB — August 14, 2018 at 6:54 am

    This was a huge hit. I made it in 9″ round pans and stacked the 2 layers, then decorated it with sliced bananas and more walnut pieces scattered around.

  29. #
    Loredana Robertson — February 27, 2018 at 2:53 am

    I made this recipe and was amazing!! I added extra 50g dark chocolate chips and 150 g raisins. Baked it in a 10”round tin and cut it in 4 layers 1/2” each . As a filling i used a caramel buttercream . Delicious ! I will try more recipes from you. Thank you for sharing

  30. #
    Jennifer Hermosillo — August 23, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Actually I’m wondering can you use reallt ripened frozen bananas…? In place of just ripe?

  31. #
    Vincent Wong — August 21, 2017 at 3:25 am

    I want to purchase your E-book but I can’t login. If purchase your E-book do need to login to view your E-book?


    From Vincent Wong (Malaysia)

    • #
      Tessa — August 24, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Nope! You would have been sent your eBook files via email.

  32. #
    helen cheng — August 18, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Tessa, can i omit the sour cream or replace with something else as i could not get sour cream in my country. Thank you.

    • #
      Tessa — August 20, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Plain yogurt should work!

  33. #
    Karen — August 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I cannot wait to bake this banana cake. I will make it with Nutella frosting because my husband does not eat cream cheese! It looks moist and delicious.

    • #
      Tessa — August 20, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Hope you guys enjoy!!

    • #
      Brad — August 7, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      So far, so good. I will say, you may need to double the liquids on this. I tried following it step by step, and the batter was entirely too dry. Added more milk to it, and it became the perfect consistency.

      • #
        Brad — August 7, 2019 at 5:46 pm

        Also, it seems that 35 minutes isn’t quite long enough to get the center done. I’m going to try for 40 to 45 minutes.

  34. #
    Janet — August 18, 2017 at 7:28 am

    I love your recipes & save many of them for future use. It would be great if when you hit the print button,the photo of the recipe printed also. I find it jogs my memory when going through my recipe collection. Thanks for all you do.

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