This easy Banana Sheet Cake is made with cream cheese frosting and is the best banana cake, as it’s incredibly moist and packed with sweet banana flavor. Plus, this banana cake recipe is made with vanilla wafers! It’s perfect.
Who wouldn’t want a banana cake with vanilla wafers?! Part of the flour in the recipe is replaced with vanilla wafers and it *might* be the best decision I’ve ever made.
If there was only one recipe I could make for the rest of my life, it just might be this Banana Sheet Cake recipe.
Banana bread is the ultimate comfort food, and it’s no secret around here that I whole heartedly believe my mom’s banana bread recipe is the best one out there. This maple glazed banana bread? It’s her recipe with a little fall flair on top (aka, the maple glaze—in case you weren’t picking up what I was putting down 😉).
Since I don’t technically consider banana bread a dessert (I mean, it probably has enough sugar in it to be considered one, but let’s not go down that road…it’s a bread and I call that breakfast), this banana cake with cream cheese frosting is The One.
It’s full of banana flavor, is perfectly vanilla-y thanks to those amazing Nilla wafers, and that homemade cream cheese frosting is my favorite frosting of all time.
Quick side note here, let’s talk about Stranger Things and Nilla Wafers.
One of my all time favorite scenes is during the first season. If you haven’t seen the show (what are you waiting for?! In all seriousness, I had to start the first season twice before I became hooked. And the second season was by far my favorite. So if you tried but couldn’t get into it, try again!), I won’t give away any spoilers.
But, there is a scene where one of the kids, Dustin, is at a potluck table and he’s eating the vanilla wafer cookies. There’s this serious conversation going on around him, but he’s totally into the food and he bites into the cookies, and he’s interrupts the conversation and says something like, “Man, these aren’t real Nilla Wafers.”
It’s the little details in the show that kill me. It was in that moment Dustin became my favorite character on the show. One, he can tell the difference between off brand and the real deal (I can too, Dusty. I can too). Two, he says things at inappropriate moments (I’ve most definitely been extremely guilty of this). Three, this kid is hilarious.
Anyway, let’s move on. Let’s break down what I consider to be the best banana cake ever.
Banana Cake Ingredients:
- Sour Cream
- Baking soda and salt
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- Nilla wafers
Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients (aka the best cream cheese frosting ever):
- Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
- vanilla extract
- half & half (cream or milk will work here too)
Tips and Tricks to Making this Easy Banana Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- First things first, this is a moist banana cake recipe from scratch. Where does it get it’s moisture? This easy banana cake gets it from the bananas and from the sour cream. Of course, you can sub out the sour cream for greek yogurt, if you would rather.
- Can I make this banana cake without buttermilk? If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, squeeze a little bit of lemon juice into plain milk and let it sit (you can also do this with vinegar instead of lemon juice). The acidity reacts with the milk and creates buttermilk.
- Why do you use butter instead of oil? I use butter for the flavor and the texture. Since this is a banana cake with sour cream and plenty of bananas, the recipe does not need oil to make the cake moist. Oil is pretty much flavorless and is often used for added moisture. Butter is used to make a good crumb texture and for the flavor it imparts.
- 2/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs, large
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Nilla wafers, crushed into crumbs
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 medium bananas, mashed (or 2 large bananas)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 5 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp half & half (or heavy cream or milk)
- pinch of salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup Nilla wafers, crushed into crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
- With a standing mixer or a hand mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in the sour cream and mix it until well combined.
- Add in the granulated sugar and the brown sugar; cream the mixture until well combined and light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, vanilla wafer cookies, baking soda and salt together.
- Alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mix, add the flour mix and the buttermilk to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined (it’s okay if there is still some flour not entirely mixed in yet).
Add in the vanilla extract and the mashed bananas. Mix until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading in an even layer.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden brown and a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Allow the cake to cool.
- With a standing mixer or hand mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter together, until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add in the vanilla extract, pinch of salt and 1 Tbsp of half & half. If the frosting seems too thick, add in the remaining Tbsp of half & half.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and sprinkle with vanilla wafer crumbs, if desired.
- Store leftovers in the fridge.
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