Banana Cake with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Cake with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

I first had this cake at our cottage last summer. Our neighbour brought it for dessert when I had her to dinner. When she told me it was a Banana Cake I thought, “Oh, that will be nice.” However, I wasn’t prepared for the moist deliciousness that was in store for me. I was so obsessed with the cake I couldn’t stop eating it and the cream cheese frosting only took it further over the top. Normally, I keep a piece or two of a dessert and then send it home with the generous guest who made it. I don’t like having too many sweets in the house and, really, who doesn’t want to go home with something they slaved over in the kitchen. Although, this time,  I didn’t want to send any home. I asked if I could keep it all and, when she asked for “just a bit,” I gave them the tiniest of slivers. For the next three or four nights, I couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning to have this cake with my coffee. I’d slowly eat it savouring every bite since it was like eating the fluffiest birthday cake crossed with the most impossible moist banana bread. I’d complete the week of leftovers by licking the plate clean of its smudges of cream cheese heaven. I decided I had to have the recipe.

I never ask friends or family for recipes any more. In my old life, when I was the editor at a magazine, I never thought twice about asking someone for a recipes I enjoyed. And people never thought twice when I asked. Now, as a food blogger who creates recipes, I feel awkward asking. And people some times act awkward if I ask. I remember I once asked a good friend for her recipe for homemade greek yogurt and she said that she doesn’t give out her recipes because she is superstitious about sharing them. She thinks a recipe that has been shared will no longer work for her. I’d never heard the superstition before, but I completely understand the importance of family recipes. I also realize some may fear their humble little recipe may end up here for any one to critique. (Although, I’d never share a recipe without any ones blessing.) Besides, I like the challenge of trying to re-create a dish on my own. Yet when it came to this Banana Cake I just had to ask. I needed this EXACT cake with its impossible moistness and perfect balance of banana flavour. I was nervous to ask, but, at the end of the day, I have no shame when it comes to cake.  Thankfully, Julia happily gave me this family recipe that Dan and Scarlett call the greatest banana cake they’ve ever had in their life.

Julia’s version of this cake was two, 8 inch cakes stacked with deep layers of cream cheese frosting. However, I decided to make it a sheet pan so it was an easier assembly job. As a result, I had to adjust the baking time to be sure to not dry out the cake. I also added cardamom to the frosting to compliment the spice in the cake. The outcome is this easy cake that is great for a party or a Wednesday. It’s versatile and over-the-top delicious and, not that I’m a big believer in superstitions, but Julia has reported that the cake still comes out perfect every time in her kitchen.

Photo by Jasmine deBoer

Banana Cake with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • For the frosting
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 12 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk 


Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a sheet pan and then dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Line the bottom with parchment.

Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in one egg at a time. Add vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, mash banana and mix buttermilk.

Whisk all purpose flour, spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture alternating with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. 

Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Tap down the pan to release any air bubbles. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool and then refrigerate before frosting.

For the frosting:

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary. Add the vanilla extract. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on medium-low speed until blended. Sift in the cardamom. Beat in one tablespoon of milk at a time until you have desired consistency. 

Frost the cooled cake with a knife or an offset spatula. 


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    • Laura
      July 25, 11:48 Reply

      Hi, I use a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan. Happy Baking.

  1. BigFatDiva
    July 22, 09:46 Reply

    Hi – so excited to make this cake. what size sheet pan do you use?

    • Laura
      July 25, 11:47 Reply

      I’m so excited for you to make it too. I use a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

      • Laura
        July 25, 11:48 Reply

        Hi, I use a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2 inch sheet pan. Happy baking!

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