Banana Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting

Tangy cream-cheese frosting freckled with grated dark chocolate is sandwiched between layers of moist banana cake in this truly celebration-worthy dessert--everyday banana bread just can't compete! Make the frosting first so it can chill while you prepare the cake


  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar (about 3 ½ cups)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pans
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup safflower or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (1 ¼ cups)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about ⅓ cup), plus more shaved with a vegetable peeler, for decorating


    1. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in butter until smooth, 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in confectioners' sugar and salt until well combined.
    2. Increase speed to medium and beat until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush two 9-inch round cake pans with room-temperature butter. Line bottoms of pans with parchment rounds; lightly brush parchment with butter.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, oil, granulated sugar, and bananas. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Stir in flour mixture in two additions, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour.
    5. Divide batter between prepared pans and bake until cakes are golden and a tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack; let cool 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack, remove parchment, and let cool completely. Cakes can be frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 2 months.
    6. Place a cake layer, bottom-side down, on a cake stand. In a small bowl, stir grated chocolate into 1 cup frosting. Using an offset spatula, spread frosting evenly over top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer, bottom-side up. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Top with shaved chocolate. Cake can be assembled and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance; bring to room temperature before serving.