Banana Cake With Cinnamon & Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

14 Apr 2020

It can't just be me that's noticed the huge surge in banana bread since the lockdown, right? Everywhere I look, I'm seeing gorgeous bakes and lots of variations on the classic recipe, so it was hard not to get inspired! But it was actually Matthew who started the whole 'everyone's making banana bread and I want to join in' conversation, so the cogs started turning and we put together our own creation.

Despite that waffly intro about banana bread, this actually isn't a banana bread at all. We had a lack of loaf tins in the house, so we were resigned to making something a little less loaf-like and a bit more cakey, which I'm definitely not mad about. Of course, it would've been nice to join the sea of banana bread photos on Instagram, but hey, why be a banana bread when you can be a banana cake? So yes, this is a recipe for banana cake with cinnamon and vanilla cream cheese frosting - a totally winning combination that is guaranteed to be loved by all the family.

After hunting around a little bit, we settled on a Jamie Oliver recipe. It was pretty basic and required a quest for plain flour (which I actually managed to find, can you believe it?), but it meant that there was a little bit of wiggle room for our own customisation. Obviously, we wanted that main banana flavour, but we also wanted to add extra flavours for a little bit more of a contrast. While banana is lovely, it's always nice to pair it up with other flavours, like cinnamon, chocolate or hazelnut to really get those taste buds going.
As you can tell from the title of this post, we chose to incorporate some vanilla into this recipe, which works so beautifully with the banana, cinnamon and cream cheese from the original recipe. It just adds an extra hint of sweetness and helps to bring the spicy cinnamon to the forefront too! It's an absolutely dreamy mixture of tastes, so it's certainly worth a go if you like to try new things.

To get the vanilla flavour, we used the Sugar & Crumbs Velvet Vanilla Icing Sugar in the frosting, which tastes exactly like that Cornish vanilla ice cream that we all know and love from our childhood. We diluted it down with regular icing sugar to make the flavour a bit softer, so it works out at 100g plain icing sugar and 75g of the flavoured. However, if you can't get your hands on Velvet Vanilla, you can use 175g of regular icing sugar and add vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla pod.
For decoration, we went super simple and classic, and it was actually Matthew's idea! I was going to just leave the top of the cake blank with a generous coating of the frosting, but we had one lonely banana left. Matthew chopped it up with just enough to do a fancy ring of banana slices all around the edge, which made the final thing look totally Insta-worthy and ready to serve up in a cafe. It also meant that as the cake sat, the banana slices infused with the icing, just intensifying the flavour even more.

For the cake, you will need:
150g unsalted butter, melted
225g plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
Quarter teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas
150g soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
60ml natural yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting and decorations, you will need:
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g plain icing sugar
75g Sugar & Crumbs Velvet Vanilla Icing Sugar
60g cream cheese, chilled
Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
One banana, chopped into slices

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan/gas mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set to one side.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, peel and mash the bananas with the back of a fork, then whisk in the melted butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract. If it looks a bit lumpy, don't worry! That's all of the banana goodness.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and whisk until just combined.
  5. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Tip: to avoid a dry cake, check it 5 minutes before you want to take it out.
  6. Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 10 minutes, before turning it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make your frosting. Using an electric whisk, beat the butter, both icing sugars and cinnamon until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  8. Add in the cream cheese and beat until just combined. You don't want to go ham on this, because your mixture will become too soft. If you would like it to be a little stiffer, add in more icing sugar or pop it into the fridge to firm up.
  9. Once the cake has cooled, spread it on top of your cooled cake and make a pretty ring on banana slices all around the edge before serving.
Of course, because you've got slices of banana that are open to the elements and the air, this cake doesn't last the longest, but seeing as though we're all in lockdown, you may as well just eat the whole thing! It'll go down a total storm and would even make a lovely gift to drop off at someone's doorstep - just leave the banana slices off the top.

If you wanted to go a whole indulgent step further, you could add a drizzle of caramel over the top for a bit of a banoffee spin, or warm up some Nutella and mix it with cream to make a chocolate hazelnut drizzle. My mouth is watering at the thought! I think may be making another of these cakes before the lockdown is over!

Have you jumped on the banana bread bandwagon yet? Share your recipes with me!

Would you like to comment?

@thenorthernist