Banana Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing



It is time for a cake.

Funny isn’t it? That cake day also happens to be Monday?

What a coincidence.


I had tomato sauce to talk about, but cake (as cake does) pushed itself to the front of my mind and refused to make room for anything else.

Besides, I thought it a good time (after all that talk last week about finding pleasure instead of anxiety in food) for me to remember that a slice of cake isn’t actually sinful, and do a little indulging myself.


I know it’s the middle of summer, and no one is making spice cakes with cream cheese, but the bananas were languishing on the counter, the block of cream cheese was calling me, and I had a craving.

Poll: would you call this cream cheese concoction frosting or icing? Is it regional? I grew up saying that you iced a cake, but now I read about frosting a cake, and some people say that icing and frosting are two different things! Educate this Texan. 🙂


Recipe notes:

This banana cake recipe comes from the classic Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It was new to me in that it is really a yellow cake with banana and not a soft, dense banana bread masquerading as cake. Of course I made a few tweaks, swapping out the 1 ½ cups of white sugar for ½ cup agave syrup, for example.

The banana flavor in this cake isn’t overpowering, and adding a bit of lemon to the frosting brightens it up just enough for a July breakfast (a very early breakfast, at 6:30 in the morning, before the sun has burnt us all to a crisp).

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cake:
½ lb. butter, room temperature
½ cup agave syrup
2 eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe banana (2-3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

For the icing:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
¼ lb. butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice or ½ teaspoon lemon extract

Oven at 350 F. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and greasing and flouring the sides of the pan.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add agave and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, banana, and vanilla, and beat to combine.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the mixer and stir on low just until combined, less than 1 minute. Add sour cream and stir just until combined.

3. Pour batter into pan and spread into an even layer. Bake 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

4. To make icing, whip cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice until combined. Then add powdered sugar in two batches, whipping until fluffy. Spread on cooled cake and serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator.


  1. This looks delicious. I’m picturing a nice cup of Earl Grey tea with a splash of milk and honey nearby the cake.

    1. Is that your London Fog? 🙂

      1. Nearly: London Fog = steamed milk + vanilla + Earl Grey tea. What I described is a cheaper version of that drink though. 🙂

  2. Amy McD · · Reply

    Breakfast? Dessert? Both?? Looks delish.

    I always had two different ideas for icing / frosting. Icing being like that stuff that can sometimes go on sugar cookies and is hard or on scones sometimes and frosting is like buttercream / cream cheese, etc. Pretty sure I would take a bath in both but that’s just me…

    1. Baha. Me too. Okay so outside of Texas, icing does not equal frosting. Got it. Um I’ve had this for both breakfast and dessert so far. 🙂

  3. mmmm, looks delicious, now I’m craving cake… even though I already ate two slices of cake today (but i won’t forget your post about how french people see food)

    have a great day 😀

    1. Thank you! This is a reasonable cake ya know? Just one layer–think of it as a snack instead of dessert, haha.

  4. huntfortheverybest · · Reply

    it looks lovely!

  5. If only I didn’t hate bananas…

  6. […] Banana Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing […]

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