Grandma’s Buttermilk Banana Cake Recipe

This recipe was tucked away in my Grandma's cookbook, written in pencil on a green piece of paper. It's quickly become one of our favorites.

// June 24, 2015

I recently inherited A LOT of my paternal Grandmothers everyday items. My Grandma died several years ago, but most recently my Grandpa passed away at the age of 92. After their life-long house sold, my Aunt Connie packed up much of the houses’ belongings and sent them from Wisconsin to New York. The pod arrived and the neighbors gathered to look at the contents with us. One neighbor helped Will carry in my Great, Great Grandfathers childhood bed, that my Grandma used as well. And her hutch too. I’m not even going to try and list all the treasures but I did learn that I got my collecting bug from my Grandma!

Everything was in pairs, she would always buy two. And she saved everything. Everything. I always knew the story of my dad having a club foot as a baby, and the doctor breaking his foot to correct the club foot. In one box was an infant cast, it was my Dad’s little foot cast. My Grandma saved it for 60+ years. I love to see the deeply personal items she saved. It’s such a look into her soul and what she loved.

Included in the heirlooms was my Grandma’s cookbook. Tucked inside the cover was a hand written recipe for Banana Cake. I thought I’d give it a try and decoded my Grandma’s pencil written recipe. It’s a great recipe! And requests to make it again we’re quick, so I thought I’d share it.

When I first looked at the recipe I was thinking: ok, how is this different from banana bread? This recipe has two sticks of butter, while my banana bread recipe has less than an half cup of fat in the form of oil. I also find this cake much denser and richer than banana bread, making it a decadent dessert. You could serve it a few ways: in a rustic pan, as a layer cake with vanilla icing or as squares with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the summer.


Grandma’s Buttermilk Banana Cake

When you start this recipe, gather a 2-cup glass measuring cup (or bowl), and three bowls. You’ll make the buttermilk mixture in the measuring cup, one bowl for mashed banana mixture, one for the dry ingredients and the last for creaming the butter and sugar and eventually adding all the other ingredients.

  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 3-4 medium size bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour (unsifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mash bananas in a small bowl and add vanilla, stir and set aside.
  3. Measure buttermilk in a large glass measuring cup, add baking soda and gently stir. Mixture may foam a bit so make sure your measuring cup is larger than 1 cup. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with electric mixer. Add eggs, mix to combined.
  6. Add buttermilk mixture and mix until combined.
  7. Add flour mixture gradually, mixing well after each addition.
  8. Add mashed bananas mixture, mix well.
  9. Bake in greased and floured plans. Two 8 inch cake pans or one 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. I used an oval 13 inch pan and it worked out just fine. This makes an excellent sheet cake that could be cut into squares and served.
  10. Bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes. If you use two 8 inch cake pans, I would estimate only 50 minutes. I find this batter dense and moist, so it takes a long time to bake.

Serve with powdered sugar, or your favorite vanilla frosting recipe.


This recipe has been so popular I made a downloadable PDF! You can print the PDF and keep it your recipe book. Download the Buttermilk Banana Cake Recipe.

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  • Reply whitney November 10, 2015 at 1:26 am

    Oh this sounds amazing, and what a nice story behind it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Saturday Sites: Week Five | January 31, 2016 at 8:23 am

    […] This buttermilk banana cake, […]

  • Reply Beverely March 25, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Hi! Have you tried this recipe in a bundt pan? I’m thinking it would work just fine. Lmk!

  • Reply Lane April 12, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Susan, I made this cake only a few hours ago. It was fantastic and really easy to make. I paired it with a buttercream, caramel-flavored frosting.

    I was too much of a chicken to try it in a bundt pan. But, I think I’ll try it next time with some powdered sugar. I used two 9″ round cake pans and it was ready in about 40 minutes.

    Thank you so much. This recipe is a keeper.

    • Reply Susan Brinson April 12, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Wonderful! I loved it too – such a great find. I’ll have to continue going through my grandma’s cookbooks. 🙂 I have not tried this in a bundt pan, mainly because it’s such a heavy batter and dense cake. It would make a lovely bundt, so I’ll give it a go. I’ll post my results and let everyone know how it turned out. 🙂

  • Reply Julie Blanner April 20, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    This looks delicious. I definitely must try this recipe!

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