Banana Honey Cake
A moist and tender banana honey cake with loads of bananas and the goodness of natural honey. Top with chopped walnuts for a delicious nutty texture and crunch.
Who’s with me and agrees you can never have too many banana cake recipes? Whether it’s a light and fluffy banana butter cake, spongy banana muffins, or a holiday rum and raisin banana bread, I love how bananas always turn anything I bake it with into a sweet and wonderful snack.
It’s one of the reasons why I never pass up on a recipe with my favourite tropical fruit listed in the ingredients, especially when I chanced upon this banana honey cake featured in a Williams-Sonoma desserts cookbook.
I made just a bit of adjustment to the original recipe, and I love this version even more! You’ll find it’s such a breeze to put together this banana honey cake, and in less than 20 minutes.
Give this cake about 40 minutes of bake time and in under an hour, you’ll be inhaling an irresistible aroma and tucking into a warm slice of fresh-baked goodness, savouring the smoky flavours of honey and sweet caramelised bananas.
Table of contents
How honey makes this banana cake extra moist and flavourful
I already knew bananas make our baked goods moist and flavourful, but combining bananas and honey is genius! And I’ll tell you why.
Until now, I’d only used honey sparingly in baking to sweeten cake batters but never as the hero flavour in my bakes. I didn’t realise I’d been missing out on something quite special!
Honey is a natural sweetener and considered a healthier alternative to sugar, but also has a few amazing properties besides its sweetness and flavour.
But I’m going to point you to honey’s most important use for home bakers like us. It’s hygroscopic – which simply means it holds and retains moisture really well, so confections baked with honey don’t dry out as quickly.
Adding honey not only gives this banana cake a wonderful molassey, earthy, even smoky flavour (depending on the honey’s taste profile) but also makes it extra moist.
I also love that this cake stays moist (again, thanks to honey!) even days after it’s baked. I do highly recommend having a slice of this banana honey cake warmed, spread with butter and drizzled with honey – so, so good!
Why ripe bananas are best for baking
When you get bananas with peels that are turning black and speckled all over, you know they’re just screaming to be turned into delicious banana cake, banana bread or muffins.
That’s because over-ripe bananas are hands down the best for baking. The riper the bananas get, the sweeter, bolder, and more intense banana-ey flavour you’ll get.
What happens as bananas ripen, is that more and more of their starches are converting into natural fruit sugars, and these sugars add a lot of moisture to any cake.
If you’ve got a bunch of bananas now that you’re dying to turn into this banana honey cake but looking like they’ve got a bit of ways to go before turning ripe, I’ve got good news.
You don’t need to wait for days! Here’s how you can quickly ripen your bananas in minutes and get started on this banana honey cake right away.
Ingredients to make banana honey cake
Like your basic banana bread, this banana honey cake uses a handful of pantry ingredients you likely already have on hand so it’s easy to whip up without making an extra trip to the grocer.
Here’s what you need:
- flour. Just regular plain or all purpose flour will do. You can substitute with self-raising flour and skip the additional baking powder. However, self-raising contains more baking powder than is actually needed for the recipe and may cause your cake to dome a bit but if you’re baking a loaf cake, it’d look perfect!
- baking powder. Makes the cake rise! If your baking powder has been unsealed and sitting in your pantry for a while now, it’s a good idea to check that it’s still active.
- baking soda. Reduces the honey’s acidity and helps the cake rise. As you would do with baking powder, check to see that your baking soda is still active.
- salt. A little salt goes a long way. It balances the sweetness of sugar and honey and brings out the flavours of the cake.
- cinnamon powder. Bananas and cinnamon make a great flavour combination – optional but highly recommended.
- unsalted butter (skip the salt if using salted butter). Use butter that’s been brought to room temperature. Be sure to take cold butter out of the chiller at least 20 to 30 minutes before.
Here’s an easy way to know when your butter is ready for creaming. Press a finger on the butter. It should still feel firm but give way a bit without leaving a greasy feel. If you have an instant-read thermometer, insert it into your butter. It’s ready for creaming when the ideal temperature reaches 19°C (66.2°F).
- brown sugar. Adds moisture, colour and a light molasses flavour.
- honey. The hero flavour in this cake (and the bananas, of course!). I used regular honey but you can use your favourite honey flavours, just remember these flavours do come through in the cake.
- large eggs. I use large eggs, each weighing 60 – 63 grams (2 – 2.25 ounces) in its shell.
- vanilla extract (optional). I use pure unsweetened vanilla extract. If using vanilla essence, double the amount in the recipe.
- bananas. Overripe bananas are simply the best for banana cake. Use ripe ones off the bunch or frozen. Mash with a fork before incorporating it into the cake batter.
- walnuts. The Williams-Sonoma recipe uses walnuts but you can switch out for your favourites. If you like nuts in the cake crumb itself, lightly toast an additional 0.5 cup (70 grams) of chopped walnuts and fold it into the batter together with the mashed bananas.
Step by step: How to make a banana honey cake
Here are the steps to making a banana honey cake (please read the detailed recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Sift together the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
- Paddle or beat the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the honey and beat at medium speed until well incorporated.
- Increase mixer speed to medium-high. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract until blended and smooth.
- Reduce mixer speed to low-medium. Beat in ½ of the dry mixture until just incorporated
- Beat in ½ of the mashed bananas. Repeat with the remaining dry mixture and the remaining mashed bananas until the batter is well combined. The final batter should be thick, smooth and a bit lumpy.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Level the surface and smoothen with a rubber spatula.
- Sprinkle the chopped walnuts. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a metal or bamboo skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Which honey is good for baking?
This recipe tastes great with any regular honey. You can really elevate the flavours of this cake with richer, darker or specialty honeys.
Cakes baked with honey can taste molassey, earthy, woody, even smoky or fruity with varietal honey flavours.
As a general rule of thumb, use:
- light or mild honey if you want a simple sweetness and a light honey flavour without overwhelming the other flavours in your cake.
- rich or dark honey if you want a rich sweetness and complex flavour profile with honey as the hero flavour in your cake.
How to store banana honey cake
Allow the cake to cool completely before storing. Store in an airtight plastic container or a well-sealed storage bag at room temperature.
This banana honey cake keeps moist for up to 5 days, but is best consumed within 3 days. If storing for longer, keep in the chiller for an additional 3 days.
If you intend to freeze, immediately wrap the cake, whole or individual slices, with a double layer of plastic wrap on the day it’s baked and completely cooled.
Place the wrapped cake into a well-sealed freezer bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To thaw, pull out the freezer bag or individually wrapped slices from the freezer, unwrap and set on the counter to thaw for at least 1 hour.
To warm, microwave individual slices on medium power setting for 20 to 30 seconds. Spread some butter over warmed slices and enjoy.
If you’ve got jars of honey you’re wondering what to do with, I promise you this banana honey cake is a great option. It makes a delightful breakfast or afternoon tea snack with a cup of coffee or tea.
Check out more delicious banana treats:
- Rum and raisin banana bread
- Banana spice cake
- Banana butter cake
- Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
- Honey-drizzled golden banana fritters
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- 240 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
- 100 g light brown sugar, or coconut sugar
- 170 g honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 240 g ripe bananas, mashed
- 70 g walnuts, chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease the base and sides of a loaf pan 20 x 10 x 6 cm (8 x 4 x 2½ in). Line with parchment paper and grease again.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon into a mixing bowl.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or using handheld beaters, beat the softened butter and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the honey and beat at medium speed until well incorporated.
- Increase mixer speed to medium-high. Add the eggs one at a time, each time beating until well incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla extract until blended and smooth.
- Reduce mixer speed to low-medium. Beat in ½ of the flour mixture until just incorporated. Next, beat in ½ of the mashed bananas. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining mashed bananas until the batter is well combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Level the surface and smoothen with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a metal or bamboo skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean or with a bit of crumbs, not sticky batter. Note: This cake will bake to a dark golden brown due to the honey. Tent with aluminium foil during the last 10 minutes of baking if you want to prevent it from browning too much.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Release the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once completely cooled, store in an air-tight container. Keeps well at room temperature for up to 5 days, best consumed within 3 days.