Grandma’s Buttermilk Banana Cake Recipe

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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 pans. 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, cream cheese frosting, 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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  1. whitney says:

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

  2. […] This buttermilk banana cake, […]

  3. Beverely says:

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

  4. Lane says:

    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.

    • 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. 🙂

  5. This looks delicious. I definitely must try this recipe!

  6. Sha says:

    Hi susan.. i came across your page and decided to try the recipe..

    The cake turned out wondeful i must say ☺

    Tq for sharing your grandma’s recipe. Wishing you all the happiness in the world ?

    • Sha – thanks so much for checking out our blog trying the recipe! It’s pretty amazing, once we started making it, the banana cake became really popular around our home. I’ll have to spend some time going through my Grandma’s other recipes. Thanks again!

  7. Georgenia Clifford says:

    I fell in love with it, just tasting the batter. I was pacing, waiting for it to bake. I wasn’t disappointed. It was perfect.
    Do you have a recipe for banana bread or a peach cobbler? I am working on a simple cookbook idea to pass on our family recipes. I would like to include this recipe, if you have no objections? If ok. Would like to give credit to your
    Grandma. Her full name? House of Brinson by Grandma _____ ______ Thanks in advance ????

    • Georgenia! I’m so glad you liked the cake recipe! It’s a keeper. 🙂 Of course you can include the recipe. My grandma’s name is Jewell Orvis. I do have recipes for banana bread (which I make frequently) click here for the link. I’d like to work on the peach cobbler one a bit more to perfect it. There is a really good recipe for apple cake (click here for the link) on our blog that’s a family favorite too. I’d give that one a try too. Thanks so much for reading and trying the recipe. I’ll have to spend some more time sorting through my Grandma’s recipes!

  8. Geeta Vora says:

    the cake came out excellent , too good.

  9. cathie says:

    I just made this tonight, because I had to use up my too-ripe bananas and a litre of buttermilk that was close to the expiry date. Soooo much better than my standard muffin recipe, it is so moist and even without icing, it was so very good. I think with cream cheese icing it would be even better. Thank you, its now a staple.

  10. Stephanie Burkland says:

    The instructions say to add baking powder to the dry ingredients. Baking powder is not in the list of ingredients.

    I am not a great baker. How much baking powder?

  11. Stephanie Burkland says:

    I looked again and found the recipe posted again that indicated the amount. Thanks

  12. Amy Richeson says:

    Hey Susan, I noticed that you mentioned perfecting the peach cobbler recipe. Just curious what recipe that you’re using? Thanks

  13. Camille says:

    This is an outstanding recipe, and I highly recommend it. I had brown bananas and leftover buttermilk, and when I Googled “banana buttermilk” this recipe popped up. Thank goodness it did! I made it for a contest at work and it tied for first place (sadly it didn’t win in the tie-breaker). It was moist and fluffy and even my husband who doesn’t care for banana-flavored things liked it. I baked it in a 9×13 Pyrex glass dish and it was done right at the 50 minute mark. I sprinkled powdered sugar on top. Delicious! Thank you.

  14. Jan Bertolini says:

    i really love this oval pan. Can you tell me who the manufacturer is, and what the size is? Perfect presentation for such a simple banana cake. thanks

    • Hi Jan! I love this pan too – and bake with it all the time. It has a rustic elegance I love. The manufacture is a French company Mauviel, and our pan is the copper outside and stainless inside. Size 9 x 14 inches. These pans can be quite expensive but worth every penny. I found this one at a yard sale for $20 and called all my friends to tell them about the good deal! Here is a link for the same pan. Look a the brand name and model number and sales around the holidays.

      • Jan Bertolini says:

        thank you for the quick response! I know this manufacturer and that was a backup for me! I thought this might be cast iron, I didn’t see the copper. I appreciate your responsiveness. I saw one on Ebay yesterday and might just get it.


  15. Afton says:

    Did anyone ever try this in a bundt pan?

    • Not to my knowledge, but it would look beautiful! My only concern would be cooking time. This cake batter is pretty thick and dense, making a heavy cake. You’d need to cook for quite some time, maybe an hour and a half? Let me know if you try this!

  16. Mary says:

    Just made this delightful cake for our Bocce team tonight. It was still warm when we started to eat it!! needless to say I didn’t bring any home. This recipe is my all time favorite. Thank you so much for sharing

  17. The Furnshop says:

    I have never tried this before. I liked this buttermilk cake recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  18. Jennifer Essad says:

    We’re enjoying this banana cake – I baked it yesterday adding fresh blueberries. You’re right, no frosting needed! I seek out recipes from our grandmother’s recipe collections because they are tried and true. Thank you for sharing with your followers

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