This fabulous One-Bowl No-Mixer Banana Cake comes together in minutes. The creamy vanilla bean icing is a perfect pairing and the candied walnuts are… let’s just say, the crowning glory!
It seems that almost everyone loves a good banana cake. This dreamy One-Bowl No-Mixer Banana Cake is really good! It’s super moist, just sweet enough and has a delicious tender crumb. Add the creamy vanilla bean icing and a handful (maybe two) of crunchy candied walnuts and you’ve now taken it to nirvana status!
Tips for one-bowl, no-mixer cakes
I love cake – but not just any cake. It has to be really good cake. Otherwise, to me, it’s just not worth the calories. I used to think that you had to pull out a mixer and go through a lot of steps (and a lot of dishes) to make a really good cake. But because so many of you (our wonderful Café followers) are busy people with very full lives I decided to try to simplify the process of making a cake, a really good cake.
The first attempt at this was my French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake back in 2015, a recipe that’s super popular in France and has a delightful history. You can read more about that in this post but it’s the easiest cake recipe ever and you can have it put together almost as quickly as you can say “French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake”. Check out the video below and you’ll see just what I mean:
The French Grandmother’s cake seemed to go viral and, to this day, it’s one of our readers’ most beloved recipes. I love this cake too and the simplicity made me want to create more really good cake recipes that didn’t require a lot of time and that didn’t dirty a lot of dishes.
If you’ve been following the Café for any amount of time, you may have made one or more of these fun, easy cakes. I call them one-bowl, no-mixer cakes. They all can be mixed up in minutes with a bowl, a spatula and a whisk. You can discover more of these one-bowl recipes in our Café archives.
As you can tell by the name, this One-Bowl No-Mixer Banana Cake belongs to this special collection of cake recipes, it’s really good and really easy! I thought this might be a good place to share a few tips on making this type of no-fuss, no-fail cake:
- If the recipe calls for butter, make sure it’s really soft so it will quickly and easily blend with all the other ingredients. That can be easier said than done, especially in cold, winter seasons. I have a few little tricks that I use to soften butter perfectly:
- Bring a cup of water to a boil in the microwave. Let it boil for a minute or two. Place a plate with unwrapped, cold butter into the microwave with the steaming water. Close the microwave and allow butter to soften. This will take 20-30 minutes.
- You can also turn your oven on for 1 minute then turn it off but leave the oven light on. This is also a great place to soften butter. It’s warm but not too warm. Usually, within 15-20 minutes the cold butter will be perfectly softened.
- A way to soften butter quickly is to put cold butter in the microwave on 10% power. Microwave for 1 minute and then check to see if it’s soft. If not, continue to microwave on low power (10%) for 15-second increments until nice and soft.
- Most cake recipes call for combining the dry ingredients (usually flour, baking powder or soda and salt) in a separate bowl and then adding them to the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, milk, etc.). I got a little unconventional when I started making one-bowl, no-mixer cakes and veered away from this step. I simply sprinkle the leavening agent and salt, evenly over the wet ingredients and give it a stir, then add the flour and stir again. Works like a charm!
- Use a good whisk for mixing the butter, sugar and eggs together. It’s important to get this mixture smooth and a bit fluffy and a whisk works well for this. A good whisk is not expensive and will become a good friend to you in the kitchen. I really like the comfortable feel of this KitchenAid whisk. It’s strong, durable and comes with a lifetime warranty!
- Another simple but super helpful kitchen tool when making one-bowl, no-mixer cakes is a sturdy silicone spatula. These are great for folding in dry ingredients as well as for cleanly scraping your batter into a cake pan. I really like spatulas with a strong wooden handle like these Nordic Ware Spatulas.
- I like to use a mixing bowl with a handle when making my one-bowl, no-mixer cakes. These Pyrex bowls are my little kitchen workhorses. I use the large one for mixing cake and cookie batters and the smaller ones for measuring. They’re safe to use in the oven, microwave, fridge, freezer & dishwasher!
If you have any aspiring baker friends or family, the kitchen tools listed above would make a wonderful gift! And, who knows, you might be one of the beneficiaries!
An amazing combination!
I thought that a simple vanilla bean buttercream and some candied walnuts would be nice on this banana cake, but when Scott and I took the first bite, it was more than nice. It was heavenly! As I mentioned in the introduction, the creamy, buttery vanilla bean icing is a perfect pairing and the sweet, crunchy candied walnuts are definitely, the crowning glory!
I also served it to two of our grandchildren last night and they ate up every crumb and their plates both looked like they had licked them clean. They declared in unison that this One-Bowl No-Mixer Banana Cake was definitely “blog-worthy”! Wish you and I could pour a glass of cold milk or fix a cup of tea and sit together enjoying a piece of this delicious cake!
Café Tips for making this One-Bowl No-Mixer Banana Cake
- You want nice, ripe bananas for this cake. Green or yellow bananas won’t work. Bananas with lots of sugar spots or even bananas that have turned completely brown on the outside are great. Some stores actually sell their ripe bananas for a reduced price. You might have to check with someone in the produce department as they’re usually tucked away in a corner or bin somewhere.
- As stated above, make sure your butter is nice and soft for this cake. See tips above for softening butter.
- This recipe calls for vanilla bean paste. Vanilla bean paste is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract. You can find vanilla bean paste at some stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes or online. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste and don’t want to try to find it, just use an equal amount of regular vanilla extract. It will still be delicious!
- The vanilla buttercream recipe is enough to frost the top and the sides of this cake. If you want less icing, just make a half batch and frost only the top of the cake.
- I call this a one-bowl, no-mixer cake but the icing does require a bowl of its own. I simply wash out the bowl I use for the cake while it’s in the oven and use the same bowl for the icing.
- The candied walnuts are optional. This cake will be wonderful without them if you’re short on time. But if you have a few extra minutes, wow, these shiny, sweet, crunchy nuts add a fabulous final touch, the crème de la crème!
- If you choose to make the candied walnuts, you will have more than you need for this cake, but they are WONDERFUL for snacking, on salads, on ice cream… You won’t be sorry you made them (unless you’re dieting!).
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- ¾ cups ripe mashed banana about 2 medium-size bananas
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons very soft butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup very soft butter
- 2 tablespoons half and half or cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2-2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts not too small
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Spray an 8-inch round cake pan (with at least 2-inch tall sides) with baking spray. (If your 8-inch pan is less than 2-inches, use a 9-inch round pan.)
- In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, stir butter until smooth. Add sugar and stir until well combined (mixture will be thick). Add the egg and egg yolk and vanilla. Stir until well combined and smooth.
Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top of the butter mixture and stir to combine. Add ½ cup of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated. Add approximately half of the buttermilk and stir until combined.
Repeat adding another ½ cup of the flour and then the remaining buttermilk, stirring until blended after each addition. Add the final ½ cup flour and stir until the flour has disappeared.
- Add the mashed bananas and stir until well combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Cover the top with foil during the last 5-10 minutes if getting too brown.)
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Stir the soft butter until smooth and creamy
- Add the half and half (or cream), the vanilla bean paste, 2 1/4 cups of the powdered sugar and the salt. Stir with a whisk until smooth and creamy.
When the cake is completely cooled scrape the icing from the bowl onto the center of the cake. Spread over the top (and down the sides, if desired) with an offset spatula. You want a thick, but spreadable icing.
- Sprinkle with the candied walnuts (optional).
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper, two forks and a slotted spoon with cooking spray to coat. Set aside.
- Combine sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Swirl the pot a bit in the beginning to dissolve the sugar.
- When the mixture is bubbling, add the walnuts and stir to coat the nuts. Continue to cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes or until the sugar solution starts to turn golden. Now keep an eye on it and stir continuously until the mixture is a deep golden color.
- Remove pan from the heat and, working quickly, use the slotted spoon to transfer large spoonfuls of nuts to the prepared pan. Use the two forks to separate the walnuts as much as possible. Allow the nuts to cool on the pan.
See Café Tips above in post for lots of additional tips and instructions.
Cake recipe adapted from Food.com
Candied Walnut recipe adapted from Preppy Kitchen.
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