Readers agree this Banana Coffee Cake with cream cheese swirl will be the best coffee cake of your life. Hundreds of reviews call it “HUGE hit!,” “Phenomenal.” “5 stars,” and “AMAZING!” I’ve also included how to make the cream cheese banana bread gluten free, dairy free, egg free and how to ripen bananas quickly!
- IT’S FLAVOR TEXTURE HEAVEN. This coffee cake tastes like sweet banana bread with bursts of chocolate, slight crunch of walnuts with a mega creamy cheesecake-like layer of cream cheese all topped with Cinnamon Walnut Streusel and a kiss of Vanilla Glaze.
- EVERYONE LOVES IT: This deliciously moist Banana Bread Coffee Cake is a banana bread lover’s dream! Actually, it is everyone’s dream because my husband was going crazy for this coffee cake, and he doesn’t even like banana bread! One reader said:
“This cake is to die for. The term “coffee cake” is almost an insult!! It is so much more than that. It is decadent, rich, creamy and absolutely delicious and full of flavor!!”
- THICK AND CREAMY CREAM CHEESE LAYER. I played off of my Cream Cheese Stuffed Carrot Cake, but I used a little different technique so this filling is even creamier! It borders more cheesecake than just cream cheese due to my special technique.
- STRAIGHTFORWARD. This Banana Coffee Cake requires a few extra steps, but each is simple and easy and it’s totally worth it.
- VERSATILE. Omit the chocolate chips or walnuts, use gluten free flour, dairy free ingredients, etc. Substitutions included!
- Cream Cheese Filling: Use full fat cream cheese for the most creamy, dreamy results. It is combined with some reserved batter, sugar and vanilla extract for a decadently creamy filling that takes minutes to whip together.
- Bananas: You’ll need one cup mashed bananas which is about 2 ripe bananas.
- Butter: You can taste the butter in this coffee cake recipe, and it is sublime! Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt in the recipe.
- Sour Cream: I LOVE using sour cream in my baked goods for extra moisture. It eliminates part of the butter and creates an extra tender texture. Use full fat for best results. You may substitute with Greek yogurt.
- Eggs: You will need 2 large eggs at room temperature. They provide structure and binding properties. Take care they are at room temperature along with your sour cream and butter so everything mixes together easily for fluffier results.
- All-purpose flour: I use all purpose flour, but readers have commented that Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour works great.
- Sugar: Use granulated sugar only to let the banana flavor shine.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Make sure they are fresh, so they work, usually 6-12 months is best.
- Salt: Good ol’ table salt here.
- Cinnamon: A MUST to flavor the entire banana coffee cake.
- Vanilla extract: Use quality vanilla for best results.
- Walnuts and chocolate chips: Optional, but highly recommended for additional flavor and texture.
- Cinnamon Walnut Streusel: Walnuts, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and cold butter are combined in a food processor for an easy shortcut.
- Flour Pan: Spray all inside surfaces of your pan with nonstick cooking spray WITH FLOUR. This is my favorite easy method of greasing a pan but you may also grease and flour the inside of your pan.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Cream Wet Ingredients: Beat softened butter and sugar at least 3 minutes at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add Eggs: Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each egg. Mix in the bananas and vanilla just until combined – again, don’t overmix, a few lumps are fine.
- Mix Together: Gradually add flour mixture to banana/butter mixture in thirds, alternately with sour cream in between each third – the thirds don’t need to be perfect, just eyeball-it. Beat until just combined. Measure out ¼ cup batter and set aside for cream cheese filling. Stir chocolate chips and walnuts into remaining batter until just until combined. Measure out 1 cup batter (to top cream cheese layer) and spoon the rest of the batter into the prepared pan.
- Cream Cheese Layer: To your now empty mixing bowl, add ¼ cup reserved batter, cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla and ¼ cup sugar. Beat on medium high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over batter and gently smooth, but do not touch the sides of the pan. Spread reserved 1 cup batter evenly over filling (it will be very thin).
- Add Streusel: (Full instructions below). Sprinkle evenly over the cake.
- Bake: Bake for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees F or until toothpick inserted comes out clean (without inserting in cream cheese). Some readers have stated their cake was not done in 60 minutes, so if it’s not done, bake on!
Does Banana Bread with Cream Cheese need to be refrigerated?
Freshly baked coffee cake without a cream cheese center can remain at room temperature but THIS coffee cake needs to be refrigerated. Make sure you tightly wrap your Coffee Cake in plastic wrap before placing in the refrigerator to prevent it from drying out.
Banana Cream Cheese Bread FAQs
When I first posted my Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, I received comment from a reader that they were confused – nowhere in the recipe did it call for coffee?! I guess the term “coffee cake” is a widely popular American, but not world-wide used. So, I hope I don’t disappoint some of my readers when I tell you that this Coffee Cake does not have coffee – but it does have bananas, cream cheese, walnuts and chocolate chips!
If Coffee Cake doesn’t have coffee, then why is it called Coffee Cake? Coffee Cake is a term used for cake-like sweet breads commonly served alongside coffee or tea at breakfast or brunch. I guess because Coffee Cake is not frosted, they are acceptable for a morning indulgence. Bring on the cake for breakfast!
The primary difference between coffee cake and regular cake is in their intended consumption and topping. Coffee cake is characterized by a crumbly streusel topping and may include ingredients like cinnamon or nuts. As the name suggests, coffee cake is designed to pair well with coffee or tea and tends to be less sweet and is suitable for breakfast or as a casual snack. In contrast, regular cake can encompass a wide range of flavors, textures, and sweetness levels, and it is typically served as a dessert for special occasions.
1. Using underripe bananas can result in a drier texture, so ensure they are fully ripe with brown spots.
2. Packing the flour instead of measuring it by spooning it into the measuring cup, will yield too much create a dense and dry cake.
3. Overmixing the batter can overdevelop the gluten and impact the cake’s moistness. Take care to use room temperature ingredients for easy mixing and stop as soon as the ingredients are combined.
Banana bread can become mushy for various reasons:
1.Underbaking: Ensure that the banana bread is baked for the recommended time. Underbaking can leave the center mushy.
2. Excessive Moisture from Bananas: If the bananas used are overly ripe, they can contribute excess moisture to the batter.
3. Overmixing the Batter: Overmixing the batter can break down the gluten structure, resulting in a mushy consistency. Mix the ingredients until just combined.
4. Improper Cooling: Allow the banana bread to cool properly before slicing. Slicing too soon can cause the interior to appear mushy.
Adjusting these factors should help improve the texture of your banana bread.
Tools Used in This Recipe
Banana Coffee Cake Bread
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Cinnamon Walnut Streusel
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large ripe bananas)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sour ream (not nonfat) at room temperature
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup Reserved Batter (see instructions)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup Powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Garnish (optional)
- mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray all inside surfaces of a 16 cup nonstick angel food cake pan with nonstick cooking spray WITH FLOUR or grease and flour the inside of your pan. Set aside.*
- Cinnamon Walnut Streusel: Add walnuts to your food processor and pulse 3 times. Add flour, brown sugar and cinnamon and pulse a few times to combine. Sprinkle cold butter over top and pulse until the walnuts are chopped and the mixture resembles small pebbles. (You may also combine in a bowl and cut butter in by hand). Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy on medium high speed, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each egg. Mix in vanilla and bananas until just until combined.
- Gradually add flour mixture to banana/butter mixture in thirds, alternately with sour cream in between each third. Beat until just combined. Measure out ¼ cup batter and set aside for cream cheese filling. Stir chocolate chips and walnuts into remaining batter until just until combined.
- Measure out 1 cup batter (to top cream cheese layer) and spoon the rest of the batter into the prepared pan.
- To your now empty mixing bowl, add ¼ cup reserved batter, cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla and ¼ cup sugar. Beat on medium high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over batter and gently smooth, but do not touch the sides of the pan. Spread reserved 1 cup batter evenly over filling (it will be very thin).
- Tap pan on counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles then sprinkle evenly with Cinnamon Walnut Streusel.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees F or until toothpick inserted comes out clean (without inserting in cream cheese). Some readers have stated their cake was not done in 60 minutes, so if it’s not done, bake on! Let baked cake cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Gently invert cake onto a baking sheet, remove pan, and invert back onto cooling rack streusel side up. Let cool to room temperature.
- When ready to serve, whisk Vanilla Glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl and drizzle over cake. Sprinkle cake with mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
VariationsThe following variations are a huge thanks to reader Jam who commented: “I’ve made this recipe many times and each time it has been a HUGE hit! Along the way, I’ve experimented with it a bit to accommodate friends with allergies and intolerances.” Here are Jam’s successes:
- Gluten free:Use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 flour.
- Dairy free: Use dairy free sour cream (Follow Your Heart) and dairy free butter (Earth Balance STICKS).
- Egg free: Use flax eggs.
- Bake in a cast iron pan: The baking time is approximately the same, but as always, check early!
- Banana bread muffins: Bake in muffin tins for 20-25 minutes.
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