Banana Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Swirl

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!

a slice of moist coffee cake recipe on a white plate with vanilla drizzle


 

You will love this Banana Bread with Cream Cheese

  • 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!
The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.
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Cream Cheese Banana Bread Recipe ingredients

This Banana Coffee Cake uses mostly pantry friendly ingredients – just grab some bananas and you’re all set. Here’s what you need: (measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • 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.
side view of sour cream coffee cake recipe with chocolate chips and vanilla glaze on a white platter

How to make Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Let’s take a closer look with step-by-step photos (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  1. 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.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients:  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Cream Wet Ingredients: Beat softened butter and sugar at least 3 minutes at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. Add Streusel: (Full instructions below). Sprinkle evenly over the cake.
  8. 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!
The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.

showing how to make easy coffee cake by topping cream cheese layer with more batter

The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.

The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.
The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.
The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.
The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.

cream cheese banana bread Tips

  • Bananas freeze great! Next time you have ripe bananas, freeze what you’re not using. When ready to use thaw and mash – they taste amazing!
  • Use the Correct Pan: Use a 16-cup nonstick TUBE pan.  A Bundt pan will not work unless because it does not have enough volume.
  • Generously Grease Pan: Cover every nook and cranny so the cake doesn’t stick and tear when you’re trying to remove it from the pan.
  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients:  Make sure your eggs, butter and sour cream are at room temperature before mixing.  Room temperature ingredients mix much easier (so it’s harder to overmix) and result in a softer cake with maximum volume.
  • How To Bring Ingredients to Room Temperature:  If you haven’t planned ahead, you can quickly bring your eggs to warm temperature by adding warm (not hot) tap water to a bowl then adding the eggs (still in their shells) for about 20 minutes.
  • Don’t Shortcut Creaming the Butter: 3 minutes may seem like a long time but this is the only time you want to whip air into the cake batter to create bubbles.  The bubbles will expand as the cake bakes, resulting in a lighter cake.
  • Don’t Overbeat Eggs:  Once you cream the butter and sugar, you want to mix the batter as little as possible. You never want to overbeat eggs because this can result in runny batter that may overflow when baking or a fragile exterior that crumbles and separates from the cake as it cools. 
  • Don’t Peak! Don’t open the oven doors until it is time to check your Coffee Cake because  opening the doors prematurely can cause your cake to cook unevenly and/or to fall.
  • Refrigerate the Streusel: Make the topping first and pop it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes or make it ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. This will make your topping extra crispy!

banana coffee cake Variations

The 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 banana coffee cake: 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!
  • Make banana bread muffins: Bake in muffin tins for 20-25 minutes.

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.

The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.
The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.

Banana Cream Cheese Bread FAQs

Does coffee cake have coffee?

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!

Why is it called a coffee cake?

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!

What is the difference between coffee cake and cake?

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.

A banana cake may not be as moist as you like for several reasons:

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.

Why is my banana bread so mushy?

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.

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

The best Banana ANYTHING ever! Moist Banana Coffee Cake riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cheesecake-like cream cheese filling all topped with brown sugar walnut streusel and vanilla drizzle.

Banana Coffee Cake Bread

Moist Banana Bread Coffee Cake stuffed with Cream Cheese is the best banana anything ever! This Banana Bread Coffee Cake is riddled with chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) with an INCREDIBLY creamy cream cheese filling all showered with Cinnamon Walnut Streusel and Vanilla Drizzle!
Servings: 12 -18 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

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Ingredients

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

Banana Cake

  • 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

Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Garnish (optional)

  • Garnish (optional)
  • mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*A bundt cake pan will NOT work in this recipe because it does not have enough volume.

Variations

The 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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176 Comments

  1. Shushila says

    How did you get the banana bread out of your bundt cake pan?

    • Jen says

      Hi Shushila, it is a tube pan as instructed so the bottom removes. Enjoy!

  2. Kenzie says

    If you don’t have a tube pan is there a way to make this in a normal cake pan?

    • Jen says

      Others have commented that they made it in a 9×13 and that worked!

      • Alexandria Cottrell says

        I have done this numerous times and it is amazing!

        • Jen says

          I’m so glad it’s been tried and true!

  3. Jason says

    Hey there your recipes are just the best. Literally make your recipes 90% of the time lol. Any chance to make this without the cream cheese filling as my mother in law can’t have that. Thanks

    • Jen says

      That’s awesome Jason, thank you for making my recipes! Yes, you can certainly make this without the cream cheese center. Enjoy!

  4. NANCY mcguinness says

    Love your site

  5. Lauren says

    Mmmm can’t wait to bake this!!! Have you ever tried freezing it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Lauren, the cream cheese filling doesn’t freeze well but it freezes well if you skip the filling. Enjoy!

  6. Melissa says

    This was amazing!! Made them in muffin tins instead since I didn’t have the right pan so I only cooked them for 20-25 mins & they turned out perfectly. Will for sure make this again!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for the awesome review Melissa! I’m so pleased your muffin version were such a hit – yum!

  7. Amelia Boone says

    This cake is fabulous, a five star recipe. Look no further for that morning coffee cake.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Amelia, I’m so happy you loved it!

  8. Debra King says

    Love your recipes. I can always count on them to be perfect.
    Has something happened to the “jump to recipe” feature? Lately, it has been missing. I use that feature all the time!

    • Jen says

      It is the oddest thing – it is working on my end but not on some readers. I wonder if it’s working in some browsers and not others – what browser are you using? Maybe try clearing your cache?

  9. Stephanie says

    Made it in a bundt pan because that’s all i had on hand (got ahead of myself and started making the cake batter before it clicked that it was a different pan specified in the recipe). Had to cook longer in a bundt pan than specifed. Turned out great, would probably prefer a bigger pan next time though just to make the layering easier. Ended up with the streusel on the bottom(of the cake) but meant to try it in the pan first before the batter. Its delicious.. Wasnt sure about a whole cake but I’m sure it’ll get eaten quick!! Thank you can’t wait to try more of your recipes

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Stephanie! I’m so pleased you loved this recipe and that it still worked in your pan – phew! I hope you enjoy exploring my site and hopefully discover many new favorites!

  10. Kim says

    I have a pointer…freeze bananas. I make banana bread a lot and when I buy bananas and do not eat them all I put them in the freezer when they start turning. When I need to make banana bread I thaw 2 of them out. Since I have been freezing them I learned that my banana bread tastes better with the bananas I have frozen and thawed rather than mashing up fresh ones.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for this awesome tip Kim! So easy and your bananas will never go to waste!

  11. Natalie says

    I didn’t have the correct tin so decided to halve the recipe (in case it didn’t work) and make muffins. They have just come out of the oven and I couldn’t wait and have eaten one already and they are so so good. Now wishing I had made the full recipe.

    • Jen says

      What a fun idea to make this recipe into muffins, I’m so glad you love them!

  12. vkunke says

    Can anyone advise how long to bake if using a 9X13 pan?

    • Jen says

      Try 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees F. Good luck!

  13. Alejandra says

    This is a labor-intensive recipe, but so well worth it. Thank you for sharing your recipe! It looks and tastes amazing. My family will never want any other coffee cake after eating this one.

    PS: mine cooked in 60 minutes.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Alejandra, I’m so pleased to hear it’s a new family favorite!

  14. Nadine says

    OMG!! 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!! Thank you so much. Your recipes are THE best.

    • Jen says

      YAY! Thank you so much Nadine, I’m thrilled this was a huge hit!

  15. Jeannie says

    Can this be frozen after baking and cooling? It is AMAZING but we can’t eat it all this week.

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed it! Yes, this cake can be cooled, tightly wrapped and frozen.

  16. Juanita says

    I am not following, is this a layer with wet mixture and dry alternating not mixed together? A video would be most helpful with this recipe. As I am sitting in my kitchen late, and ready to put in the oven, debating what to do?

    • Jen says

      Hi Juanita, sorry for the delay, I don’t check my comments on Sundays. Hopefully you saw the photos in the post illustrating the assembly – the batter, the cream cheese layer, the batter and then the crumble. Good luck!

  17. ANGELA says

    Would it taste as good if I used pecans instead of walnuts. My daughter is severely allergic to walnuts.

  18. Jam says

    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. It makes great cupcakes (muffins?) For single serving cakes, works great in a cast iron pan, 9×13, or really any dish (aka the tube pan isn’t super necessary unless you want a fairly tall cake). I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 flour as a successful replacement, dairy free cream cheese (Tofutti and Violife are the only ones I tested), dairy free sour cream (I used Follow Your Heart), dairy free butter (I’ve used Earth Balance STICKS to a success), and even replaced the eggs with flax eggs. This recipe is a real winner!

    • Jen says

      Wow! I am so glad it has worked great with your substitutions! Thanks so much!

  19. Joanne says

    Best coffee cake ever! Will be making again, very fluffy and flavorful!

    • Jen says

      Yay! Thank you so much, Joanne! I am absolutely delighted you love this coffee cake!

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