Banana Espresso Cake With Espresso Bean Buttercream

Super moist and delicious banana cake recipe loaded with heaps of banana flavor, espresso, bits of dark chocolate and a mega easy american buttercream for the top! xo
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Espresso Banana Cake

I hope this banana espresso cake finds you rested and well, ready to tackle the weekend. I have been dreaming about this cake for some time…a super moist cake, loaded with heaps of banana, dotted with bits of dark chocolate and teeming with the taste of espresso throughout.

We bake this cake low and slow. I’m talking, at 275 F for 90 minutes. This brings out a really wonderful roasted banana flavor. You would think all that time in the oven would make things dry, but nope. Not one bit.

For the top we make the simplest frosting: powdered sugar, butter, finely-ground espresso and a touch of vanilla. To thin, a few sprinkles of milk should loosen things up to the desired consistency. And because I love them, a dusting of cacao nibs to add some bite, both flavor- and texture-wise.

Before you get started, take a peek at my Top 10 Cake Tips for perfect cakes, every time!


It’s the perfect way to use up bananas that are covered in delicious brown spots. Those brown spots are also called sugar spots (love) and they make everything sweet and delicious! I talk a bit down below about what your bananas should look like before using.

It’s one of my favorite trio of flavors: banana + espresso + chocolate is not to be missed! But PS, if you’re not into the espresso on this fine day you can omit the ground espresso in the cake and the buttercream and replace the fresh-brewed espresso in the cake with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk.

It’s super easy to throw together — nothing too complicated. Bonus, we’re using an American buttercream so it’s super simple to make. Love that!

Want more banana-based treats? Some of my other favorite banana recipes include this The Best Banana Skillet Cake with Chocolate Chips, Fluffy Banana Oat Snacking Cake (which is SO popular), super moist Double Chocolate Banana Bread, these tender Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins or my Easy Everyday Banana Bread that will knock your socks off. Really.

Let’s bake some banana espresso cake, shall we?

Espresso Banana Cake
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I don’t like to use bananas that have turned black for baking projects. I think the flavor has gone off a bit. I prefer them to still be yellow and dotted with brown spots and a bit firm and never mushy. They will still mash up fine and bake up beautifully.


If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand (and don’t want to run to the store), just measure or weigh out the same quantity of milk, remove 1 tablespoon and then add in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before using.


I love chocolate + bananas + coffee. It’s a combination that I can’t get enough of. Feel free to omit the chocolate if you’re not feeling it…it won’t hurt the recipe in the slightest. In regards to the chocolate, make sure it’s finely chopped. I preferred not getting a big mouthful of chocolate with this. Weird, I know.


You can substitute freshly-made strong coffee for the espresso, in a pinch. For the finely-ground espresso that’s in the cake and in the frosting, I popped open a Nespresso pod. Don’t use instant coffee in place of the finely-ground espresso…you want to get that little bit of crunch that it adds.

Cacao Nibs

Totally unnecessary to the recipe, but I like the way they look sprinkled over the top and I loved the crunch that they added to an otherwise soft cake experience. You make the call.

The Baker’s Guide to Measuring Flour

One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes in baking is how we measure flour. If you find yourself without a scale, see my top tips on how to properly measure flour for the perfect amount every time!

Espresso Banana Cake



I learned the low and slow banana-baking technique from the Hot Bread Kitchen Book (if memory serves…). Trust it…I know it’s going to make you nervous. But I swear, you’ll love it. Also, you’ll love that book if you like baking bread. So look it up.

Baking Vessel

Baking pans are a varied bunch. The sizes run all over the place and they’re comprised of various materials that affect how fast or slow something will bake.

For your reference, I used a ceramic baking dish when testing this (and I do for most of my recipes that call for a casserole pan). If you use a smaller or larger baking dish, you will have to add or reduce baking time accordingly.

Additionally, if your casserole dish is stainless steel or nonstick, it will conduct heat differently and cause your banana espresso cake to be ready sooner or later.

Check in with your cake around the 1 hour mark to see how it’s doing based on the above notes.



I am 1000% confident that this will become your new favorite banana bread! Nothing too complicated, loaded with flavor and super simple to make.

The recipe is a classic, but if you’re feeling it you could throw in mini chocolate chips in the bread as well as sprinkled over the top before baking.


Words can’t describe how much I love these cookies! The dough is dotted with flecks of finely ground espresso and loaded with heaps of dark chocolate. 


Deep dark chocolate that’s amplified with a hefty hit of espresso and topped with billows of marshmallow buttercream. It doesn’t get any better!

I love baking with bananas! Some of my other favorite banana recipes include these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (with streusel, yum), this  Fluffy Banana Oat Snacking Cake or my Easy Everyday Banana Bread that will knock your socks off. Really.

Enjoy your Espresso Banana Cake!

Rebecca Firth

Espresso Banana Cake

Banana Espresso Cake With Espresso Bean Buttercream

Super moist and delicious banana cake recipe loaded with heaps of banana flavor, espresso, bits of dark chocolate and a mega easy american buttercream for the top! xo
4.67 from 6 reviews
Print Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Banana, Cake, Espresso, Buttercream, Chocolate, Cacao Nibs
Servings: 9 Servings


For the Cake

  • 8 tablespoons (113 g or 4 oz or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, (room temperature)
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar, (packed)
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 ½  cups ripe bananas (peeled and mashed (about 3 small bananas))
  • 2 tablespoons (26 g) espresso or fresh-brewed, strong coffee
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) real vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon (212 g) all-purpose flour (how to measure flour)
  • ¾ cup (98 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) finely ground espresso or strong coffee
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 g) cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (.5 g) nutmeg
  • ¾ cup (180 g) buttermilk, (room temperature, shaken)
  • 1 ½ cups (255 g) dark chocolate, (finely chopped or chips)

For the Espresso Bean Buttercream

  • 8 tablespoons (113 g or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) milk or more to thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) real vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) fine-ground espresso

To Garnish

  • 3 tablespoons (24 g) cacao nibs


For the Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 275 F (135 C). Grease an 8 X 11 inch (20.3 x 28–cm) baking dish and line with parchment paper allowing excess to hang over the sides…this will help you take the cake out of the pan later.
  • In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix on medium high for about 4-5 minutes or until well blended and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, taking care that the first is well blended before adding in the second. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well blended. Add in the mashed bananas, espresso and vanilla and run the machine for 1 minute more or until everything is thoroughly combined.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the banana mixture in two batches, starting with the flour mixture and ending with the buttermilk. Run the machine on low until almost combined. Add the chocolate and run the machine on low for 1 minute more.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 90 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Some bits of chocolate on the toothpick are fine. Let cool for 40 minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a rack to finish cooling.

For the Buttercream

  • While the cake cools, make the buttercream by adding the butter and confectioners sugar to an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Run the machine on low until well blended and there are no lumps. You may need to put a towel over the machine so that powdered sugar doesn't fly everywhere. Add in the milk, vanilla and finely-ground espresso and run the machine for 2 minutes more or until well-blended and creamy, dreamy looking. Add more milk if necessary in small, 1 teaspoon increments to get to the desired consistency. Smear the buttercream over the top, leaving a gutter around the edge so that you can see the cake. Sprinkle with cacao nibs if using and serve. Try to only eat one slice. I dare you.
Thanks for baking with me! Please rate + comment this recipe and tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

This recipe post originally appeared in 2018. Nothing was changed with the actual recipe, but weight measurements have been added and the photos got a little glow up. Happy Baking!! xoxo


Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

I love your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot, I look forward to chatting with you!

Rebecca xox

Rate the Recipe:


  • Denise April 30, 2024 at 4:24 PM

    Use a pinch of salt to help reduce sweetness when making any frosting…

  • Lynnette September 30, 2022 at 3:54 PM

    5 stars
    Baked this again…first time 2018…and yesterday…fabulous!!!

    • Rebecca Firth October 18, 2022 at 2:25 PM

      Ahhh I love hearing that Lynnette!!!! I absolutely love this cake (all of my favorite flavors!). xo

  • Mariangela April 2, 2021 at 1:07 PM

    Will fat free or reduced fat buttermilk work in this recipe?

  • THERESE November 25, 2020 at 9:06 PM

    3 stars
    I made this into a cake roll. The cake was great, I thought icing was toooooo sweet. I added 8oz of cream cheese and then a whole nespresso pod and it came out amazing. Thick enough for the roll.

    • Rebecca Firth November 25, 2020 at 9:09 PM

      Ohhhhh I LOVE this!!!! American buttercreams can be mega sweet. Someone recently suggested adding 1-3 teaspoons of white vinegar to cut the sweetness. Love the cream cheese addition and the cake roll—I’m so trying this!! xox

  • Hayley Alderman July 27, 2020 at 3:16 AM

    How would you adapt this to make cupcakes?

    • Hayley Alderman July 28, 2020 at 4:12 AM

      5 stars
      Update: I took a crack at it. It made 24, perfect cupcakes in between 25-30 minutes at 275 F.

      • Rebecca Firth September 29, 2021 at 1:01 PM

        Thanks Hayley! I’m glad they worked out!!! xox

  • Rita September 27, 2019 at 4:47 PM

    Can I omit the espresso and just make banana cake? Will it come out just as good? I’ve been looking for a good banana cake recipe and love your work.

    • Rebecca Firth September 27, 2019 at 8:41 PM

      Hi Rita! Yes, it will still turn out great! In its place, add in 2 tablespoons of water or tack on 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to the amount already in the recipe. Please let me know if you have any more questions. I hope you love it as much as I do!!
      R xo

      • Rita September 28, 2019 at 12:36 AM

        Thanks for the quick response! I’ll be making this weekend :)

  • Traci | Vanilla And Bean May 4, 2018 at 11:48 AM

    Oh the flavors, the crunch of the nibs (a hell yes in my book!) and that creamy frosting! Loooove the flavor combination and presentation! Delicious Becca! xo

  • Rocky Mountain Woman April 24, 2018 at 2:23 PM

    Pretty cake! Just right for a lovely Spring brunch…

  • 2pots2cook April 24, 2018 at 12:45 PM

    My favourite ingredients combined perfectly ! Thank you so much !

    • Rebecca Firth April 25, 2018 at 1:14 PM

      Me too — love this combination of flavors!! xo

  • Nanda Garber April 23, 2018 at 8:11 PM

    There are two separate listings with different amounts for the espresso/strong coffee in the cake recipe. Which is correct? Or should it be added to the flour mixture as well?

    • Rebecca Firth April 23, 2018 at 9:14 PM

      Hi Nanda! Yes, it should be added to both the cake as well as the frosting. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you! xoxo

      • Nanda Garber April 25, 2018 at 3:16 AM

        No, it’s listed in two places for the cake and then again for the buttercream. Which one is correct for the cake?

        • Rebecca Firth April 25, 2018 at 1:11 PM

          Hi Nanda, sorry for the confusion! You add both brewed espresso (that you drink) and finely ground espresso (that you would use to make espresso) to the cake. Does that clarify the recipe? Let me know!

          • Suzanne Santin June 27, 2018 at 12:14 AM

            Hi, I had the same question about the espresso. So, 2 tablespoons of brewed espresso to the wet ingredients, plus 2 tsp of just ground espresso into the batter. 1 tsp ground for the buttercream. Is this correct?

  • Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen April 21, 2018 at 4:51 PM

    I think I would have a really hard time actually getting that buttercream to the cake! I’d want to eat it straight from the bowl! Sounds delish Rebecca!

  • Laura | Tutti Dolci April 21, 2018 at 4:13 AM

    So dreamy, love that buttercream!

  • Courtney April 21, 2018 at 1:20 AM

    Can’t wait to try and also counting down to handmaid’s tale!

    • Rebecca Firth April 21, 2018 at 2:41 PM

      I hope you do try it and YES!!!! I’m right there with you!!! xoxo

  • Emily April 20, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    Wow, these look great, I can’t wait to try the recipe. Keep up the great work!

    • Rebecca Firth April 20, 2018 at 3:28 PM

      Thanks Emily!!! I hope you do!! xox

      • Hayley Alderman July 28, 2020 at 4:12 AM

        5 stars
        Update: I took a crack at it. It made 24, perfect cupcakes in between 25-30 minutes at 275 F.