Chocolate Espresso Banana Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting is an indulgent homemade dessert that you won’t be able to resist a second serving of! The cake is super moist from the full cup of mashed banana in it and it’s made flavorful by both espresso and cocoa powders. Oh, and the salted caramel frosting will have you licking the spoon!

A slice of chocolate cake is placed on a blue and white plate.

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Chocolate Espresso Banana Cake

It’s impossible to say what the best part of this dessert is. Is it the rich, moist, fluffy cake that’s flavor-packed with chocolate and espresso? Or is it the homemade cream cheese frosting that’s made with sweet caramel sauce and just the right amount of salt? I simply can’t decide. All I know is that I love bite after bite of the frosting and cake piled high on my fork!

It may seem like the banana is a bit misplaced in such a rich recipe… But you’d be oh so wrong to think that! The banana flavor isn’t strong at all. In fact, it’s just subtle enough to compliment the rich espresso and cocoa flavors in the best way. The main purpose of the banana in the cake batter is to keep it deliciously moist, almost like the consistency of banana bread.

When it comes to frosting, this recipe might just be one of my favorites, and I have a LOT of love for different frosting recipes. This is a simple, tried and true cream cheese frosting recipe that’s all dressed up with salted caramel flavor. It’s the perfect compliment to the rich chocolate espresso cake. After all, does anything go together better than espresso with salted caramel? I think not!

A dollop of frosting is placed on top of a baked cake.

How to Make Banana Cake

Pro tip – Decide beforehand who gets to lick the spoon that mixes the frosting!

  1. Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a baking dish with butter and flour.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. Beat the wet ingredients. Start by beating together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then add in the banana, followed by the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until just combined.
  5. Bake. Pour the batter into the baking dish. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.
  6. Make the frosting. Combine the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add in the caramel sauce, then slowly add the sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  7. Frost it. Frost the top of the cake once it’s cooled to room temperature. Decorate as desired, and enjoy!
A piece of cake is placed on a plate next to a baking dish.

Can I make the cake and frosting ahead of time?

Yes, you sure can! Both the cake and frosting can be prepped 3 days in advance. Just be sure to store the cake and frosting each in the fridge, separately, in airtight containers for optimal freshness. When you’re ready to serve, just ice the cake as you normally would and enjoy! This is a great make ahead recipe.

If you happen to have any leftover frosting, use it for any cupcakes or muffins you may have on hand! This stuff tastes great on just about everything.

Can I use ground coffee instead of espresso powder?

Nope! While they’re similar, these two ingredients are NOT the same. Ground coffee will create a grainy texture to the cake and not lend the same rich flavor that espresso powder does. I only recommend using espresso powder in this recipe – don’t try to substitute it with anything else. Luckily, espresso powder is widely available at most grocery stores or you can order online HERE.

A fork has taken a bite out of the cake on a plate.

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Get the Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Banana Cake Recipe

Tender, sweet Chocolate Espresso Banana Cake is fluffy and moist. Easy to make with scratch ingredients and topped with a sumptuously delightful Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting!
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  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 16 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the garnish:

  • Espresso Beans, optional
  • Shaved chocolate, optional


  • 1 baking dish


  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • Butter and lightly flour a 9×9 baking dish. (Alternatively, you can use two 9×1 1/2-inch round baking pans.)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer set to medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add the banana, stirring until combined.
  • Mix in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Continue beating until well blended.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes or until done. (The top will spring back when pressed gently in the center of the cake or insert a cake tester into the center and when it comes out clean, the cake is done.)
  • Cool the cake on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  • Make the frosting while the cake cools.
  • Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the caramel sauce and beat until combined.
  • Turn the mixer to medium low and slowly add the sugar to the cream cheese mixture 1/2 cup at a time beating until creamy.
  • Stir in the vanilla and kosher salt.
  • When the cake has cooled, frost the top of the cake with the frosting.
  • Decorate with espresso beans and chocolate, if using.
  • Serve.


The cake and frosting can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and store at room temperature.
Extra frosting is great for topping cupcakes or muffins.
Calories: 562kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 127mg, Sodium: 708mg, Potassium: 243mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 1280IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 2mg