If I can grow anything well, it’s squash. I always seem to plant far too much, and I usually have it coming out of my ears by July. I love sautéing it in a little olive oil or eating it raw in a salad, but it also adapts well to baking. I used yellow crookneck squash here, but any variety would do.–Hannah Queen
“I loved this cake!” “Super moist!” “A flavor reminiscent of banana bread but with a cake-like texture.” “And the cream cheese frosting, Oh, the cream cheese frosting!” That’s what folks are saying about this summer squash and banana cake. With this recipe, you’ll never again be compelled to anonymously leave summer squash or zucchini from your garden on your neighbor’s front porch.
Summer Squash and Banana Cake
For the summer squash and banana cake
- Butter for the pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup mild vegetable oil such as grape seed or light olive oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely grated yellow squash (from about 1 large summer squash)
- 2 large ripe bananas mashed (about 1 cup or 10 1/2 ounces)
For the cream cheese frosting
- One package cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Make the summer squash and banana cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the squash and bananas. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely, about 3 hours.
Make the cream cheese frosting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat to combine.
Assemble the cake
- Spread the frosting on top of the cake and, if desired, also coat the sides. Otherwise, lick the frosting from the bowl in the kitchen later, when you’re cleaning up the empty plates and forks after your guests demolish this cake.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
My tasters and I loved this cake! It’s very moist and full of banana flavor, and it rises evenly in the oven with no cracks on top—how’s that for a model cake? And the cream cheese frosting, oh, the cream cheese frosting! No complaints were heard! Adhering to my #1 rule for baking banana bread, I used very ripe bananas (most of the freckles on the skin had “merged” and the stem had shriveled to a short point). The cake batter couldn’t be easier to make. It’s very quick to grate 1/2 a large squash, and all you need is a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix everything. Don’t have a 10-inch cake pan? Not to worry. I used a 9-inch pan, and my cake baked beautifully in 55 minutes. It took 3+ hours for the cake to completely cool, so depending on your schedule, it may be smarter to bake the cake the day before. The recipe makes enough frosting to cover the entire cake, not just the top.
This cake tastes like a really great banana bread but with the added bonus of cream cheese icing on top. I had zucchini on hand, so I used that in place of summer squash, and it worked perfectly. The cake is super moist and great for coffee or tea time. I only had a 9-inch cake pan, so I used that and had a nice high cake. The cake was done in 55 minutes.
I love to find ways to subtly incorporate vegetables and fruits into baked goods. One of our family favorites is zucchini bread, and another is chocolate and zucchini cake, so this summer squash and banana cake was right up our alley! The finished caked was exceptionally moist with a flavor reminiscent of banana bread but with a cake-like texture. The squash wasn’t detectable in the cake but certainly contributed moisture. The cream cheese frosting was a big hit—who doesn’t love a good frosting!? The recipe yielded a lot of frosting, so after applying it to the top, I also had enough to frost the sides as well. At the family picnic, it was the first dessert to be polished off!
Originally published September 01, 2015