Banana Bread Cake Roll

Banana Bread Cake Roll

Sometimes a long trusted recipe is just begging for an update. I have been making my mother's banana bread recipe for a decade and eating it for almost three.

As a child I spent a few summers at the Kalamazoo Art Institute children's summer art program. It was great fun and I made some really fantastically terrible children's art. My mother would tell you it was brilliant but I know better. We would take a mid morning break from our clay, paints, or markers, and as a shy and introverted child I wouldn't play with the other children during snack time, I would sit back and observe. I was at age 9 heading for a lifetime of careful discernment. While I sat on the sidelines watching the other children run around like maniacs, I would consume a Juicy Fruit juice box and a slice of banana bread. A creature of habit, these were my snacks every day during art camp and continued on long into elementary, middle and even high school.

I make this banana bread in a variety of ways. I follow my mother's original recipe to the letter. I double the recipe and bake it in a bundt pan if I'm bringing a dish to work or a potluck. Served with a bit of honey or cinnamon butter it's really wonderful. I add mini chocolate chips to the recipe. Who can resist chocolate and bananas? And finally, this recipe. Baked in a jelly roll pan and rolled around a sweetened cream cheese filling, the humble banana bread is transformed into dessert. Or an afternoon snack, or breakfast if no one's watching...

Start by creaming together 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of room temperature butter, and 2 eggs. A standard kitchen whisk is fine for this purpose.

Stir in 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Mash three overripe bananas in a separate bowl. Banana bread is an excellent use for those bananas that are too soft to eat but not quite to the point of discarding them. Add the well mashed banana to the rest of the mixture. Add 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at at time, stirring well after each addition.

Here's one of the most important steps. Line a jelly roll or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, trimmed carefully to fit. Using a clean paper towel, oil the parchment paper with a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Without the parchment paper, there is a risk that the banana bread will stick to the pan and will not release properly. Without proper release you won't have banana bread cake roll, just a very thin banana bread. You could simply frost the sheet cake with cream cheese frosting and call it a day, but it won't look nearly as fancy.

Pour the batter into the jelly roll pan and spread evenly. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven 20 minutes or until browned on the top and the cake springs back when tested.

Lay a clean kitchen towel on your counter and dust with confectioner's sugar. Immediately invert the sheet pan over the kitchen towel to release the cake. Peel off parchment paper and working from the short side, gently roll up in the kitchen towel. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. This will take about an hour.

When cake is completely cool, begin making filling. In a small bowl, mix together and 8 oz block of room temperature cream cheese with 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add 1 cup of sifted confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth.

Carefully unroll cooled cake and frost with cream cheese frosting all the way to the edges. Carefully re-roll cake around the filling and refrigerate at least 1 hour before slicing with a serrated knife and serving. Dust with additional powdered sugar before slicing. Store uneaten cake roll in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap.

Next time you're looking for an update on a classic, try this banana bread cake roll. It's the classic banana bread "gussied up" with cream cheese filling and a beautiful presentation. It's worth the bit of extra effort.


Banana Bread Cake Roll

By , January 21, 2015
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Yield: 8 servings
Banana bread dressed up, this cake roll is a fancier version of that classic recipe. banana, bread, cake roll, cream cheese


  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons of butter, divided, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 8 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup of confectioners sugar plus more for dusting
  • vegetable oil for preparing baking sheet


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Cream together 1/2 cup of butter, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and eggs
  3. Add baking soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, mix well
  4. Mash bananas in a seperate bowl until no large lumps are visible
  5. Add bananas to batter and mix well
  6. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition
  7. Line a jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper trimmed to fit, oil with a teaspoon of vegetable oil
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly, bake 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and cake springs back when tested
  9. Immediately invert cake onto a clean kitchen towel dusted with confectioners sugar, remove parchment paper
  10. Starting at the short end, carefully roll cake up into towel, cool completely on a wire rack
  11. In a small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter, cream cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, mixing until smooth
  12. Stir in 1 cup of sifted confectioners sugar until smooth
  13. Carefully unroll cooled cake and frost with cream cheese frosting to the very edges
  14. Re-roll cake around filling and refrigerate at least 1 hour before slicing with a serrated knife
  15. Dust with additional confectioners sugar before slicing
  16. Store uneaten cake in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap

Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!