Nonna’s Italian banana cake recipe


Like most expats, I crave the comforts of home. My mother is a great cook, but she’s an eclectic cook. She might make Chinese one night, roast chicken another and spaghetti another. My nonna (grandmother) on the other hand is old school. She grew up in Southern Italy and most of her recipes were handed down to her by my great grandmothers.

I say most because my nonna has lived in Australia for more than 40 years and she’s picked up a recipe or two over that time. Her banana cake is one of them. This deliciously moist cake is the best of both worlds. It has the simple flavour of vanilla essence that you’d expect from a traditional Italian cake mixed with the gorgeous banana flavour that we all know and love.

It took me about five tries to get the recipe right. My nonna does everything by touch, so when I asked her to share the recipe, she just guessed quantities. My first batch of the cake had so much bicarbonate soda, it was inedible. I tweaked it a couple more times and I absolutely love the result.


I binge eat this cake. I have it for afternoon tea with a coffee or a cup of chai. I sneak in a slice before I go to bed in the evening and I toast it in the toaster for breakfast. It’s delicious with a bit of butter spread on top.

This recipe is really flexible, so you can add whatever you like to it – chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, sultanas, cinnamon, mixed spice, even a few fresh raspberries.




My mum serves this with a simple cream cheese icing, but my nonna never does more than add a dusting of icing sugar. It’s a super easy recipe and a great treat to have on hand when you want something sweet that’s almost GOOD for you!

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