Banana Peanut Butter Caramel Cake


Aug 15

Tender banana cake layers with banana cream cheese frosting, whipped peanut butter frosting and salted caramel.
A banana-based cake has been on my list for a while now, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to pair it with because it could be so good with so many different fillings and frostings. While it sat on my list of to-dos, my friend later told me about a milkshake she had at the Shake Shack: custard ice cream with bananas, caramel and peanut butter. After I lifted my jaw off the ground, I wrote it down and decided right then that I would be making my banana cake with those flavors.
 
I looked through a ton of banana cake recipes on Pinterest, but decided to go back to my tried and true cake source, Sweetapolita. Everything she touches is perfection and her cake flavors and textures are no exception. Lucky for me, she recently did a Banana Graham S’mores Cake (which I also need to try), so I worked off her banana cake recipe, making just a couple changes. I added a little extra flour to adapt to the altitude here in Utah and changed the buttermilk to a milk and greek yogurt combination to ensure a super moist cake. The last thing I wanted was for this cake to be too dry and crumbly in texture and taste like a muffin! Folks, I’m pleased to say, this cake is no banana muffin. It’s definitely banana CAKE. Flavorful. Moist. Delicious.
To add a little more banana flavor throughout the cake, I used Banana Emulsion in the frosting – not too much, but just enough to amp up the flavor.
And what pairs better with banana than peanut butter?! Nothing! (Certainly not in my opinion.) This whipped peanut butter frosting was the perfect addition to this cake because its light and silky texture offsets the denser cream cheese filling beautifully.
To top it all off, I added some salted caramel between each cake layer and on top of the cake. I think you’ll love how you get a hint of salt with each bite of the sweet banana cake and peanut butter frosting.
Enjoy!

Banana Peanut Butter Caramel Cake

Yield One 3-layer, 6-inch cake

Tender banana cake layers with banana cream cheese frosting, whipped peanut butter frosting and salted caramel.

Ingredients

For the Banana Cake

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature (I always use extra large)
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 medium-sized bananas, about 1 cup, mashed 

For the Banana Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon banana emulsion (like this one), more if you prefer a stronger banana flavor
  • pinch of salt 

For the Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe adapted from Annie's Eats)

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of coarse salt 

For the Salted Caramel

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt1 teaspoon white vinegar 

Garnish

  • Heath Bar 

Instructions

For the Banana Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 6-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment rounds, then spray the parchment. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the milk and greek yogurt in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil, and sugars on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next (about 30 seconds). Add the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk and yogurt mixture into the creamed mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated and remove bowl from stand mixer. Using a large stainless steel whisk, stir/whisk the mashed banana into the mixture--you can use use some strength and blend well, ensuring all of the ingredients are well mixed. (If you don't have a large stainless whisk, you can fold the banana mixture in using a rubber spatula until incorporated.)
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans, using a kitchen scale for the best accuracy. Smooth the batter with small offset palette knife, and bake until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Check the cakes at 25 minutes and then add time as necessary. Let pans cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely. 

For the Banana Frosting

  1. Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until combined, about one minute.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, followed by the banana emulsion and salt.
  3. Increase the speed to medium and beat the frosting for 5 minutes, until light in color and texture.
  4. Continue to mix by hand using a wooden spoon to smooth out air bubbles. 

For the Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

  1. Combine the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until light, fluffy and stiff peaks form, being careful not to over mix.
  2. Transfer the whipped cream to a separate bowl. In the now empty bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds.
  3. Add the remaining confectioners' sugar to the bowl and mix in, slowly at first until incorporated, then increasing the mixer speed to high. Blend in the vanilla extract and salt, and continue to whip on high speed until very fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Use a large spatula to gently fold about a third of the whipped cream into the peanut butter frosting. Once the first addition has been evenly incorporated, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain. 

For the Salted Caramel

  1. Mix the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to boil over medium heat, but DO NOT STIR! (Stirring encourages crystallization). Let the mixture cook until it turns to a golden brown/amber color. It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.
  3. Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from the heat and very slowly stir in the cream, pouring it in little by little, to temper the cream and sugar syrup. If you pour it in all at once, your sugar will turn into hard candy. You can start adding more and more as you go along.
  4. Once the cream is mixed in, add the salt, vinegar and vanilla. Stir to combine and then set aside to cool to room temperature before using.    

Assembly

  1. After you've leveled each cake layer with a cake leveler or serrated knife, place the first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board. Cover the cake layer with 1/2 cup frosting. Drizzle with salted caramel and place another cake layer on top. Repeat these steps until you get to the final cake layer, which you will place top side down.
  2. Apply a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze for 10 minutes.
  3. After the crumb coat is set, continue to frost the cake and add the caramel drip.

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