Light and Fluffy Banana Cream Cake with Salted Caramel

June 22, 2023

Banana Cream Cake – Light and fluffy white cake layers with banana cream filling, toasted graham crackers, whipped cream, and salted caramel.

Naked cake on a cutting board

 

 

Inspiration

My Banana Cream Cake is inspired by the popular Magnolia Bakery banana cream pudding and stacked like my favorite Milk Bar cakes. If you’ve had Magnolia Bakery’s banana cream pie, you probably dream about it often like I do! It’s one of my favorite New York City treats. 

Woman cutting into a cake.

I first developed this recipe for my nephew’s birthday about five years ago. As I was coming up with the cake, and thinking about all the flavors and textures I wanted to add to it, I knew it needed to be stacked like a Milk Bar cake. (If you’re not familiar with Milk Bar, I highly recommend you check out their website and even buy their cookbook. There are so many amazing, unique recipes.)

There’s a couple reasons I choose to stack a cake Milk Bar style. The first being that it has a lot of elements in it (like my Tonight Show Cake) and the acetate paper will better support the cake. The second being that it has softer fillings that won’t hold up as well with a coat of frosting around them.

Person taking a slice of cake out of a whole cake.

 

Layered in this cake: toasted graham cracker crumbs, salted caramel, and fresh whipped cream. Basically heaven in a cake. You can also add in fresh sliced bananas if you plan to serve the cake that same day. 

 

Slice of cake on a plate.

Oh, and one little note about serving this beauty – serve it cold, or things will get pretty messy when you’re cutting the cake.

Enjoy!

 

More Banana Cakes to Love

Naked cake on a cutting board

Banana Cream Cake

4.93 from 27 votes
Light and fluffy white cake layers with banana cream filling, salted caramel, graham cracker crumbs, and whipped cream.

Ingredients
  

For the White Cake

  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (172.5 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) sour cream, room temperature

For the Banana Cream Filling

  • 1.5 ounces instant banana pudding mix
  • 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (346.5 g) heavy whipping cream

For the Salted Caramel

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59.15 g) water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt

For the Graham Cracker Crumble

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) graham cracker crumbs, about 12 rectangular crackers*
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 (1.5 g) teaspoon salt

For the Whipped Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups (346.5 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (62.5 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (5 g) E-Z Gel

Instructions
 

  • Instructions

For the White Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a quarter sheet baking pan with nonstick spray, line it with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until light in color and fluffy in texture, about 3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg whites one at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, ⅓ of the dry ingredients, the second half of the buttermilk and then the final ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for about 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Gently fold in the sour cream.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Remove the cake pans from the oven and let the layers cool in pans for 15 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the Banana Cream Pudding

  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the pudding mix, sweetened condensed milk and milk and mix until well blended.
  • Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish, cover, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
  • When the mixture is set, you can prepare the whipping cream.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy whipping cream until medium-stiff peaks form.
  • Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to build the cake.

For the Salted Caramel

  • Mix the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, heat the cream in a microwave safe bowl for about a minute.
  • Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, 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. (Refer to page X to see the steps, color and temperature of caramel)
  • 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.
  • Once the cream is mixed in, add the salt and vanilla. Stir to combine and then set aside to cool to room temperature before using.

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt. Stir until all the graham cracker crumbs are damped by the melted butter.
  • Evenly spread the crumbs on the baking sheet, leaving some larger chunks in the mix.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before using.

For the Whipped Cream

  • In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream, powdered sugar and EZ Gel.
  • Whisk until medium-stiff peaks form.

Assembly

  • Refer to page X in the Cake Class chapter for a step-by-step picture tutorial for stacking cakes like this. The cakes may be different flavors, but the assembly steps are similar.
  • Put a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Invert the cake onto the parchment and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake.
  • Use a 6-inch cake ring to cut out 2 circles from the cake and two half circles. The two full circles will be your top 2 cake layers. The two half cake layers and remaining cake scraps will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
  • For the first layer, clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment. Line the cake ring with one strip of acetate.
  • Place the two half circles against the edge of the acetate and fill the gap with the extra cake scraps.
  • Use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the banana cream pudding in an even layer over the cake.
  • Spread sliced bananas evenly over the pudding (if using).
  • Sprinkle ½ cup of the graham cracker crumbs on top of the bananas, followed by a heavy drizzle of the salted caramel.
  • Carefully spread about ½ cup of the whipping cream on top.
  • Gently tuck in another strip of the acetate paper between the cake ring and the top quarter inch of the first acetate strip, high enough to support the height of the finished cake.
  • Set a cake round on top of the whipped cream and repeat steps 6-9.
  • Set the final cake layer onto the whipped cream and cover the top of the cake with the remaining banana cream pudding, graham cracker crumbs, caramel, and whipped cream.
  • Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for at least 12 hours. About 4-5 hours before you’re ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer and transfer to the refrigerator to finish thawing.
  • Serve chilled.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Banana Cream Cake

Join the Conversation

  1. Stephanie says:

    Hi Courtney, I can’t seem to find the recipe for this anymore. Is it located somewhere else now? Thanks!

    1. We are working on it right now! I’m sorry!

  2. Hi I have made this recipe before and would love to make it again but I can’t seem to find the actual recipe??

    1. We are working on it right now! Sorry!

  3. Hello! I can’t see this recipe is there a glitch with the website or is it just me? Made it before and love it!! Just wanted to make it again, thanks!

    1. It should be there now!

  4. Help! The recipe is gone. I was hoping to make this cake for a friend this weekend 🙁

    1. It’s there now!

  5. 5 stars
    cant wait to make this, your recipe calls for Banana pudding but all I can find is banana cream instant pudding, will this work?

  6. Christine Calpin says:

    5 stars
    Loved the flavors!! My cake started to collapse on the second day in the fridge. I suspect this is best eaten on the first day, or maybe should be stored in the freezer??

    1. Make sure to put the acetate strips around the cake again if you need to store the cake after you’ve already cut into it or cut individual slices, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or freezer.

  7. 4 stars
    My banana pudding filling is super liquidy! I don’t know what I did wrong!
    I mixed 1.5 oz of the banana pudding mix with 7oz of condensed milk and 1/2 cup of milk. It didn’t set after 3 hours so added a bit more pudding mix, still didn’t set. So just tried to mix with the whipped cream and it’s all just liquidy 🙃 I don’t know what went wrong!

    1. Did you use instant pudding?

  8. Hi. Is there something else I can use instead of EZ Gel in the whipped cream or can I just omit it?

    Thanks.

    1. You can do gelatin.

      1. 5 stars
        Can’t wait to try this. How do I make this with gelatin powder?

        1. To stabilize the whipped cream, you’ll want to bloom your gelatin. You’ll find detailed instructions online or on the gelatin packet for how to do that.

  9. 5 stars
    I only used your Banana Cream Pudding recipe for a different recipe and I am SO glad I did. It’s wonderful! Next time, I’m making the whole cake! Thanks!

  10. This looks yummy! Is the EZ gel used to stabilize the whip cream? I’ve never seen that product before, but sound easy than using gelatin.

  11. 5 stars
    Best cake I’ve made! How long can I store this in the freezer? Can I make it for an event a week in advance?

    1. Yes! Just wrap it well in saran and keep in the freezer.

  12. 4 stars
    Hi Courtney- this recipe looks so yummy- I’m making it this weekend for
    My son-in-laws birthday. It looks so beautiful I hope I can pull it off. Quick question, how many people does it serve and will it fall apart when slicing it? Would it be better to slice when it’s still frozen?
    Thank you.
    Christine

    1. Always better to slice when its slightly cold!

  13. 5 stars
    SO GOOD. As always. I subbed in Biscoff cookies for the graham crackers and WOW. Highly recommend. I’m the cake maker in my group of friends and one reviewer said this knocked out the previous group favorite for them.

  14. Hello, I’d like to make this recipe for a larger serving size. Would it be possible to scale the recipe of all the components and serve in an 12x18x2” pan? I assume the sides of the pan would be a substitute for the acetate paper? Would I still freeze and thaw as directed? Thanks!

    1. Yes, I’d still follow the directions for freezing and thawing. For the size, if you’re doing it as a single layer of everything, you’ll want to double the recipe.

  15. My son LOVES your copycat magnolia bakery banana cream pudding. For his birthday I’d love to make this milk bar cake but incorporate the Nilla wafers. How would you suggest I do that? Replace the graham cracker crumbs with Nilla wafers? If so should I toast them per the instructions for the graham crackers? Or should I just layer the Nilla wafers between the cake layers and use them to decorate the top? I’m assuming it would be overkill to use both the graham crackers and Nilla wafers? Thanks Courtney for your amazing recipes!

    1. I would use the nilla wafers as the crumble instead of the graham crackers. It’s going to be delish!

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