Light and Fluffy Banana Cream Cake with Salted Caramel

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!

 

Naked cake on a cutting board

Banana Cream Cake

4.87 from 15 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.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Banana Cream Cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Comments

  1. This sounds amazing! I’m a big fan of your work so when I saw that you had a blog & shared your recipes; and even more exciting for me, your thought process behind flavor creations!

    I was wondering if you have a favorite vanilla/white cake? Or if it typically depends on the type of cake you’re building? Forgive me if you’ve mentioned it in a previous post, I’m so excited I couldn’t wait to ask 😉

    I’m also super excited to try your Red Velvet recipe! I have had the emulsion but I haven’t had a chance to use it.

    Thanks for sharing so much! Adore your work and style!

    1. Thank you! I love the vanilla cake I used in my Marshmallow Moon cake. It’s tender and flavorful. To make three 8-inch cake layers with that recipe, just double it.

  2. Hello! I would like to know what type of cream should be used to make the salted caramel. Thank you.

  3. Hi! I love your recipes, and this one called my attention right away!

    I wanted to know what to do if banana pudding mix isn’t available (it doesn’t exist where i live). Can i replace it with anything else?

    Best wishes and keep up the great baking!

    1. You can actually make homemade pudding and use banana flavoring. I’m sure Pinterest or Google has a good recipe.

  4. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I’m excited to put it all together. Can you clarify how much is 1.5oz of pudding mix? I bought 170g box.

  5. Where in store would I find an acetate sheet like you used? This sounds like it’d be great for my kids’ birthday party in a couple of weeks.

    1. The only store locally here in Utah that carries acetate strips is Orson Gygi. If you aren’t local, your best bet it amazon.

  6. when do you remove the acetate sheet liner from the cake….after freezing it for 12 hours or do you wait until another 4-5 hours or right before serving the cake?

  7. I want to make this cake using cake pans, would that work? And do you think I could frost it with a buttercream? I’m just worried that the whipped cream layer would make it unstable because I don’t think I could freeze it with the buttercream, or could I?

  8. Hello
    In your salted caramel ingredients you don’t list vinegar but in the directions you state add salt and vinegar how much vinegar is needed
    Thank you

  9. Hi!! Ok just to clarify… the recipe says to use a half sheet pan sized tray for the cake but the video shows you’ve used a quarter sized sheet pan. Help!! Which is it? I think my layers are too shallow… A half sheet pan is 18×13 inches.

      1. Hi there! Just a suggestion that you fix the instructions under “for the white cake” to say quarter sheet pan, not half. I just followed the directions and was so discouraged when my cake was so flat and I thought it didn’t rise. Turns out, I just did it in the wrong size pan. (I’m still SO excited to eat this cake even tough the cake layers will be thin!) I’m just about to assemble it. Do I not put a cake board under the cake ring? I’m so confused about that part.

        1. I’m so sorry. It should say quarter sheet pan. Just double up on the layers since you’ll have extra cake. And theres no cake board under the cake ring. Just parchment paper!

          1. Just wanted to tell you that I made this cake 6 days ago, my family and I ate it, and for the last six days I’ve thought about it and missed it! Haha! It was SO SO SO GOOD that I think about it day and night:). I’ve loved so many of your cakes but this is my new favorite! AMAZING!

  10. Another great recipe. It looks like a lot of steps but the recipe was easy to follow. The cake was super well balanced too and not too sweet. It got rave reviews at work.

  11. Hi. The cake was delish! Your recipe calls for 2 tablespoons banana pudding mix and 1/2 cup milk. But the mixture forms into a pudding so quickly (before you can add it to all three layers). How can I add the banana-flavored milk soak so it doesn’t turn into pudding?Thoughts/suggestions?

  12. This cake is the bomb!!! I’ve made it now for two different parties, and everyone LOVED it! So tasty, perfectly balanced in flavor and texture…. cant say enough… MMmm MMmmmmmm MMMmmmmmmm! Thank you so much for sharing! Would LOVE to see more of these stacked style cakes (:

  13. Is the pudding mix size supposed to be 5.1 ounces? The only size box I can find is 5.1 oz. or 3.4 unless it’s sugar free.

  14. Super excited to try this recipe for my dad’s 60th! Is the freezing step absolutely necessary or would putting it in the fridge suffice? Also, if I need to make the cake a day in advance should I forgo the fresh banana slices?

  15. I made this cake just yesterday and it was great! I made a few modifications, though, simply because I didn’t have certain tools on hand. First, I decided to use nilla wafers instead of graham crackers because they were a third of the cost at my grocery store. I am sure that graham crackers add a different dimension of flavor, but honestly, toasted nilla wafers were really yummy too. Second, I am actually not a super experienced baker (I am just really good at following directions) so I do not own a cake ring. This made it a bit harder to assemble my cake, and also resulted in me not being able to use as heavy of a hand when dolloping on the various layers. Further, because the caramel began to run along the sides, I decided to crumb coat the cake with the leftover whipped cream and banana pudding cream. I actually ended up combining the two and added in a few more tablespoons of pudding mix to stabilize the whipped cream enough to not only frost it, but also pipe florets on its entirety (without needing to make extra whipped cream). All in all, it turned out great. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this cake is frozen, so you have to thaw before serving, which isn’t ideal when it’s a cake that is not meant for a special occasion and will likely be eaten in one sitting. My family and I have just been eating the cake frozen and its still great, the white cake is just a bit dry. Quick question: how long can this cake be stored in the freezer if it is never fully thawed?

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

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

  18. 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!

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

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

    Thanks.

        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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.