Inspired by the most delicious Greek loukoumade, my new Banoffee Cake is made with banana cake layers, hazelnut cream filling, toasted hazelnuts, salted caramel and Nutella buttercream.
The Best Banoffee Cake with Hazelnut Cream Filling
Happy Friday, friends! Excited to kick off the weekend with another new cake inspired by our trip to Greece and the delicious loukoumades we ate.
What are loukoumades? Loukoumades are bite-sized donuts, which are deep fried and typically covered in a hot honey syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon and garnished with nuts. Loukoumades are sometimes filled with cream or Nutella fillings and topped with caramel, frostings, and garnishes like cookies and nuts.
Earlier this week, I shared a recipe for Honey Pistachio Cake, inspired by traditional Greek loukoumades. Today’s cake is inspired by a banoffee loukoumade, filled with hazelnut cream filling, and topped with Nutella and hazelnuts. It was my favorite filled loukoumade and one I’m still dreaming about.
What is Banoffee?
Banoffee Pie is a British dessert made from bananas, cream, and a thick caramel sauce and is often paired with a biscuit or shortbread base and sometimes chocolate and/or coffee.
For my cake version of the banoffee loukoumade, I decided to use a banana cake as the base. This banana cake recipe is so incredibly delicious, moist, and easy-to-make. You’ll see I’ve used it in a ton of recipes, and love to pair it with Nutella and/or chocolate.
Take some time to explore these incredible cake flavor combinations:
Banana and Nutella Cakes
Now that I hopefully have you drooling over banana and Nutella cakes, let’s talk about the filling for this banoffee cake.
Hazelnut Cream Filling
For the filling, I wanted to focus on the hazelnut flavor. I love Nutella, but I didn’t want chocolate to completely overpower the cake. Instead, I used hazelnut spread (without chocolate) and love how the hazelnut flavor really stood out in this cream filling.
What if I can’t find hazelnut spread or hazelnut paste? You can make your own hazelnut paste by using a food processor to puree hazelnuts into a nut butter. You can also use Nutella in the filling. Just remember, if you use Nutella in the filling, the color of the filling will be different than what you see in my pictures and videos.
For the Nutella buttercream, I like to use a combination of Nutella and hazelnut extract. While Nutella has hazelnut as one of its ingredients, I like to add a tiny bit more hazelnut extract to make the flavor stand out. However, it’s not necessary and you can leave it out if you want.
Homemade Salted Caramel
Homemade salted caramel is one of my favorite treats to make. If you haven’t made it before, it may sound intimidating, but let me assure you, it’s so easy to make. The most important part of making salted caramel is ensuring you cook it long enough. Take a look at the blog post linked below to see a step-by-step picture tutorial for making homemade caramel.
How to Stack a Cake
To see how I stacked this cake, check out my Instagram tutorial by clicking the button below.
Banana cake layers with hazelnut cream filling, salted caramel, and Nutella buttercream.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
FOR THE BANANA CAKE
- 3 cups (345 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (4 g) salt
- 3/4 cup (169.5 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (73.3 g) light brown sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup (360 g) buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6.3 g) pure vanilla extract
- 3 medium-sized bananas, mashed
FOR THE HAZELNUT CREAM FILLING
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, measured then sifted
- 1/4 cup hazelnut spread, I used Nutio, but you can use Nutella in place of this
FOR THE NUTELLA FROSTING
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
- 1 cup (240 g) Nutella
- 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.1 g) hazelnut extract
- 2 tablespoons (28.87 g) heavy whipping cream
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.
FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (115 g) water
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) corn syrup
- 3/4 cup (173 g) heavy whipping cream,
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
For the Garnish and Filling
- 1 cup hazelnuts, chop and then toast over medium heat on the stove.
FOR THE BANANA CAKE
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and then spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil, and sugars on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 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. Continue to mix on medium-high speed for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture should be smooth and fluffy.
- With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk mixture into the creamed mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated and remove bowl from stand mixer. Stir in the bananas.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three pans, about 20 ounces in each.
- Carefully smooth the batter with small offset palette knife, and bake until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs on it, about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let pans cool on wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.
- When the cakes are completely cooled, level the cake layers if necessary
- The cake layers can be made up to a week in advance. If you plan to make it in advance, cover each cake layer with two layers of plastic wrap. When you’re ready to frost your cake, take the cake layers out of the freezer an hour before you decorate.
FOR THE HAZELNUT CREAM FILLING
- Combine the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Whisk on high until the cream form stiff peaks.
- Fold in the hazelnut spread. Refrigerate until ready to use.
FOR THE NUTELLA BUTTERCREAM
- Combine the butter and Nutella in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the extract, cream and pinch of salt.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a wooden spoon or spatula and mix by hand to stir out the air bubbles.
FOR THE CARAMEL
- Mix the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spread a small amount of Nutella buttercream on the cake board. Place the first cake layer, top side up, on the cake board.
- Spread about ½ cup of the Nutella frosting on the cake layer and then pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake.
- Carefully spread half of the hazelnut cream filling on the cake. Sprinkle with a handful of toasted hazelnuts and drizzle with caramel.
- Place the next cake layer, top side up, on the filling. Repeat the steps above.
- Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of filling. Apply a thin coat of Nutella frosting over the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- Finish frosting the cake with the Nutella buttercream. Use remaining nuts and caramel to decorate. Only use fresh bananas on top if you plan to serve immediately.