Here with a sweet layer cake to help you dig out of the winter blues- today it’s Banana Caramel Cake and I’ve become mildly obsessed. It’s layers of soft banana cake with caramel Swiss meringue buttercream and caramel sauce.
I like a simple two-layer cake here, but you can also use 6-inch cake pans to make three layers if you prefer something taller and more dramatic. Either way, this cake is the perfect little treat!
How to Make Banana Caramel Cake
Let’s start with the layers of banana cake- You can mix this cake batter entirely by hand and it’s super simple to make. We’re starting by whisking together the oil, brown sugar, and white sugar until they are combined- it will be a thick, kind of lumpy situation at this point. Then add in the eggs one at a time, the vanilla extract, and the mashed up banana
Finally we’re stirring in the dry ingredients in alternating additions with the buttermilk until you have a smooth thick batter. Off to the oven until the cake layers are golden brown on top and a cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. I like to wrap the cake layers tightly in plastic while they are still hot, which helps them retain more moisture as they cool.
For the frosting, it’s a Swiss meringue buttercream with some added caramel sauce. If you’ve never made this style of buttercream, the results are unbelievably fluffy and silky smooth, and it’s not too hard to pull together.
I like to layer up the cake with a trimmed cake layer, some of the caramel buttercream, and a swirl of extra caramel sauce. Repeat the process for the second layer, and then coat the outside of the cake in the remaining frosting. I dolloped caramel sauce over the top of the frosted cake and used a spoon to gently swirl it into the frosting for this look!
Tips & Tricks for Banana Caramel Cake
Here are all my tips to help you along the way for this recipe:
- Whisk the batter by hand to avoid over-mixing the cake batter. Because the cake is oil-based, it’s easy to just whisk the whole thing together by hand.
- Do I have to mash my bananas separately? I think it’s easier to mash the bananas separately in a bowl before adding to the cake batter, but you can also mash them in the batter itself with your whisk if you prefer!
- What if I don’t have over-ripe bananas? If your bananas don’t yet have brown spots on the outside, you can pop the whole bananas including peel on a baking sheet in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. The peels will become black and the inside will be softened, which is what you want!
- How do I know when the cake is finished baking? If you insert a toothpick to the center of the cake, it should come out with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
- What if I don’t have a stand mixer for the frosting? You can still make this frosting style without a stand mixer, but you need an electric hand mixer at least. Otherwise, pair it with an American buttercream frosting!
- My frosting looks lumpy and broken after adding in the butter- what do I do? Keep whipping the frosting! It takes a good ten minutes of whipping after adding in the butter to come together. If you’ve whipped the mixture for well over 10 minutes and it’s still not coming together, add in another 1-2 tbs of butter and continue whipping. It should come together into a fluffy mixture!
- Do I have to use homemade caramel sauce? No, you can use any jarred sauce you like here. I have a great recipe for caramel sauce if you want to give it a try though!
- I’m at about 5,000 ft. above sea level and I find that most people who live between about 3,000-7,000 ft. above sea level do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes.
Banana Caramel Cake
For the cake:
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 ripe bananas mashed
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tbs. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups softened butter
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
For the cake:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease 2 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then, beat in the mashed bananas and vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. Whisk the flour mixture into the sugar mixture in parts, alternating with the buttermilk. You want to start and end the process with the flour mixture. Stir until the batter is completely incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.
Divide your batter evenly into your prepared baking pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes before gently removing the cake layers and wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. Let the cakes cool completely before trimming the tops to create a flat surface on each layer for frosting. I find this easiest with a sharp serrated knife, and just go slowly as you create a flat layer.
For the frosting:
In a large bowl over a double-broiler, whisk together the egg whites and sugar, and cook until the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should be at about 150 degrees.
Remove from the heat, and beat the mixture on medium speed until stiff peaks form. This will take about 10 minutes with a stand mixer, and a bit longer with a hand mixer.
Slowly beat in your softened butter. The mixture will become thin, and then it will look separated- keep beating. After 10-15 minutes of mixing, your frosting should come together into a smooth mixture.
Beat in the salt, vanilla extract, and caramel sauce until completely combined. Frost your cake as desired, using extra caramel sauce to decorate as desired. Slice and serve!
Hello and welcome! My name is Nicole, and Dough-eyed is a food blog for people who want to bake for their family and friends in high-altitude areas. Think of me as a friendly voice there with you in the kitchen, here to give you confidence when you’re baking, and to help you with the struggles of baking at high-altitude. Come back every week for new recipes, tips, and advice on high-altitude baking!