Typically, having a bunch of overripe bananas lying around my kitchen means only one thing. Banana Bread is acomin'! But, I decided to switch it up recently and make an easy Banana Snack Cake.
And I am oh-so-glad that I did! Oh, and did I mention I topped it with a thick layer of Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting? Yeah, I did that. And now it's a thing. A permanent fixture in our lives. And we couldn't be happier it.
This recipe makes for the perfect dessert. Looking for more banana recipes? Try these: Banana Bread, Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips, and Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting!
Making Easy Banana Cake
There are a few essential ingredients that make this the best banana cake and really stand out above the rest. First, it has brown butter in the batter.
Don't be intimidated by this if you haven't browned butter before. It's as simple as slowly melting a stick of butter in a saucepan until it achieves nutty perfection. Here's a terrific resource for how-to!
Next comes the perfectly overripe bananas. They add a distinctly sweet flavor to this banana snack cake.
The recipe only calls for ¼ cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. The mashed banana takes care of the rest of the sweetness - magic in the form of overripe fruit!
And that sour cream in the batter keeps it nice and moist, just like in my Banana Bread recipe.
Topping it off with Salted Caramel Buttercream
The last, but certainly not least, essential ingredient to this Banana Cake is the amazing salted caramel buttercream frosting. Yes, I went there!
The moist banana cake by itself is certainly delicious, don't get me wrong. But.. the frosting takes it over the top.
Homemade salted caramel whipped into a creamy buttercream is just what this cake needs to make it your new favorite. Some may argue it's the best part of this delicious snacking cake.
If you'd prefer, top with cream cheese frosting for a flavor variation.
Ingredients and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a full list of measurements for these ingredients. Here is what you'll need to make this easy banana cake recipe:
- Butter: Use unsalted butter instead of salted butter. This allows you to control the level of salt in the recipe
- Flour: I recommend using all purpose flour. Be sure to measure your flour correctly by spooning the flour into the measuring cup without packing it down at all. Sweep the top of the measuring cup with a butter knife to level it off. I have not tried using gluten-free flour or almond flour for a gluten-free cake.
- Granulated Sugar
- Baking soda
- Kosher salt
- Bananas: for the best flavor, make sure the bananas are heavily mottled with black spots. There's nothing worse than getting excited about making some delicious banana bread or cake and not having brown bananas when you really crave them. But have no fear, you can use my trick to get them ripe using the oven and ready in minutes
- Sour cream: Use full fat sour cream. Plain Greek yogurt may be substituted in equal amounts
- Dark brown sugar: Be sure to pack the brown sugar into the measuring cups. Light brown sugat may be substituted
- Eggs: Use US large eggs. Be sure to remove them from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to baking so they have time to reach room temperature
- Vanilla extract
- Granulated sugar
- Butter: Use unsalted butter at room temperature. Cut the butter into cubes
- Heavy cream
- Kosher salt
- Powdered sugar: Use regular confectioners' sugar. It does not need to be sifted unless your sugar is very clumpy
- Butter: Use unsalted butter at room temperature. If the butter is too firm, it will not combine into the frosting to create a smooth frosting. Be sure it's not melted either, as this will create a greasy frosting
- Heavy cream
- Salted caramel: from recipe above
How to Make Banana Snack Cake
MAKE THE CAKE
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch square pan (not a loaf pan) with parchment paper letting the two long ends hang over the edges by at least 2 inches. Butter or spray the top of the parchment with nonstick spray and set aside.
A 9-inch pan may also be used. The cake will be slightly thinner and may take a couple of minutes less to bake through.
I would not recommend using a glass pan. Glass takes longer to heat up and retains heat much longer than an aluminum baking pan. This wi likely result in over browned bottom and edges and an under baked middle
Brown the butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan, cooking and stirring until the butter is just browned (be careful not to cook too long or it’ll burn). Set aside to cool a little bit before adding to the cake batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt.
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the bananas, sour cream, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Then whisk in the browned butter & combine with the dry ingredients.
Scrape into prepared pan with a rubber spatula and smooth the top with a or butter knife.
Bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Let cake cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
MAKE THE SALTED CARAMEL
In medium saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Don’t worry when you see the sugar becoming clumpy. It will begin to melt into an amber colored liquid as you continue to heat and stir it. Keep an eye on it, as you don’t want it to burn.
Once sugar is completely melted, add in butter (be careful, it may splatter!) and whisk until fully incorporated.
Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring the mixture.
Boil for one minute then remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool while you make the buttercream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment affixed, combine the powdered sugar, butter and heavy cream, mixing until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Turn the mixer off, add in the cooled salted caramel sauce (reserve a small amount to drizzle on top later) and stir to combine evenly.
Spread the buttercream evenly over top of the cake, then drizzle the reserved salted caramel over top.
Cut into small squares and dive in!
How to store this banana snack cake
Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Banana cake without frosting may be frozen for up to 3 months. If you have leftover frosting, store it in a jar with a tightly fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Tips for Making This Recipe
- Be sure your bananas are overripe for this recipe. You want yellow bananas mottled with loads of black spots. For me, it usually takes about a week for my bananas to ripen fully to this point. The overripeness adds the level sweetness and banana flavor to this cake that is essential to its taste. Be careful, though, that the bananas don't go past the point of no return, aka become rotten and unusable. You'll know if they have because they'll either get spots of mold on them or they'll become super soft and mushy inside, as felt through the peel. Don't have ripe bananas? Use my trick to get them ripe using the oven and ready in minutes.
- Browning the butter takes just a few minutes and is worth its weight in gold! The brown butter adds an extra layer of nutty flavor that you wouldn't otherwise achieve with plain melted butter. To brown it, place butter (it can be cold from the fridge) in a saucepan over medium-low heat and swirl the butter around in the pan every minute or so. Keep a careful eye on it, as the butter can go from melted to burnt, passing right over that perfect browned phase quickly if you're not paying attention. You'll start to see brown flecks in the butter and smell a nutty aroma. That's how you know it's done! If this is your first time making brown butter, check out my brown butter tutorial plus video
- Allow the brown butter to cool slightly before adding it to the other ingredients. I recommend whisking together the eggs with the banana, sour cream, brown sugar and vanilla then adding in the brown butter. This way, your eggs are already incorporated and won't get scrambled when you add in the hot butter
- When making the salted caramel for the frosting, don't get concerned when the sugar begins to look clumpy and smell like it's burning. Just keep stirring it around and eventually it'll all melt into a rich amber color. Very carefully add the butter - it tends to splatter at this point! And drizzle in the cream and add in the salt. It comes together quickly, so have all your ingredients prepared next to the stovetop before you begin
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
If you're bananas for anything banana, be sure to check these out:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup mashed banana about 2 to 3 very ripe bananas
- ¼ cup full-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream
- ¼ cup salted caramel from recipe above
Make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper letting the two long ends hang over the edges by at least 2 inches. Butter the top of the parchment and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, cooking and stirring until the butter is just browned (be careful not to cook too long or it’ll burn). Set aside to cool slightly before adding to the cake batter.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Whisk together the bananas, sour cream, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.
- Then whisk in the browned butter.
- Scrape into baking pan and smooth the top with a or butter knife.
- Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
Make the Salted Caramel:
- In medium saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Don’t worry when you see the sugar becoming clumpy. It will begin to melt into an amber colored liquid as you continue to heat and stir it. Keep an eye on it, as you don’t want it to burn.
- Once sugar is completely melted, add in butter (be careful, it may splatter!) and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring the mixture.
- Boil for one minute then remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool while you make the buttercream.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment affixed, combine the powdered sugar, butter and heavy cream, mixing until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Turn the mixer off, add in the cooled salted caramel sauce (reserve a small amount to drizzle on top later) and stir to combine evenly.
- Spread the buttercream evenly over the cooled cake, then drizzle the reserved salted caramel over top.
- Cut into small squares and dive in!
- Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
- Banana cake without frosting may be frozen for up to 3 months
- If you have leftover frosting, store it in a jar with a tightly fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks
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sheenam @ thetwincookingproject
Oh that salted caramel buttercream looks so good!!!!
That’s definitely my favorite part!!
I just made this cake and frosting and had some issues with the frosting. Once I made the caramel, I poured it into a bowl to cool while I made the frosting. When I went to add it to the frosting it was so thick and had hardened that it wouldn’t incorporate into the frosting and the frosting had small hard pieces of caramel in it. Any idea where I went wrong? I’ve never had that happen when making caramel before! The cake was amazing though!! 🙂
Hmmm.... I wonder if there wasn't enough moisture in there. Typically when I make mine, when it cools, it's firm, but scoop-able and incorporates into the frosting. Try warming it in the microwave or place the jar in a pan of simmering water to loosen it up a bit if that happens again. Glad you liked the cake! And hope you'll give the frosting another try 🙂