Typically, having a bunch of overripe bananas lying around my kitchen means only one thing. Bananas 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.
Making Easy Banana Cake
There are a few essential ingredients that make this banana cake 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 (see below in the Tips section 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 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. The bananas take 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 cake by itself is certainly delicious, don’t get me wrong. Buttttttt… 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.
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 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 (ewww!) or they’ll become super soft and mushy inside, as felt through the peel
- 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!
- 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
Useful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
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If you’re bananas for anything banana, be sure to check out my Bakery-Style Banana Muffins Swirled with Dulce de Leche and my Easy Peasy Deliciously Moist Banana Bread recipes!Print
Try switching up your typical banana bread to bake a Banana Snack Cake instead. Top it with a layer of Salted Caramel Frosting & you won’t be sorry one bit.
For the Cake:
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup mashed banana (from 2 to 3 very ripe bananas)
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Salted Caramel:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, cubed
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Salted Caramel Buttercream:
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- ½ cup salted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ¼ cup Salted Caramel (from above)
- 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
- 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 slightly before adding to the cake batter
- Make 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 small offset spatula 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
- Prepare 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
- Make the Buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment affixed, combine the confectioner’s 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
- Frost the Banana Cake: 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 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
- Category: Cake
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: banana snack cake, salted caramel frosting, buttercream, banana bread, best banana recipe, best banana bread recipe, nut free recipe, nut free banana bread, overripe banana recipe, caramel, after school snack, snack cake, easy banana recipe, kid friendly recipe
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