banana cake with salted honey caramel and cream cheese frosting

banana cake, salted honey caramel, candied walnuts and cream cheese frosting. need i say more????? for the longest time, i’ve been trying to develop a banana cake recipe. there’s a local bakery here in the bay area called Icing on the Cake, and they’re known for their banana cake. it’s truly the best banana cake i’ve ever had, but this recipe is a very close second. with the addition of graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon, this cake is super well balanced with warm spice and a lot of banana flavor. the use of buttermilk and vegetable oil make it extremely moist, but more cake-y instead of banana bread-y.

my inspiration for pairing this cake with salted honey caramel is simply the breakfast i’ve been having most mornings: a rice cake with sliced bananas, a drizzle of honey and flaky salt. the flavors here go so well together, and the cream cheese frosting really ties it all together. side note!! this cake was decorated entirely with cream cheese frosting, and if you want tips on how i got such smooth results with this type of icing, read this instagram post!

i hope you love this cake just as much as i do, and try it out yourself!

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banana cake with salted honey caramel and cream cheese frosting

  • Author: kim
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 810 servings 1x
  • Category: cake
  • Cuisine: american

Description

3 layers of banana cake with salted honey caramel, candied walnuts and cream cheese frosting in between. 


Scale

Ingredients

for the cake:

  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 3 cups (360 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) finely crushed graham crackers 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (107 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup (149 g) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups (341 g) buttermilk, room temperature 

 

for the salted honey caramel:

  • 1/2 cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (84 g) honey
  • 1/4 cup (57 g) heavy cream, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp (57 g) unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

for the cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, cold from the fridge
  • 2 sticks (226 g) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 5.5 cups (620 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 

 

for the candied walnuts, i used store bought but you can absolutely make your own.


Instructions

for the cake:

  1. preheat the oven to 350 F (170 C) and grease and line 3 6 inch cake pans. (alternately, you can use 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans, but baking time will decrease slightly).
  2. mash the bananas and set aside. in a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and graham cracker crumbs. force any remaining clumps through the sifter. set aside.
  3. in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine both sugars and vegetable oil. beat on medium until combined, then turn the mixer down to low and add in one egg at a time. after the last egg, turn up to medium and beat until smooth. then, beat in vanilla and the banana until fully combined. (lumps are okay!)
  4. with the mixer running on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry. i like to do this in 3 iterations (1/3 of the dry ingredients, 1/2 the buttermilk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 dry). this helps prevent over-mixing! stop mixing once everything is combined and no flour remains. you may need to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate leftover flour.
  5. divide batter evenly into your cake pans, and bake for 40-45 minutes (30-35 for larger cake pans), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. 

 

for the salted honey caramel:

  1. while the cakes cool, make the caramel. add the sugar to a small sauce pan over medium heat and let melt while occasionally whisking. you will see nothing change, then clumps of sugar, and then those clumps begin to melt. whisk constantly when you get to the clump stage. let the caramel caramelize until it reaches a dark amber color.
  2. take it off the heat, and immediately add in the honey, whisking constantly. when the honey is incorporated, add in the heavy cream, still whisking constantly. whisk in the butter until smooth, then the vanilla and salt. 
  3. pour into a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap (touching the surface of the caramel) and leave at room temperature to thicken and cool down.

 

for the cream cheese frosting:

  1. make sure your butter is softened and your cream cheese is cold. this provides the best consistency for cream cheese frosting, but insures that there will not be any lumps of butter!
  2. beat the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high until lighter in color and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  3. add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, making sure you scrape the bowl in between each addition to make sure it’s all incorporated.
  4. after the last cup, beat until fully combined and then add the vanilla and salt. beat until fully combined again. 

** if it’s too stiff, you can add a couple tbsps of heavy cream to thin it out to your liking.

 

assembly: 

  • take a cake layer, flat side down, and add a layer of cream cheese frosting. then, pipe a dam with the frosting around the border of the layer.
  • pour some caramel in the middle of the dam and spread out to cover the surface. (do as much or as little as you want, just keep it inside the dam.)
  • add the walnuts on top of the caramel, then top with the second cake layer and repeat. when you get to the last cake layer, flip it over so the flat side is up.
  • crumb coat and decorate as you please!

 


Notes

  • you can store this cake at room temperature for 3 days. any longer than that, it will need to be refrigerated.

Keywords: banana cake, salted honey caramel, cream cheese frosting

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