As someone who loves both banana pudding & banana cake, I couldn’t be more excited about this AMAZING Banana Pudding Cake recipe! Ultra moist banana cake layers are filled with a light vanilla cream filling, layered with thinly sliced bananas and crushed Vanilla Wafers.
This cake does not disappoint- it tastes just like banana pudding, but with the impressive height and presentation of a layer cake! Keep it in mind for birthdays, family gatherings, potlucks, and well… any reason at all!
We decided that we wanted big banana flavor in our banana pudding cake, and so unlike some banana pudding cake recipes that call for a yellow cake, we decided to go with our favorite homemade banana cake recipe instead.
Our vanilla cream filling is based on a “mock mousse” recipe that we love, and it couldn’t be easier– instant vanilla pudding + heavy cream whipped into a delightfully light and creamy filling. It is so quick to make and PERFECT for this recipe, as it really brings in the flavor and texture of banana pudding that we love so much!
How to Make a Banana Pudding Cake
- First, we baked our banana cake layers in three 8 inch pans. Once baked, I like to leave the cake layers in their pans for 5 to 10 minutes on a cooling rack before flipping out.
Tip for Extra Moist Cakes: For all of our cakes, whether we’re making a scratch cake or doctored cake mix, we like to double wrap the layers individually in plastic wrap while they are still warm and place in the freezer. (If you are baking a week or more in advance, add an additional layer of aluminum foil before freezing.) Doing this step makes them extra moist!
Allow to thaw for a few hours before assembling.
- When it’s time to assemble the banana pudding cake, prepare your vanilla cream, cream cheese frosting, crushed Nilla Wafers, and sliced bananas.
- Pipe a dam of cream cheese frosting about 1/4-1/2 inch from the edge of the cake layer and fill with the vanilla cream.
- Next, we layered on crushed Vanilla Wafers followed by thinly sliced bananas. Just as with banana pudding, the crushed cookies will absorb moisture from the pudding and soften.
- Repeat the step above for the second layer, then add the third banana cake layer and fill any remaining gaps with cream cheese frosting.
Tip about Settling your Cake: Whenever time allows, I like to wrap the filled, unfrosted cake with plastic wrap and settle it under the weight of a small book, cake pan, or something that will add light, consistent pressure across the top of the cake for a few hours.
All cakes are prone to settling over time, which can cause bulging between the layers. While this isn’t harmful to the cake, it can be frustrating.
Adding the weight to the cake as we discussed above will minimize the chances of bulging. A gentle press-down on the cake doesn’t hurt either just before frosting ;0) -Since this cake has a perishable filling, you would settle it in the refrigerator.
- After frosting the cake tier with cream cheese frosting, I piped a double shell border using a piping tip 21. Instead of a traditional bottom border, I used crushed vanilla wafers.
Next, I whipped up some sweetened whipped cream and piped it onto the top of the cake, using a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped away. We added a sprinkling of vanilla wafer crumbs to the top, and pushed cookies into the top border.
That’s all there is to it! I’m telling you, this cake is legendary! Don’t you just want to dive in?
Here’s a peek inside. Because of the perishable filling, frosting, and whipped cream, you will want to keep this cake refrigerated until a couple of hours before serving. Cakes and frostings do firm up a bit when chilled and so it’s a good idea to remove it from the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving so that it can soften.
love bananas? Make sure to add these cakes to your list too!
If you just can’t get enough banana deliciousness in your file of dessert recipes, you MUST try these other favorites from our site:
- Hummingbird Cake: This southern favorite is divine! A fantastic combination of bananas, crushed pineapple, pecans, and a hint of cinnamon.
- Banana Cake with Butter Pecan Cream Cheese Filling: It’s every bit as amazing as the name suggests! The banana cake used in this recipe is very similar to today’s recipe, but with an added hint of cinnamon. A filling of buttered pecans and cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement! Definitely add this recipe to your must-try list!
Banana Split Layer Cake is the perfect summer birthday cake, with banana cake layers, strawberry slices, crushed pineapple, whipped cream cheese frosting, and a drizzle of chocolate! So gooood!
And finally, at my house, when we have a hankering for actual Banana Pudding, this EASY recipe is the one that we’ve always used! SO delicious! Find it on my daughter’s site here: Easy Banana Pudding
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For the Banana Cake
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 3 cups (342g) cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder (12g)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (3g)
- 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
- 12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1 /2 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (363g) buttermilk
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 sticks ,1 cup, (226g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (total weight 452g) I use full fat cream cheese. Using reduced fat or the spreadable cream cheese will cause the frosting to be too soft. Soften very slightly.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (2g) optional - it will cut the sweetness, popcorn salt is best to use because it is fine and dissolves faster
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) vanilla extract
- 6 to 6 1/2 cups (690g to 747g) powdered sugar
For the Vanilla Cream Filling
- 1 small box instant Vanilla pudding (3.9 oz/96g) We used Jello- Brand
- 2 c. (464g) heavy cream or whipping cream (stir in a little more if recipe is too thick)
For the Sweetened Whipped Cream (top of cake)
- 1 cup (240g) heavy cream
- 1/4 (29g) cup powdered sugar
- 1 (4g) teaspoon vanilla
Vanilla Wafers and Sliced Bananas for Filling
- 1 box Vanilla Wafers (we used about 20 coarsely crushed cookies in filling, plus additional for crumb border and cookies around the top. Adjust to your liking)
- Thinly sliced bananas (we used two in the filling- adjust to your liking)
For the Banana Cake (Makes 8 cups of batter)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Grease/spray & flour three 8 inch pans and line with parchment circles
- In the mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, & salt. Turn on the mixer and blend for 30 seconds to incorporate ingredients
- Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl
- In a separate bowl, slice and mash the bananas, add lemon juice, eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla and buttermilk. Lightly mix these ingredients with a fork to blend
- Slowly add the banana/buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients beating on medium speed for 1 minute, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat another minute.
- Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes 10 minutes on the rack and then turn out.
For the Vanilla Cream Filling
- Combine the pudding mix and heavy cream in a mixing bowl. I prefer to mix with a hand held mixer, but a whisk is just fine too. If using a mixer, start on low speed until well combined. Then, switch to high speed and whip the pudding until thick and fluffy. If mousse is too thick, mix in small amounts of heavy cream to reach desired consistency.
- If mixing by hand, simply whisk rapidly for a couple of minutes or until mixture is nice and thick.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. Cakes with this filling should be chilled until close to serving time.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is softened and smooth.
- Cut the cold cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated. If you are using a hand mixer you may need to soften the cream cheese a bit more.
- Add the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended. Cover the bowl with a towel to keep down the cloud of powdered sugar.
- Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy. Don't over beat or it will become too soft. If it becomes too soft, just refrigerate a short while to firm it up a bit.
- This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.
For the Sweetened Whipped Cream
Chill the mixing bowl and beaters/ whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Pour the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into the chilled mixing bowl, begin beating on low speed gradually increasing to medium high speed. The cream begins to thicken (approx. 1 1/2 minutes) and soft peaks form….peaks that slightly bend over. Watch closely as this happens quickly. Do not over beat or it will turn into butter.
Assembly of Cake
Pipe a dam of cream cheese frosting about 1/2 inch from the edge of the cake layers. Fill in with vanilla cream. Layer on crushed vanilla wafer cookies and thinly sliced bananas. Repeat for next layer, then top with remaining layer. Frost cake with cream cheese frosting. Add border (We did a double shell border with a tip 21), add dollops of whipped cream (we piped on with a large round tip), and top with a sprinkling of crushed vanilla wafers.