Banana cream cake features four banana cake layers sandwiched with fresh banana slices, vanilla pastry cream, and vanilla Swiss buttercream.
A layer cake version of banana cream pie!
It’s the ultimate cake for banana fans. This dessert layers together banana cake with fresh sliced bananas.
For a sweeter slice, drizzle caramel all over.
Banana Cream Layer Cake
This cake is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
Though this cake is comprised of several components, it is simple to make.
Make the buttercream ahead of time to break up prep time.
Layer Cake Components
- Banana cake layers
- Vanilla pastry cream
- Swiss meringue buttercream
- Fresh banana slices
Banana cake is similar in flavor to traditional banana bread. It only differs in texture. Banana cake is not as dense or sweet as banana bread.
Caramel coffee banana cake, tahini chocolate banana cake, and banana peanut butter jelly cake use a variation of the same banana cake.
When comes to pastry cream, homemade vanilla pastry cream is best!
Pastry cream is cooked stove-top. It is a mixture of milk, egg yolks, and sugar thickened with cornstarch.
This versatile component is used to fill doughnuts and cream puffs, line tarts, and layer parfaits.
If you want even more banana, sub in banana pudding in place of pastry cream.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Whip together Swiss buttercream by blended softened butter into Swiss meringue.
There are three ways to make meringue: French, Swiss, and Italian.
Swiss meringue is cooked. Melt together egg whites and sugar over a double boiler to 120-160 degrees F. Whip the mixture until room temperature. Then, add butter.
Swiss meringue buttercream is light, silky, and airy.
Make Swiss Buttercream in Advance
How to assemble filled cake
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream over banana cake layer.
- Use a piping bag filled with buttercream and fitted with a plain round tip to pipe a border along the perimeter of banana cake.
- Arrange thinly sliced bananas within buttercream border.
- Cover bananas with vanilla pastry cream.
- Cover with banana cake layer.
- Repeat adding thin buttercream layer, buttercream border, banana slices, and vanilla pastry cream until you’ve used all the banana cake layers.
Fully assembled 6-inch cake will have four banana cake layers. There will be three layers of sliced banana and pastry cream.
Do not add sliced bananas and pastry cream to the final fourth layer.
Crumb Coat and Decorating
The cake photographed above follows the “naked cake” look.
While some argue that naked cakes looks unfinished, I think it’s a great way to showcase more cake and less sweet frosting!
Not a fan of this look? There is plenty of buttercream frosting in the recipe. You may completely cover the cake to hide any layers.
The top of the cake is simply decorated using a buttercream filled piping tip fitted with a star tip.
I highly recommend this 6 piece pastry tip set. It comes with 2 plain round tips as well as three star tips to choose from: open star, French star, and closed star.
Cake Serving Suggestions
Cold cake directly out of the fridge is the easiest to slice into clean portions.
Use a sharp knife to slice cake. Wipe knife clean after each slice.
A 6-inch round layer cake can easily serve 10-12 wedge slices.
Cake Storage & Leftovers
Store uncut assembled cake in the fridge for up to two days before slicing.
Once sliced open, cover exposed sliced cake with plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper to prevent cake from drying out.
Alternatively, place cake slices in an airtight container in the fridge.
Sliced cake keeps in the fridge for up to two days.
Overtime, the fresh banana slices will oxidize and turn brown. Though still edible, the color is a bit unappealing.
For the best experience, eat the cake the same day it is assembled.
The cake and buttercream will be dense immediately out of the fridge.
Let cake and frosting come to room temperature before eating. The buttercream should be silky smooth and cream at room temperature.
Banana Cream Cake
- 200 grams all-purpose flour (1 ½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher sallt
- 113 grams unsalted butter , softened (½ cup)
- 150 grams granulated sugar (¾ cup)
- 2 large eggs , room temp
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 175 grams mashed ripe bananas (2 medium bananas or about ¾ cup)
- 90 grams sour cream (6 Tablespoon)
Pastry Cream Filling:
- 454 grams whole milk (2 cup)
- 150 grams granulated sugar ( ¾ cup)
- 32 grams cornstarch ( ¼ cup)
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 28 grams unsalted butter (2 Tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 medium bananas , thinly sliced
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 190 grams egg whites (¾ cup) about 6 large eggs
- 300 grams granulated sugar ( 1 ½ cup)
- 452 grams unsalted butter ( 2 cup), sliced into tablespoons, room temp
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease well. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- Mixing on low speed, add eggs one a time. Add in mashed bananas. Mix on medium speed until well combined. *The batter may look curdled.
- Add half of dry flour mixture. Mix on low speed until almost incorporated. Follow with sour cream. Mix. Then, add remaining half of dry flour. Mix on low speed until just combined. Finish mixing by hand to ensure there are no longer any dry streaks of flour.
- Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans (about 390 grams each). Bake in the center rack of oven for 30 minutes, rotating pans midway through baking.
- Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes. Run mini offset spatula along the perimeter of cake pans to loosen cake. Unmold cake. Cool cakes to room temperature on wire rack.
Pastry Cream Filling:
- Line a half-sheet baking pan with plastic wrap, making sure the sides of the tray are also covered. Set aside.
- Pour 1 ½ cup of milk into a large heavy bottomed saucepot. Add 2 Tbsp (25 grams) of sugar. Stir together. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to ensure milk does not burn along the sides or bottom of pan.
- Meanwhile, In a large bowl, whisk together cornstarch and remaining ½ cup + 2 Tbsp (125 grams) sugar. Add egg yolks and remaining ½ cup milk. Whisk until smooth.
- Once milk has a come to boil, reduce heat. Slowly add a little bit bit of the hot milk (about ⅓ cup at a time) into the egg mixture. Whisk constantly to distribute to heat. Continue until only a couple tablespoons of milk are left in the saucepot. Then, pour all the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepot.
- Whisk constantly over medium heat until the custard has thickened. (Use a whisk or a spatula) Keep stirring, ensuring to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. Let custard come to boil to cook out the cornstarch flavor. Remove from heat.
- Whisk in butter until melted and distributed. Add vanilla and whisk until combined.
- Pour the hot pastry cream into the prepared plastic wrapped sheet pan. Spread into an even layer. Cover the cream directly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 10-15 minutes until the pastry cream has cooled to room temperature.
- Remove from the freezer. Continue to cool in refrigerator until ready to use.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Place over a pot of simmering water to create a bain-marie or double boiler. Make sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk mixture until it reaches a temperature of 160°F.*Alternatively, if you don't have a thermometer, heat the mixture until all the sugar has melted. Test this by dipping your pointer finger into the mixture and rubbing it against your thumb. The mixture should feel smooth. You should not be able to feel the granules of sugar.
- Return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat mixture at medium speed until it has cooled to room temperature (about 75-80°F) and meringue has started to form.
- Reduce to low speed. Add butter one tablespoon at a time. Add salt and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Thinly slice bananas for filling. Cover and set aside. Remove pastry cream from fridge. Transfer to a bowl. Use a whisk or sturdy spatula to refresh and smooth pastry cream. Set aside.
- Fit a piping bag (also called pastry bag or decorating bag) with a small round tip. Fill bag with about ½ cup of buttercream. Set aside.
- Level cake layers as necessary. Split each cake round in half lengthwise to create a total of 4 cake layers.
- Place one cake layer on serving platter or cake turntable. Use a mini offset spatula to spread a thin layer of buttercream (about 2 Tbsp) over cake layer.
- Use the filled piping bag to pipe a border of buttercream along the perimeter of cake round. This will serve as a barrier.
- Arrange a layer of sliced bananas within the buttercream border. Top bananas with pastry cream. Use a mini offset spatula to spread pastry cream in an even layer within the buttercream border.*Amount of pastry cream used is depending on the thickness of the banana slices.
- Place second cake layer on top. Repeat spreading buttercream, piping border, adding banana, and pastry cream until the final fourth cake layer is added on top.
- Spread buttercream all over the cake to create a "crumb coat" layer to seal in any crumbs. Chill cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes to set frosting.
- If desired, coat chilled cake with additional buttercream. Decorate cake as desired.
- Keep cake chilled until ready to serve. Rest cake at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften buttercream frosting before serving.
- Store leftover pastry cream in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. Use to make parfait, fill donuts, fill pie, etc. Or, just eat straight out of the bowl!
- Store leftover buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three ays. Or, freeze for up to two months.
- Cold cake directly out of the fridge is the easiest to slice into clean portions.
- Use a sharp knife to slice cake. Wipe knife clean after each slice.
- A 6-inch round layer cake can easily serve 10-12 wedge slices
- Store uncut assembled cake in the fridge for up to two days before slicing.
- Once sliced open, cover exposed sliced cake with plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper to prevent cake from drying out. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Overtime, the fresh banana slices will oxidize and turn brown. Though still edible, the color is a bit unappealing.
- The cake and buttercream will be dense immediately out of the fridge. Let cake and frosting come to room temperature before eating. The buttercream should be silky smooth and cream at room temperature.
Reader Questions and Reviews
This was a good recipe. The instructions were great. I enjoyed the flavors of pastry cream and making a swiss meringue buttercream for the first time! It was yummy! I think something was missing to make it a full five stars for me. Maybe a lighter cake or something to make the flavors more interesting inside the layers. It was a great cake though! Thank you!
Hi! Thank you for your feedback. I thought about adding a crunchy element. Perhaps I’ll update the recipe in the future to make it a little more interesting :)
This came out SO GOOD. I doubled the recipe for the cake and used three 6″ cake pans filled to 350g each. The rest of the batter was used to make 12 cupcakes filled to 50g each. It was the perfect amount. The cakes baked for just about 24 min at 350F and the cupcakes for about 18 min at 375F. I just tried the cupcakes and even warm they’re insanely good. My partner and I devoured 4 of them with a glass of milk as a midnight snack. What a great recipe! The only other changes I made was that I also roasted my bananas in the peels at 300F for 20min before mashing them to ripen them up a bit more. I’m also going to make a banana creme patisserie to use as a filling for the cake instead of the vanilla one. I’m making this for a birthday so again, thank you so much for sharing such a great recipe.
Thank you for the trying the recipe and sharing your feedback! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Roasting the bananas is nice touch.
Made this for my mom’s 70th birthday. Everyone loved it! Was wondering can almond flour substitute the regular flour to make this gluten free?
You mention 3 styles of meringue. Why only the method for one?
This recipe uses Swiss meringue. I mentioned the other styles in order to provide links to examples.
Can I make this cake on a Sunday, decorate and store in freezer for delivery on a Wednesday, or will the bananas oxidize by then?
The bananas will liquify when you defrost the assembled cake. Also, there is a chance that the pastry cream will separate. I don’t recommend freezing this assembled cake. I suggest freezing the cake layers ahead of time and finish assembling the day before delivery.
I have 9 in cake pans. Can I use 3 of them or 2 of them? I was asked to make a banana cream cake for a 12 step birthday. Can I make it on Sunday for a Monday meeting?
You can use two 9-inch cake pans. However, the cake layers will be rather thin so you may not be able to create a 4-layer cake like the one in the blog post. Yes, you can assemble the cake one day before serving. The bananas and pastry cream will start to weep and leak moisture about after day 3.