This light banana layer cake is layered with a homemade bourbon caramel cream cheese frosting. Bourbon and caramel take this banana cake to a whole new level!
Why this recipe works:
I love a light and cakey banana bread that thought that would be delicious with a huge dollop of caramel frosting on top. This recipe has all of that deep banana flavor but with a fluffier texture. The best banana bread recipe I’ve ever had is the one from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Sweet. That recipe inspired this one, but I’ve worked to make this one lighter and to feel more like a sweet cake than a dense bread.
- Ripe bananas: The key to this cake is very, very ripe bananas. You are looking for those bananas that are brown almost all over. The riper the bananas, the better the flavor.
- All-purpose flour: this is what gives the cake its structure.
- Almond flour: Almond flour is sweeter and holds more moisture than AP flour.
- Sugar, light brown sugar, and powdered sugar: Sugar is what makes this cake and frosting sweet. However, there’s not too much; I’m not a fan of overly sweet things.
- Baking soda and baking powder: These are the leaveners in this recipe, and along with the eggs, they help the cake to rise.
- Bourbon: this ingredient provides a lot of depth of flavor to the cake, and in the caramel sauce, don’t skip it!
- Cream cheese: cream cheese is such a good base for frosting, it’s tart and rich and perfectly compliments the cake.
- Homemade bourbon caramel sauce: this caramel is so easy to make and gives the frosting its punch of caramel.
How to make this recipe:
Time needed: 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.
- Whisk the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon together and set aside.
- Mix the bourbon, mashed banana, buttermilk, and vanilla and set aside.
- Add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter and sugar 1/3 at a time. Mix on low until combined.
- Divide between two greased cake pans and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
- Make the caramel in sauce pan.
Make the caramel sauce by mixing the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the mix begins to change color and becomes a deep amber color. Gently swirl the pan from time to time to distribute the heat. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream and bourbon. If the caramel starts to crystalize, return the pan to low heat and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Make the frosting by beating the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and caramel together.
- Frost and serve!
Tips and tricks:
- Use really ripe and brown bananas. I usually buy mine a week ahead of time.
- Make the caramel about 30 minutes before you want to make the icing to give it enough time to cool before adding the caramel.
- If the caramel starts to crystalize return to a low heat until melted.
- This makes enough icing to frost the whole cake, or you can use about half and make a naked cake like the one seen here. The extra little bit of oomph at the end is a sprinkling of sea salt over each layer of icing.
- If the icing becomes thin or watery, add an extra cup of powdred sugar.
This cake will keep covered or in a container at room temperature for 2 days and refrigerated for 3.
Banana cake is lighter in texture, whereas banana bread is denser.