What would life be like without a great cake? Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Today’s cake recipe for Easy Banana Vanilla Bean Caramel Cake has three great flavors and it all starts with a boxed cake mix that tastes like it came from a high-end bakeshop. It’s that good!
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So I will be honest, I love to bake and I love to bake from scratch. For me it’s getting out the ingredients, measuring and mixing everything together and using all the different techniques to create something delicious.
But I am here to tell you that not everything has to be made from scratch all the time and this cake is proof. It starts with a boxed yellow cake mix and a jar of caramel. And, the end result is a seriously delicious tender crumb cake that has an easy creamy caramel glaze that drizzles down the sides.
We all love easy recipes, and for this cake just add some bananas to the cake mix along with milk and butter for that made from scratch taste.
Now if you want to bake a cake from scratch try these four cakes that get rave reviews.
🍫 We always make this Chocolate Stout Beer Cake for Father’s Day and it is always a great dessert to serve for birthdays or any day you want a great chocolate dessert that is very easy to make.
🍋 🍊For citrus lovers, this Lemon Bundt Cake is full of fresh lemons and has a sweet lemon glaze, or try this Mandarin Orange Bundt Cake for a sweet and tender cake perfect for a winter or spring dessert when mandarins are in season.
🍌Another favorite banana recipe you should try is this easy Banana Cream Cheese Cake Roll that has the filling baked right into the cake so making the cake roll is so easy.
💖Why you will love this cake
Indulge me here
- Easy – start with a box cake mix and then add some extra ingredients.
- Flavor – this cake has just the right amount of banana flavor, nothing overpowering and the caramel and vanilla beans pair so well together making the bananas say thanks for being in my cake.
- The crumb – this cake has it all, it’s moist, tender, and dense-not fluffy.
- Caramel glaze – made with caramel and cream cheese, this glaze adds even more amazing flavor and moistness. It’s so pretty drizzled down the sides of the cake with chopped pecans on top.
- Simply decadent – this is not a fussy cake, it’s made in a bundt pan with a simple glaze but the taste is amazingly delicious and it is such a crowd-pleasing dessert. You will be asked for the recipe for sure.
🍌What type of bananas to use for a cake
- It happens with every bunch of bananas I buy; there seems to one or two that just aren’t eaten before they go from pretty yellow bananas to brown spotted and smelly…you know, you probably have a few of them lurking in your fruit bowl. Most times I will peel and freeze these bananas because they are perfect for making all kinds of good things.
- Try to use overripe bananas they have more flavor and are sweeter. These are the bananas that are spotted, have brown streaks, or have turned almost black. Yes, this is the perfect banana to use.
- Frozen bananas – Don’t throw those smelly ones away just put them in a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. I peel mine but you can also freeze the unpeeled bananas. Frozen bananas will turn black and when thawed they will be juicy which you will use for flavor.
- Fresh bananas can be used but could be less flavorful. Just puree or mash the bananas, otherwise, they could stay lumpy. Don’t let not having overly ripe bananas stop you from making a cake or bread, use those fresh ones and you will still have great banana flavor.
- For this recipe, I used a frozen banana and a fresh banana and the flavor was perfect.
🥣 Let’s bake a cake
Step 1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2. Use a 10 cup bundt cake pan for this recipe. Thoroughly grease the pan with softened butter or vegetable shortening (not vegetable oil) with a paper towel. Make sure to get into every nook and cranny of the pan, this is super important.
Optionally – When baking cakes my favorite way to prepare the pan is to sprinkle it with white sugar after it is greased instead of using all-purpose flour. The sugar adds flavor to the cake and gives it a sugared crust, plus the sugar does not leave remnants of flour on the cake.
Step 3. In a large mixing bowl add softened, room temperature butter and the bananas. See the notes on bananas from above. Set the electric mixer speed to medium to medium-high and mix until this mixture is creamy. You want creamy mashed bananas. Alternatively, use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Step 4. Add the large eggs one at a time to the batter, mixing on medium speed. Add the vanilla with the last egg. Scrape the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
Step 5. Add half the milk and mix on low speed to incorproate, then add half the dry cake mix and mix in on low speed. Repeat adding the rest of the milk and cake mix. Scrape the bowl.
Step 6. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread it out into an even layer.
Step 7. Drizzle three tablespoons of the caramel over the cake batter then run a knife through the cake batter and caramel to gently mix it in. Don’t go crazy here, just lightly marbelize it into the batter. Repeat with the remaining cake batter and caramel.
Step 8. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes. Check the center of the cake with a skewer to make sure it is done. Remove from the oven to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Step 9. After the initial cooling, remove the cake from the pan onto a cooling rack and cool completely before glazing. See my notes above for cooling and removing the cake.
Making the glaze
Step 1. In a medium sized mixing bowl beat the softened cream cheese and caramel on medium speed using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer.
Step 2. Add the powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk to the bowl and mix at low speed until the glaze starts to form and becomes smooth. If the glaze is too thick add the additional milk to thin it out.
Glazing the cake
Step 1. Once the cake is completely cooled drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled cake. You can glaze this as much or as little as you like.
Step 2. Optionally, sprinkle chopped pecans of the top of the cake.
Step 3. That’s it, your cake is ready to eat.
This cake is perfect for an any day dessert or a grand celebration. It’s just a great cake!
How to cool and remove the cake
- When the cake is done remove it from the oven onto a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 – 15 minutes. This will firm the cake up and helps the cake shrink on its own from the sides of the pan.
- Letting the cake completely cool in the pan may cause the cake to actually get glued to the pan from the steam it creates and causes stickiness.
- If you remove the cake immediately after removing it from the oven more than likely your cake will tear or possibly fall apart because it is too hot and tender.
- To release the cake from the pan tap on the sides of the pan and then gently shake the pan. You should start seeing the cake start to move around a bit. Now turn the pan upside down on the cooling rack, leaving the pan on top of the cake for a minute. Now lift the pan off the cake and continue to cool.
- If you jiggle the cake pan and the cake is still stuck try running a thin-bladed knife or spatula down the sides of the pan and the center tube to release the cake then turn out.
- Many newer bundt pans are nonstick and heavy and I find my cakes literally fall out of the pan. My old bundt is thinner and the cake always needs coaxing to come out. No matter what you need to really great every nook and cranny of the pan before adding the batter.
I prefer keeping this cake in the refrigerator since it has fresh bananas in it and a cream cheese glaze. Lightly cover the cake with plastic wrap or keep it in an air-tight container for up to four days.
Large Mixing Bowl
Medium Mixing Bowl
Yes, and it is easy, just replace the water with milk and the oil with softened butter. Two easy tweaks that give the cake more flavor and a firmer homemade texture and crumb.
You can swap out any pan you like if you don’t have a bundt pan or want to use one. Bundt pans hold 10-12 cups of batter which is the perfect amount of batter for a 13″ x 9″, two 8″ round cake pans, or a tube pan.
A banana cake has a lighter, moister more delicate texture than banana bread. Banana bread has a dense crumb compared to the cake which contains more butter, sugar, flour, and eggs than a banana bread recipe which lightens up the texture of a cake and makes it moist.
Honestly, ripe bananas do make a difference in taste since they sweeten as they ripen. If you need to use just bought banana’s make sure to thoroughly puree them so they are smooth. Also, you can put the bananas in the oven at 300 degrees F. and bake until the bananas turn brown and then puree and add to your batter.
Replace the vanilla bean paste with vanilla extract or fresh vanilla bean seeds. Read about all the different types of vanilla to decide which ones your prefer.
Instead of vanilla flavor other flavors that pair well with bananas are cinnamon or ginger
Instead of chopped pecans you can sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts.
Candied ginger would be delicious on top of the icing as well as in the cake batter.
You can also make this banana cake without caramel. Try adding butterscotch for a great flavor.
Toss a handful of mini chocolate chips into the batter.
🍰 More cakes to bake
This Raspberry Chiffon Cake is always a showstopper all dressed up in pink. It’s easy to make too! Bake this cake for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, or an any day celebration.
Make this simple Vanilla Bean Skillet Cake for a quick and rustic cake. This is a no-fuss cake that you serve straight from the skillet, just add a dusting of powdered sugar on top.
This is the perfect fall cake and a One Hot Oven favorite because it is so good. Once you eat a slice of this Spiced Pumpkin Sheet Cake you will know why it’s been pinned over 3,000 times.
Easy Banana Vanilla Bean Caramel Cake
Mixing the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare a 10-12 cup bundt cake pan by thourougly buttering the pan all over with a paper towel. Get into all the groves and the center tube of the bundt pan. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar into the buttered pan and twirl and shake the pan to cover with the sugar. You may need to sprinkle additional sugar on the center tube to make sure it is completely covered with sugar. When done shake the pan and pour out any sugar that settles in the bottom of the pan
- In a large bowl add the softened butter and the bananas. If using fairly fresh bananas cut them into small pieces or puree or mash them before adding to the bowl.Using a handheld mixer or a standmixer with the paddle attachment mix on medium to medium high speed, beat the butter and bananas together until they are thouroughly combined and creamy. There should be no large pieces of bananas visable.
- Add in the eggs one by one mixing on medium speed, then add the vanilla bean paste and mix to incorporate. Scrape the bowl.
- On medium speed add half the milk and mix, then add half the dry cake mix and mix. Repeat with the remaining milk and cake mix, scraping the bowl as needed.
- With a large spoon or spatula add half the cake batter to the prepared bundt pan and smooth to make a layer.
- Drizzle three tablespoons of the caramel sauce over the center of the cake batter, keeping the caramel away from the pan, if possible. Gently swirl the caramel through the batter with a knife.Repeat with the remanig batter and caramel.
- Bake at 350° F for a baking time of 40-45 minutes or until done. Test the cake with a toothpick or skewer for any raw batter. I have a very old dark pan that is lightweight so I bake my cakes at 325° F for 45 minutes to ensure it doesn't burn.When done, remove the cake to a cooling rack and let cool for about 10-15 minutes in the pan.
- To get the cake out of the pan, do not let it completely cool in the pan, otherwise it will stick to the pan. After the 10-15 minutes, tap the pan and shake it a few times to help release the cake. Turn the cake upside down on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Making the glaze
- In a small bowl add the softened cream cheese and caramel, mix on medium speed until creamed.
- Add the powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk then mix on slow speed until combined. It's up to you how thick you want the glaze. Add additional milk as needed.
- Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Use as much or as little as you want. Optionally, immediatly sprinkle chopped pecans on the top of the cake while the glaze wet.
Storing the cake
- Store the cake in the refrigerator in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap for up to four days.
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Thank you for stopping by the One Hot Oven blog. Please leave a comment to say Hello or just let me know what you are baking these days, I always love hearing from fellow bakers. Have any questions or just want to chat about the recipe? Contact me here, and I’ll be happy to help!
From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.