Banana Pudding Layer Cake
Got a banana lover in your life? Make them this banana pudding layer cake! Vanilla cake filled with custard and bananas, topped with whipped cream frosting.
If I’m being totally honest, I’m not really a huge fan of banana desserts. But my husband DEFINITELY is. He begs for banana pudding and banana cream pie all the time. I had it on my to-do list to make a banana pudding layer cake for what seemed like ages, so when his birthday rolled around a few weeks back, it seemed like the perfect time to finally make it and share with you.
It’s a pretty simple idea really, my favorite vanilla cake recipe, layered with my favorite pastry cream, plus fresh bananas and whipped cream. The homemade vanilla wafers from the other day are a fun garnish, but I think they’d be darn good in between the layers too.
I was trying to keep the frosting job kind of rustic, just to emphasize the fluffy-ness of the whipped cream.
It’s one of my favorite frosting recipes. You may remember it from those Tuxedo Cupcakes I showed you a few weeks ago. There’s a little cream cheese and powdered sugar added, and that keeps it more stable and prevents weeping.
But with that said, it’s really best when fresh, so if you’re making this banana pudding layer cake ahead, I’d do everything but the frosting and garnishes until you’re just about ready to serve.
I have to say, there’s just something about the way the moist vanilla cake, creamy custard and bananas, and fluffy whipped cream come together. It’s undeniably good, even for a non-banana lover such as myself!
Hope you’ll give it a try sometime soon!
And be sure to check out my “Cake Recipes” Pinterest board, for lots more great cake ideas!
Banana Pudding Layer Cake
For the vanilla cake
- 1 1/2 cups (187.5 g) cake flour
- 3/4 cup (93.75 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) scant kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (170.25 g) unsalted butter, , softened
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (162.67 g) milk
- 1/2 cup (100 g) Greek yogurt, (sour cream or buttermilk* may be substituted)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
For the banana pudding filling
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) kosher salt
- 3/4 cups (183 g) milk
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 (1.5) fresh bananas,, sliced
For the whipped cream frosting
- 6 ounces (170.1 g) cream cheese, (the kind in a brick)
- 3/4 cup (90 g) powdered sugar
- 2 1/4 cups (535.5 g) heavy whipping cream,, cold
- homemade vanilla wafers, for garnish
- 1 fresh banana,, sliced (for garnish)
Make the vanilla cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and mist three 6-inch diameter cake pans** with non-stick spray. Cut three circles from parchment paper, and place them in the bottoms of each pan.
- Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the butter, and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand.
- Stir in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after each addition.
- Add the milk, yogurt, and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, to aerate the batter and strengthen the cake’s structure.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool for twenty minutes, then unmold and place on wire racks to cool completely.
Make the banana pudding filling:
- Heat the milk in a small pot until small bubbles form around the edge, and wisps of steam are rising from the surface.
- Place the yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the hot milk to the egg mixture, a little at a time, whisking to combine.
- When all the milk has been added, transfer the mixture back to the pot and place over medium-low heat.
- Cook the pastry cream, whisking constantly, until thickened (the mixture should be the consistency of pudding).
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer, into a heat-safe bowl. Use the back of a ladle to press the mixture through the sieve.
- Press a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the surface, and refrigerate.
Make the whipped cream frosting and assemble the cake:
- Place the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, and whip on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.
- Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and pour the heavy cream down the side of the bowl in a very slow and steady stream.
- When all the cream has been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip until the frosting holds stiff peaks.
- Place one layer of vanilla cake on a serving platter. Spread half the pastry cream on the cake, and top with sliced bananas. Spread a small amount of whipped cream frosting over the bananas, and top with the second cake layer.
- Repeat, topping with the third layer.
- Frost the cake with the whipped cream frosting, and garnish with homemade vanilla wafers and additional sliced bananas.
For more info on the filling, click here: Pastry Cream.
For more info on the frosting, click here: Whipped Cream Frosting.
My Husband requested a banana filled Birthday Cake for a Special Milestone Birthday. I came across this recipe and cannot say enough about the compliments I received. The cake’s presentation was A+. This dense vanilla cake, banana pudding filling and whipped cream frosting was decadent.
Next time I might add fresh strawberries with the bananas!
I got confused for a bit as u use pastry cream instead of banana pudding i kept reading thinking the pastry cream and cream frosting are the same thing! Then reading a few time and realize pastry cream is the banana pudding. It will be good if u use the same wording or pastry cream(banana pudding)
Cake turned out great! My dad cannot have chocolate or nuts any longer, so I was looking for a different option for his birthday cake. This cake did not disappoint. I used the 8 inch pans and made a recipe and a half of batter. The pastry cream and whipped cream frosting blended so well with the bananas and moist yellow cake. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
My pleasure Adrienne! So happy you liked it. Thanks for the positive review and happy belated birthday to your dad!
Could you make these into cupcakes and use the custard as filling? What you change? i am thinking of making these for a birthday party.
That should work no problem Rachel! Good luck and enjoy!
I was wondering if I could add strawberries along with the bananas
Yes you could, and that would be delicious! Great idea Regina!
I am making a cake for my friends birthday and I was wondering how tall is the 3 layer cake
Hi Natalie! Each of the layers is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall, and then once the filling is added in between, you end up with a cake that’s about 7 1/2 inches high. Good luck and enjoy!
I want to make my friend a cake that looks like a pineapple. But, she wanted a banana cake so I have to make a 6 layer cake on a estimate to be the hight I need it. So how tall is the 3 layer cake?
It’s about 7 1/2 inches tall once filled and frosted.
Does banana pudding cake need to be refrigerated after it frosted?
Hey Marty! I think that’s probably best, just to keep the frosting from breaking down.
hi allie, it looks really delicious, the recipe in grams would be fantastic I wait for your answer
Hi Johana! Please download the free weight conversion chart in the right sidebar. Thanks!
I want to make this for my baby girls birthday since she loves bananas. I’m hoping to dye the frosting a pale green for a theme I’m doing. Would adding green food coloring cause any problems to the frosting at all? At which point would I add the gel food coloring?
Thank you so much!
Hey Crystal! You can tint the frosting no problem. I like to use the gel paste colors so that they don’t water things down too much. I would add a drop or two right at the end of the frosting recipe. Good luck and happy birthday to your little girl!
At what temperature is recommended for heating the milk? That part was very vague. Also, how long I’m I supposed to stir the mixture for the filling on the stove at a medium-low heat before I see any changes?
Hi Amber! You want to heat the milk until it is steaming, but be careful not to boil it or you could end up with a skin on top. Stir/cook it until it becomes very thick. This usually happens just as it is coming to a boil. Hope that’s helpful! Thanks for reading and good luck!
I have a question. No one is talking about the sliced bananas, once in the open air whether refrigerated or not, browning. Sure the cake looks good the first several hours you make it but then the bananas will start to brown. I saw a similar recipient to this once and it called for the slices of bananas to be quickly dipped or quickly covered in either lemon juice, orange juice or pineapple juice. Then taken out immediately and laid on a double layer of two paper towels side by side (to accommodate all the sliced bananas), then you take a double layer of paper towels – two side by side to cover over the bananas and lightly press the juices off of the bananas-this way you get both top and bottoms of the bananas at the same time. You don’t want to mash the bananas, just remove the juice. Supposedly this will keep your bananas from turning brown and tasting like the juice you chose to use. People in the comments swore it worked like a charm. There was not one negative comment to this working as it was suppose to do. What are your thoughts on this?
Hey Sheree! Dipping the banana slices in lemon water or or fruit juice is a decent option- although in my experience it doesn’t always yield the best results long-term. I still find that the bananas will brown after a few hours. But it certainly doesn’t hurt!
This was delicious.
However, the cake was kinda….tough. Did I over bake it? Or what?
Do you have a recipe for a super tender vanilla cake?
Also, do you recommend slicing the very top of each cake to make the layers totally flat?
Hey Natalie! So glad you liked the taste. Often times, toughness is a result of over-mixing. And if your layers come out very domed, it’s a good idea to slice them down flat. Hope that’s helpful!
Thanks for the reply.
Well, we ate some of our cake the next day and it was softer- just perfect! (Maybe tough was the wrong word- maybe dry was a better description.)
(But at which point could I potentially be over mixing? When you say to beat on high for a minute, could I get away with beating for a briefer time?)
Thanks! I love this recipe and have usually great results with it. I just want to get it right every time!
(It’s my go-to when I make birthday cakes for family.)
I see! Ok well it would tend to become more moist as it sits from all the whipped cream. If you beat for one minute that should be perfect! Glad you are enjoying it!
This cake is gorgeous! One question. It looks like you left the banana out of the pudding instructions. When would I add those bad boys in to the mix?
Hey Tiffany! I’m so glad you’re going to try this recipe! You’ll want to check out step 4 of the cake assembly part of the recipe. “4. Place one layer of vanilla cake on a serving platter. Spread half the pastry cream on the cake, and top with sliced bananas.” The bananas aren’t actually mixed into the pudding, just layered in between all the other components. Good luck and I hope that’s helpful!
If I put vanilla wafers in between the layers, will the cake be hard to cut into slices.
I think that would depend on how far in advance you’re making it. I’d imagine that if it had time to sit, they cookies would soften up a lot. Hope that’s helpful! Thanks for reading Jackie!
SO SMART!! This cake is beautiful and I just imagine society ladies with Southern accents and white gloves and fans luhhhving on this cake 😛 😀
Haha! I love your mental picture! Thank you so much Kayle!
Have you ever converted this to gluten free? The cake flour has me stuck.,,
Hey Michele! I think if you have a cup-for-cup or 1:1 flour substitute, it should work just fine. I like a bit of cake flour because of the lighter texture, but I’ve done this recipe with strictly all-purpose flour many times, and it works just fine. I would think that if you use your regular wheat flour substitute, the result would still be very good. If you end up trying it, I’d love to hear how it turns out! Thanks for the great question and good luck!
This is a cake that I would love. The flavor combination is on point and I am in love with the gorgeous presentation. I hope Dave liked it!
He loved it! Thank you so much sweetie! I’m so happy you like it too 🙂
This is something my husband would love as well! Thank you for giving us scrumptious and completely from scratch recipes to enjoy. 🙂
The pleasure is all mine Reesa! I’m so glad you like them. And glad this is something your husband would like! Hope you have a chance to make it for him!