Crazy for Crust

Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

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Banana Cake with Caramel Filling: a banana layer cake with caramel ganache filling and cream cheese frosting. The best birthday cake ever!

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banana cake 3

Last week I hit the dreaded “mid-thirties.” I turned 35.

Really, it’s just a number. I know. I have to check a different box on some forms. I have no problem with the fact that I’m quick sliding to 40, really I don’t.

I remember the year several of my friends and I turned 30. They were all full of woes and “oh my god I’m 30!!!” statements. I? Didn’t care. I was actually happy to finally be 30. I was tired of my 20s. Plus, my husband is older, so I kinda just wanted to be over that gap into the 30s.

The reason I have issue with 35 is that…well…now I actually feel 35. I wake up with a sore back and when I stretch I crackle. My ankles hurt more after sleeping than they do after a workout. (How do you get hurt sleeping, may I ask?)

My face isn’t “flawless” anymore. I need to use foundation now. I have spots. Red, brown, you name it. I’m splotchy.

I don’t need glasses yet…but I have trouble reading my computer in a dark room. And…it’s hard to focus on things far away until I let my eyes adjust.

And, I swear to God, I think I *may* have wet myself during my workout this morning. Something, BTW, I don’t even remember.


So, yeah. I know I’m not old…and before you say “just wait, honey” know that I get that every time I complain to my husband. (He’s 51.)

Ah, the mid-30s. Joyful!

I will NOT say I’m in my late 30s until I’m 38. I am in my mid-30s until then, I swear it.

To get my mind off the aging thing, I’m going to focus on better things. I’m going to make a bucket list for my 35th year. I’m still coming up with some ideas…so if you have anything you think I should add, please leave me a comment.

So far, here’s what I’ve got:

  • Go whitewater rafting. {I’m taking Jordan with me. That way I can have a reason to go on a kid rafting trip instead of looking like the pervert adult with a bunch of 9 year olds.}
  • Run another 5k (at least one…maybe more).
  • Make baklava.
  • Make macarons.

I know there’s more I want to add. My 35-year old brain just can’t remember them right now.

This was my birthday cake. I’m not usually a huge cake fan, but last month we ate at Kara’s Cupcakes in San Francisco. I had a banana cupcake with caramel filling and cream cheese frosting. It was to. Die. For. Best cupcake I’ve ever had, hands down. I knew I wanted to replicate it, so when my birthday came around I decided to make a cake version.
Seriously, this is the best cake I’ve ever eaten. NO JOKE. I like to refrain from saying stuff is the “best” because everyone has different opinions.

But. People. This cake is seriously the bomb. Like amazeballs. If you like banana cake, that is. Thank you to Jocelyn from Inside BruCrew Life for the amazing recipe!
I wanted a caramel filling, but I wanted to use wrapped caramels and I wanted it to be soft instead of chewy. I couldn’t find a recipe I wanted, but I remembered that you can make frosting out of ganache by simply whipping the chilled mixture. Why not try it with caramel that had been melted with whipping cream?
Why not indeed. It totally worked. It became a smooth, spreadable, non-sticky caramel frosting. Pure incredibleness.

And then, well cream cheese frosting. Is there anything better?
This cake is way better than being 35. And with as much of it as I ate…I’ll have to run twice as far now to make up for it. Thanks for the gift, Mr. Metabolism.

The BEST Banana Cake with Caramel Filling - the filling is caramel ganache! Use simple caramels and heavy cream to make a great filling for any cake or cupcake!

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Servings: 10 -12 servings

Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

Banana Cake with Caramel Filling: a banana layer cake with caramel ganache filling and cream cheese frosting. The best birthday cake ever!


For the Cake:

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup brown bananas — smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For the Caramel:

  • 15 caramels — unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 stick — 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese — softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste — or extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream — if needed for consistency


Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two 6” round cake pans with parchment paper and butter and flour them (or use floured cooking spray). You will have some batter left over. You can also use two 8” pans or two 9” pans for thinner layers.
  2. Mix cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and baking soda in a large bowl on low for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce mixer back to low (or “stir” for a stand mixer) and mix in bananas.
  3. Fill prepared pans 2/3 full. (If you are using 6” pans you will have some batter left over. Make cupcakes!)
  4. Bake for about 35-38 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Make the Caramel:

  1. While the cake is in the oven, add the caramels and heavy whipping cream to a microwave safe bowl. Heat on HIGH in 30 second increments, stirring between each to help melt caramel. (It took mine about 1 1/2 minutes.)
  2. Once caramel is completely melted, place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  3. Note: this makes enough caramel filling for a 6” layer cake. Double recipe for a larger cake.
  4. When getting ready to frosting the cake, remove cooled caramel from the refrigerator. It will be stiff. Beat with a hand mixer until the caramel becomes more creamy, only a few minutes. Now it is like a thin frosting you can fill your cake with.

Make the Frosting:

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing until frosting has formed. Mix in vanilla. If needed for consistency, add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  2. To assemble your cake, place some frosting in a pastry bag fitted with your choice of tip (I used a 1M). If needed, trim the top of your cake layers to make them level.
  3. Place one layer on cake plate. Pipe a rim around the edge with cream cheese frosting, creating a barrier for the caramel filling. Evenly spread caramel on the bottom later. Place top cake layer on the caramel. Frost the cake as desired. (I frosting the entire cake with a thin “crumb coat” of frosting and then piped rosettes on the sides with my 1M tip. I didn’t have enough frosting to do rosettes on the top, so I made it smooth and added sprinkles.)
  4. Note: to decorate the entire cake with rosettes or similar, or for a larger cake, double the frosting.

Click here for easy ways to use overripe BANANAS

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  3. HI, Dorothy! Just wanted you to know that your beautiful cake is one of the cakes featured in a “Favorite Finds” blog post at Yesterfood! 🙂

    Thanks, and I hope you’re having a great weekend!

    Love, Joy

  4. I saw this cake last night on the train ride home. I was salivating like crazy!! Banana cake and caramel!? It just looks and sounds amazing! My birthday is coming up…this will be my birthday cake. lol. I’m almost 20 weeks pregnant…so I blame baby, too. Just a bit. Your frosting design as well….good lord woman!! beautiful! 😉

  5. I have had this pinned forever, and am finally going to make it. I don’t use box cake mixes though. I do have a yellow cake recipe that I love–can I just use that and and add the mashed bananas? Thanks

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  8. These look good. 

    Please put me on your list

  9. Could caramel be used for a filling in chocolates?

  10. Love it

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