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!

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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!

Did you make this recipe?

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.


The caramel filling is great for cupcakes, cakes, or even as a sticky drizzle on top.

All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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  1. This cake sounds wonderful. I know you don’t usually make the same thing twice but when my birthday rolls around, this would be great. I hate to tell you but if you consider 38 starting your late 30s (which sounds about right), then you’ve been in your mid 30s for a couple of years already!! And, thanking Mr. Metabolism now…? It gets much worse at 40 and (I don’t understand how, but) even worse at 50. That’s what all that running is for! Sorry for the truth but you brought it up!
    Love, Mom

  2. Oh my, I love banana cake. This looks amazing!
    I turned 39 this year. So not looking forward to next summer. Gulp. I was ready for my 30’s. I was pregnant with my 4th kid, and it just made sense to move to the next phase. Now? So.. Not.. Ready..

  3. Cream cheese frosting is my ultimate on ANY cake. This looks so good.
    I’m approaching 27…and having so serious anxiety bout it because I felt like I haven’t done anything yet! At least you got that kid you can claim takes up all your time 🙂

    Happy Birthday! (I hope the husband got you something awesome.)

  4. Happy belated birthday. This cake seriously looking amazingballs! the filling sounds ridiculous, in a good way.

  5. This. Looks. Amazing!!

  6. Banana, caramel and cream cheese…. Uhhhh does it get any better?!? This cake looks THE bomb! Happy late birthday btw 🙂

  7. Im not a cake fan either- but that looks crazy good ; you have mad decorating skills:)
    Macarons are on my baking bucket list too

  8. I love love LOVE what you did to my cake recipe!!! Caramel and cream cheese totally sound amazing with the banana cake:-) Turning 30 didn’t bother me much either, but now that I’m on that downward slope to 40…I don’t like the old stuff either. But girl you don’t look older than 25:-)

  9. I am going to have to make a banana cupcake, looks good and I know that it tastes good! Thanks for sharing Dorothy!

  10. This looks aaamazing. Awesome idea to put caramel in the middle! And I love the flower design you put on the side of the cake. Want to make my birthday cake next year?! 🙂

  11. I’m about to hit mid 40’s and I do have to say life just gets better, so you have that to look forward to 🙂 wonderful looking cake, love how you did the frosting!! anne

  12. Happy Birthday! My husband and I have the same age gap. So even though it kinda scares me I can relate to the whole getting out of the 20s thing…. and it’s coming. I’ll be 30 on my next birthday.

  13. This does look “Amazeballs” so glad you posted it and happy belated birthday!!

  14. This cake is super gorgeous! I love the rosettes you made on the sides–totally beautiful, like you! And who cares if you’re 35 or 55 or 87. You’re a hot, awesome mama who’s tons of fun and that’s all that matters. Also, if it makes you feel any better, I crackle all the time. I was born with the crackeniest joints known to man. I can’t even imagine if I’ll be able to get out of bed without an orchestra of bone popping when I’m 50. Sigh.

  15. Happy belated birthday! Your cake looks beautiful and delicious!

  16. I chucked through the entire post.
    Whew, glad to know I’m not in my late thirties yet…I turned 37 in Aug!

  17. I’m always thankful for a banana recipe! My husband loves them on his cereal, but invariably there are always 2 or 3 he doesn’t eat and I’m left making banana bread. This looks yummy and I know it would be a favorite of my grands. XOXO

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  19. Beautiful!!! Looks heavenly. Happy belated!

  20. If you’re going to run the 5k again, I can’t think of a better place to do it than at the happiest place on Earth–Disneyland! No kidding, you should look it up. Every year they have a marathon and a 5k through the lands, and I hear it’s just about the best thing ever. Plus it’ll take care of the whole feeling-like-a-kid-again vibe, eh?

  21. That cake sounds soooo freaking delish! I love the way you frosted it.

    Girl…enjoy your “mid” 30’s while you can! I hit the big 4-0 this year and your mom is soo right (according to her post). The metabolism hits the HALT button and I won’t even tell you about the excitement at the Gynecologists office once you hit 40. I’ll just leave it at NOT COOL!

    Anyway, happy belated birthday 🙂

  22. This is a fantastic birthday cake! I love the creamy caramel filling! Oh, and I love your list. . .especially whitewater rafting! 🙂

  23. Um so…I’m turning 23 and…I totally feel like I have some of your symptoms.

    WHY AM I OLD?! I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, *sob*

    Oh yeah and that cake looks beautiful and delicious n stuff!

  24. Happy Belated Birthday! I love birthdays because they’re just a good excuse for me to have an ‘excuse’ for things like forgetting…and getting heavier, and…and…this cake looks TO.DIE.FOR! MMMM!

  25. Oh…and did I say forgetting in my last comment? : /

  26. Oh. My. Gosh. Dorothy.

    You are BRILLIANT. That caramel filling???? I have frequently wished for the same thing but didn’t know how to do it! I am SOOOOOO doing this with chocolate and heath!

    –hey! No one steal my idea, peeps!!!

  27. Well, let me tell you I’m up there with your mother. And don’t ask and I won’t tell you all the things you have to look forward to. (I need a little smile face here). I love the cake, it is fabulous! Till next time YUM, YUM!

  28. HBD, Dorothy! I’m two years from the big 4-0, so I can totally sympathize with you.

    Your cake is beautiful! I love your frosting technique. Any advice or tutorials you can share if I want to try this myself?

    Thanks…and I love your blog. You GO, girl!

    • It’s so easy Heather! I used a 1M tip. The best tutorial I can give you is i am baker’s rose tutorial. All I did was “crumb coat” the cake with a light layer of frosting, and then I piped on the roses – start in the center and spiral out to get the size you want. Offset the rows to hide the spaces. Seriously, the easiest cake decoration ever!

  29. Omg they look amazing! This, I have to try! I love banana bread, never made it into a cake… yet! Thank you!!!

    Chippy Cakes

  30. I have a serious addiction to cake. This looks great & I do have some birthdays coming up so I could sure use this.

  31. whoa! Looks great! I’ll be turning 37 next month and I still feel like I’m in my 20’s. I mean, I keep waiting for the “real” parents to come home so I can be done babysitting. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I no longer have a career that has benefits (much less a paycheck). So, yeah… I’m back to my 20’s.

  32. When oh When is your cookbook coming out….WHEN!!!!! This is so heavenly….dreamy really. It would go real nice w/ the La Creme chardonnay I am guzzling…I mean sipping right now.

  33. Happy Birthday!! looks like a perfect cake to celebrate with.

  34. Happy Birthday, Dorothy! Enjoy your 30’s while you can…I am officially in my 40’s, and DO NOT want to talk about it!!

    That caramel filling sounds delicious! And combined with banana cake and cream cheese frosting…YUM!

  35. I hear you. I turned 36 this year and my knees POP when I go up and down the stairs (and that’s just the least of it). I keep wondering how/when I got this old. Also, I’m going to still be in my “mid-30’s” when I’m 40. 🙂 This cake looks awesome, though. That banana and caramel combo? Be still my heart!!

  36. Caramel Ganache?! That sounds divine! I’m not a fan of buttermilk frostings so chocolate ganache has always been my go-to. I can’t wait to try this.

  37. happy belated miss dorothy. numbers are just…. numbers!!!! who cares. 🙂 bananas and caramel may just be better, in my mind, than pb and bananas, and that’s saying a lot! this cake looks divine, i can literally see how moist it must be!

  38. I gained 10 pounds reading this recipe and looking at the dreamy picture!

  39. Gorgeous, gorgeous cake…love the big swooping piped swirls around the cake. You are so smart to have tried the whipping cream thing with the caramels. You are just on a roll Dorothy. You tell the mid-thirties they have nothing on you. Just look forward, make the most of each day and try, very hard, it’s not easy, to look at yourself and love what you see. There will always be imperfections to obsess over whether it’s weight, splotches, whatever but being a healthy, kind and vibrant woman is AWESOME. If only we could spread beautiful swirls of frosting all around us to cover up the mistakes like we do with cakes.

  40. Happy 35th! I’m right there with you – I turned 35 on the 21st. So we are in the same boat – and I totally feel it, too. But oh, how I wish I had this cake for my birthday, too. It sounds and looks amazing!!

  41. The cake looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing. As far as your age, enjoy every year and stop worrying about it. I’ve been there done that…My ideal age would be mid 30’s or early 40’s. I think I looked my best and you have a little wisdom behind you. Visiting from Six Sisters Stuff.

  42. Whitewater rafting?? Girl you’re crazy! I’m in complete denial about getting old. Just thinking about it makes me want to eat this entire cake… well that and just looking at this cake makes me want to eat this entire cake. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Pin It Thursday

  43. Your frost job is darling!! Love it.

  44. This cake was fantastic! I couldn’t believe how moist and yummy it was. I used a cream cheese frosting because I didn’t have the other ingredients, but everyone raved about it! Thanks for sharing a cake that is so simple and wonderful!

  45. This looks heavenly! I love banana!

  46. I’ve never had banana and caramel together but it sounds fantastic!

  47. This looks so unbelievably tasty!! I love banana cake!

  48. Dorothy…you’re such a cake genius!! It looks unreal!! YUM! So happy you linked up with us at Mop It Up Mondays!! Featuring you today at The Tuesday Ten: {HUGS}, kristi

  49. Happy belated birthday, Dorothy! I love this cake, the flavour combos sound epic! The caramel in the middle has me salivating and the banana too, mmmm! And frosted too. You just ticked all my cake boxes in one cake. 😀

    As for the rest of your complaints, I’ve been bone popping since I was 23 and yes, everything hurts more after resting than after activity, weird huh!? I’m 31 now and need reading glasses (note: need, not wear LOL) and amen with the foundation. I get those weird tiny pimples that are mainly skin coloured or brown, red, etc. Aging sucks!

  50. Just wanted to say that I did make this cake, but a little differently. I have type 2 diabetes and wanted to cut as much sugar as possible. I used a sugar free yellow cake mix and instead of melting the caramels, I used a jar of sugar free caramel ice cream topping. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way out of using powered sugar, so I made the icing using light margarine and fat free cream cheese. I did use 8 inch pans and baked it for 30 min. It is DELICIOUS!! My family couldn’t tell the difference and I was able to have a piece too! I will certainly use this recipe in the future. I hope someone else will benefit with my experiment.

    • I’m so glad you liked it! And THANK YOU for the sugar-free options! My dad is pre-diabetic and supposed to avoid all sugar. Now I can make this for him (almost) guilt free!

  51. Dorothy,
    You had me at Caramel filling! I am now drooling on my keyboard and dreaming about a slice of this cake, YUM! Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Have a wonderful week.

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  55. Oh my goodness…how yummy does this sound. Bananas and caramel are yet another of my favorite combos!

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  59. What was your technique in making the design with the frosting on the side of the cake? I’m not much of a cake decorator but it looks fabulous!

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  63. 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

  64. 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! 😉

  65. 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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  68. These look good. 

    Please put me on your list

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

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