Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting

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Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting ~ part banana bread, part snack cake, part blondie, this little banana cake is a must make!

cutting a banana walnut cake

This makes number three in my unofficial series of little banana cakes.  If you ask me they are some of my best recipes, and some of my most popular, too.   I’d place all three of them on my all time favorites list.  The first one, banana poppy seed cake, was loaded with poppy seeds and topped with a thick swath of vanilla bean frosting, and I can still remember how difficult it was to photograph without diving into it.  The second was the one with the Nutella buttercream.  That one just speaks for itself.

a square of banana walnut cake

But this one might just be my favorite of the favorites.  There is something about the combination of the caramel frosting and the banana walnut cake that just belongs together.  It’s not like you taste the cake, and then the frosting, in this case it all hits you at once. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Frosting a banana walnut cake

I touched off a firestorm on facebook the other day when I asked for caramel frosting ideas.  The recipe that came closest to what I was looking for was a Paula Deen recipe, and I mentioned that I didn’t want to ‘go there’.  Well, the Paula Deen fans came down on me pretty hard.  I guess facebook isn’t the best place to try to say something, no matter how casually, about a politically charged issue and expect to get away unscathed. 

But just for the record, I think public figures wield a lot of power in our society, and I think it’s only natural that they get scrutinized pretty closely.  Yes we’re all human, we have the right, thankfully, to say what we want and feel what we feel, but public figures should represent the best in us, after all, they get some pretty nice perks.  Fame is a democratic process, and I guess public opinion will have the final say in what happens.  In the end, I did adapt her recipe, because nobody knows caramel frosting better than Paula, but I’m glad to live in a world where this stuff matters.

caramel frosting for banana walnut cake

Anyway, back to an easier topic, like cake. I have a lot of recipes under my belt at this point, and I can confidently say that this is one of the best.  The subtle caramel icing complements the rich banana cake perfectly.  Don’t forget the walnuts, they add that special touch.   I’m going to file this one under ‘fall’, too, because it has that feel about it.

making caramel frosting

I don’t avoid fancy layer cakes on purpose, but I find myself always coming back to these homey snack style cakes, they seem so much more manageable, and there’s none of that nagging guilt

banana walnut cake squares

While I was on the treadmill working off my ‘test’ piece of cake, my bichon Teddy somehow jumped up high enough to knock down the entire cake and eat a good bit of it before I heard the clunk.  He’s never done that before.  I salvaged one piece that I’m pretty sure he didn’t lick.  I’m going to save it for breakfast.  Bummer.

banana walnut cake with caramel frosting

Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting
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74 ratings

Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (I ended up with about a cup after a thorough mashing)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (make this a heaping 1/2 cup, measured after chopping)
    caramel frosting
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz (about 1/2 a box) confectioner’s sugar
  • pinch of salt


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the sour cream and the egg.
  3. Mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Make sure to get the little lumps out. Add the bananas and the vanilla to the butter and sugar and blend well.
  4. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda and add to the batter. Stir just until combined. Fold in the nuts.
  5. Spread the batter into an 8x8 or 9x9 square baking pan that's been sprayed with oil or lined with parchment paper with overlapping ends. The paper will help you remove the cake from the pan for neater cutting.
  6. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it. (It will still be moist)
  7. Let cool before frosting.
  8. To make the frosting, heat the butter and sugar in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Take off the heat and add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt.
  10. Beat in the powdered sugar, and continue beating on high until the frosting is thick and glossy. Add a little more cream if it seems too thick, and a little more sugar if it seems too thin.
  11. Spread thickly on the cooled banana cake.

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Connie Guappone
    July 21, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I made this cake earlier today but didn’t have the whipping cream for the frosting and it was still delicious. I went to the grocery store to pick up the cream and now ready to make another one with the frosting to compare. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • Reply
      July 21, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      Oh wow, you’ll be an expert on this cake Connie, thanks for your input, and good to know it works without the cream.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2018 at 7:08 am

    thx for this recipe, the bananas on my counter are begging to be rescued:) is this really 1 tablespoon vanilla? now following you on bloglovin. tia!

    • Reply
      August 7, 2018 at 7:14 am

      I go a little crazy with the vanilla because I just love it, but feel free to reduce to a more ‘reasonable’ amount ;) Hope you enjoy this!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2016 at 10:41 pm


  • Reply
    February 1, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Hello! I just made this cake on a whim and LOVED it. So good. But I linked to it on my blog. I could eat the whole pan easily. Thank you for brining this cake into the world.

    • Reply
      February 1, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks so much for letting me know, I’m heading over to your site now. I remember how hard it was to photograph that cake, because all I wanted to do was sit down and eat!

  • Reply
    Alison Burtt
    June 29, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I agree with you. I understand people saying that “nobody’s perfect” but there’s some distance between being not perfect and being casually racist. I was behind her about the diabetes thing. That’s something that could have been handled better by her publicists, but in the end, it’s a personal matter and something a lot of people deal with. The current situation is just a mess.

    Anyway, like you said, back to the point. We had bananas foster cake as our wedding cake so obviously we’re big fans of bananas + caramel. I will definitely be trying out this one! Thanks!

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    June 29, 2013 at 11:55 am

    ugh, the Paula Deen issue; even I’M a chicken about that one. I didn’t see your FB post or i would have chimed in, but in a way that would have been to basically say this: I don’t think she’s an evil person, but i do strongly believe that after many years of traveling the world and living outside whatever bubble you may have grown up in, you should be careful what you say and also what you think. it’s sad because i read an article the other day which i agree with, and that’s that somehow this whole thing with her has gone from a justified lashing out to good, old-fashioned bullying. and that part i think is sad. i think everyone is entitled to their opinion, though. just i don’t know if everyone is entitled to mean. :) and that’s what i’ll say about that.
    i agree that no one knows caramel frosting better than paula. and i think this looks great, so i’m happy you adapted this recipe. truly, there’s nothing ever bad about bananas and walnuts and caramel together, at least not for me. :)

  • Reply
    June 28, 2013 at 12:17 am

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I did change the icing to my taste however, because I knew it would be too sweet for me. I omitted the icing sugar, and added a bit more cream. Once it cool I whipped in some softened butter, but it was still really liquid, so I threw it in the fridge and it hardened up beautifully! Thanks for a great recipe:)

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    June 27, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I love banana cakes and that frosting looks so luscious!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    omg this tastes so great!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2013 at 8:59 am

    what a luscious frosting! you could slather that on anything and it’d become an instant hit. :)

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    June 26, 2013 at 10:20 am

    ah, so this is the infamous PD caramel frosting… fabulous cake darling!

  • Reply
    Laura Dembowski
    June 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Oh, my, this looks so good! I am craving this cake like crazy right now. Love that caramel frosting too!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    June 26, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Oh no – I bet your dog enjoyed it. What a lovely cake and icing.

  • Reply
    Sara (home is where the cookies are)
    June 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Oh my goodness – this looks CRAZY good! I have soooo many leftover bananas right now…. I think I see this cake in my very near future! Love it!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    June 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    A beautiful thing, for sure! I guess Teddy thought so too! Hope Teddy’s tummy is okay, what a rascal! Love this cake, love it!

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    June 26, 2013 at 1:44 am

    I love banana cake, and this one looks perfectly moist. And the frosting really does look amazing!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    June 26, 2013 at 1:09 am

    Sue the cake and the frosting look amazing! I put a banana-peanut butter cake with caramel frosting in my cookbook and it’s one of my fave cakes I’ve ever made it it made the back cover of my book. I loooove caramel frosting and when I was researching it, my head was spinning from all the options! Yours looks amazing. And so does the cake. Soft, fluffy, moist, just dense enough – pretty much everything I want in a cake!

  • Reply
    Mary Younkin
    June 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    This sounds amazing and you can actually SEE how moist that cake is! Wow. You’ve outdone yourself again, girl. I wish I had a piece as well, although, I’m not really wanting one of Teddy’s pieces. ha.

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    June 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Well if there’s one thing we can all agree on – Paula knows her sweets! And this cake will be bookmarked. I love banana cake. And I know I’ll love this frosting, too! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Bourbon & Pearls
    June 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    As life isn’t already so hard, we have to fight it out on our blogs, twitter facebook, etc. it’s all so wearing.