Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting

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

3.59 from 175 votes

Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting

Banana Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting ~ part banana bread, part snack cake, part blondie, this little banana cake is a must make!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Yield 9 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 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


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the sour cream and the egg.
  • 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.
  • Sift the flour, salt and baking soda and add to the batter. Stir just until combined. Fold in the nuts.
  • 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.
  • Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it. (It will still be moist)
  • Let cool before frosting.
  • 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.
  • Take off the heat and add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt.
  • 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.
  • Spread thickly on the cooled banana cake.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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  • Reply
    Paula C
    May 27, 2022 at 8:50 pm

    5 stars
    Oh YUM!!! I made this tonight, exactly as the recipe said, and it is so good, I am concerned about eating the whole thing myself…tonight, LOL. The frosting is PERFECT, too. Thank you, Sue… all your recipes!

  • Reply
    Lisa Evans
    January 30, 2022 at 6:24 pm

    This cake is amazing and I followed the recipe exactly as is! I don’t usually post comments but this was wonderful . My only question is my frosting color is brown not white. I did use dark brown sugar – would that be why? It doesn’t matter as frosting is great and I put left over frosting on graham crackers but curious how to get frosting color white.

    Thanks again!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 30, 2022 at 6:31 pm

      Glad you loved this Lisa and yes, dark brown sugar will definitely darken foods a bit more than golden brown sugar, especially in something like frosting. And with caramel, you don’t really want a white color, you want something that will read ‘caramel’. Sometimes in photos the colors of food tend to look a little paler than in real life.

  • Reply
    Meriwether Meyer
    August 20, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    3 stars
    Cake took much longer to bake than expected. It did turn out very moist however. The amounts of from for this cake is way too much. I used maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the total recipe. Overall very good!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    5 stars
    Holy smokes was this good. Moist but not stodgy (as I find sometimes happens with desserts that have sour cream/yogurt). And the frosting is just outstanding — I thought the recipe may have made too much for my 8×8 tray, but I ended up loving the balance. I used plain Greek yogurt Instead of sour cream, and dark brown sugar as that’s what I had. Love it, will make it again!

  • Reply
    Deborah Gilbert
    January 31, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    When we can’t voice our opinions on issues we feel very strongly about it may be time to look for immigrating to a country where you can. If you cause a firestorm then so be it. To stay silent, in my opinion, is wrong. It’s our moral obligation to speak up. So, whether I agree or disagree with you, the point is mute. Keep speaking up!
    Your devoted follower,
    Deborah Gilbert
    Ps Making your banana cake today with my sister visiting f me here in Vail! I KNOW it will be amazing

  • Reply
    sharon thomas
    October 22, 2020 at 8:23 am

    4 stars
    Any subs for the sour cream?

    • Reply
      October 22, 2020 at 8:29 am

      You might use cream, half and half, or even yogurt.

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