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

3.53 from 168 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
    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.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2020 at 7:01 am

    5 stars
    This looks wonderful. Have you tried using this batter to make muffins?

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      I haven’t, but it should work.

  • Reply
    Betty Moore
    May 28, 2020 at 10:39 am

    I want to make this recipe but you ask for 1 tablespoon vanilla in the cake and 1 tablespoon in the icing. This seems excessive as most recipes of anything use teaspoons of vanilla as it goes a long way. Can you clarify please?

    • Reply
      May 28, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      I’m a vanilla lover Betty, but feel free to reduce the amount to your taste.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Sounds great! Do you need to refrigerate?

    • Reply
      May 6, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      I leave it out for a day and then refrigerate…the texture is wonderful cold, too.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Can you use cake flour? Also would it be the same measurement if you can?

    • Reply
      April 27, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      Yes, you definitely can, and it would be the same amount.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    All purpose or self rising flour?

    • Reply
      April 27, 2020 at 3:05 pm

      Regular all purpose flour.

  • Reply
    Melinda Carter
    April 17, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    5 stars
    This banana cake was so delicious that it didn’t need frosting. I baked it 25 minutes in a 9 inch square pan and it turned out moist but done. I substituted pecans for the walnuts and this cake was better than my banana nut bread. It was much lighter than bread and a mouthful of heaven.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    5 stars
    Just made this cake today, since I’m the only one here to eat it, I was looking for something small. It is Devine! I didn’t have any vanilla so omitted it and used half and half instead of heavy cream. The taste is fantastic! This is definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing this recipe…

    • Reply
      April 7, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks Kathy, glad you enjoyed it…we need to treat ourselves these days.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Would you double the recipe for a 9×13 pan?

    • Reply
      February 6, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Yes, that should be fine.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2019 at 3:15 am

    Can this be made in two layers instead?

    • Reply
      November 9, 2019 at 7:10 am

      I’m not sure there would be enough batter, you might need to double the recipe.

  • Reply
    Joyce Martin
    October 31, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Can I make this the day before I am going to serve it??

    • Reply
      October 31, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      That should be fine Joyce!

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

    5 stars
    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
    [email protected] 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.

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