The softest banana bundt cake with ultra creamy banana cream filling covered in cream cheese buttercream.
This banana cream cake is ridiculously rich and decadent. Kind of like the very best banana cream pie you can imagine transformed into the very best banana cake you can imagine. Except, you don't actually have to imagine anything. You just have to bake a cake. 😊
"This banana cake is amazing!! Had such a great banana flavor. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser. Thank you so much for another great recipe!" -Keiki
Just like one of my other favorite cream-filled cakes, Coconut Cream Cake, this Banana Cream Cake is incredibly rich, creamy, and super duper moist. (I know, I know how many of you hate that word, but I want you to know that this is a stick-to-your-fork kind of cake.)
Besides baking a really good banana bundt cake, the thing I MOST wanted from this recipe is for every bite to contain a ridiculous amount of banana cream filling.
So, stacking cake layers with banana cream sandwiched in between was out because if you spread the layers with too much cream filling, they just slip and slide right off. Not that I didn't try. And not that we didn't eat the result even though it was a complete mess. 🤷🏻♀️
What works out SO MUCH better is to bake the cake in a bundt pan and then squeezed the filling inside, Twinkie style. This results in slices of cake that contain quite a bit of creamy, dreamy, insanely delicious pastry cream.
But... I still wanted MORE.
So, the recipe makes enough to stuff the cake with a generous amount of banana cream filling and still have enough left over to serve a spoonful or two (or three) on the side. 👏👏👏
Banana Bundt Cake Ingredients
- Cake flour creates a super soft, tender, fluffy cake. But, if you don't have any cake flour, I've included a good substitution in the recipe notes. (For more information about the difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour, check out the FAQ section.)
- Baking powder and baking soda work together to help the cake rise and create a soft, tender texture.
- Salt. Always, in everything.
- Nutmeg and ginger are the perfect warm compliment to the flavors of banana and vanilla.
- Butter and vegetable oil. Butter for flavor and vegetable oil for moistness.
- Brown sugar adds more flavor than granulated sugar and also creates a softer, moister cake.
- 3 large eggs + an extra egg yolk for extra richness.
- Pure vanilla extract. Don't use imitation vanilla in this cake because it can create a bitter aftertaste.
- Very ripe bananas. What do you do with over-ripe bananas? Make banana cake!
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk gives this cake a rich, buttery flavor and soft, fluffy texture.
Banana Cream Filling Ingredients
The banana cream filling for this cake is simply:
- My all-time favorite pastry cream, and
- A very ripe banana
My favorite pastry cream recipe is super simple, remarkably stable, and perfect for anything from filing a pie, to layering into a flaky Napoleon, to filling doughnuts, profiteroles and eclairs and, of course, to fill a cake with creamy, dreamy deliciousness.
The pastry cream will keep for days in the refrigerator and will hold its own at room temperature for hours without breaking down. Also, and most importantly, it's ridiculously rich and delicious.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Ingredients
- Equal amounts cream cheese and butter create the creamiest, most delicious buttercream for this cake.
- Pure vanilla extract.
- Powdered sugar. (aka, confectioners sugar)
- And, if you like, crushed vanilla wafer cookies to sprinkle over the frosted cake.
Step-by-Step Photos and Instructions
Prepare the bundt pan so your cake will not stick: Coat the inside of the pan with a thin layer of vegetable shortening or butter then shake some flour around inside the pan until it's completely covered. Turn the pan over and tap out the excess flour.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, vegetable oil, and brown sugar until the mixture appears light in color and fluffy in texture.
Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating until each one is incorporated into the batter before adding the next.
Add the vanilla and the mashed banana and beat just until everything looks combined.
In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk: ⅓ of the flour, ½ of the buttermilk, ⅓ of the flour, ½ of the buttermilk, ⅓ of the flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake.
How to know when this cake is done baking: The cake is done when it's beginning to pull pulling away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out without any raw batter on it.
Let the cake cool for about 5 minutes inside the pan then carefully turn it out of the pan onto a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before filling it with banana pastry cream and frosting it with cream cheese buttercream.
How to Fill a Bundt Cake with Banana Pastry Cream
In order to achieve the cake-to-banana-cream-filling ratio that I wanted in a banana cream cake, I baked it as a bundt cake and squeezed the banana cream filling into the center just like a giant Twinkie. The technique is pretty simple as long as you're careful to not allow filling to squirt out the top and sides.
Before you begin, you're going to need:
I used a large round decorator tip, but a star shaped one will work just as well. Drop the tip into the pastry bag, clip the top of the bag off to allow the tip to poke through, and fill the bag with pastry cream so that it's about halfway full.
Flip the cake upside down, so that the flat bottom is facing up. (BTW - It's super important that the cake be 100% cool before you fill it or it will just melt the pastry cream.)
Insert the decorator tip into the center of the cake and squeeze some banana cream filling in there. As you do, the bottom of the cake will crack. This is ok. Just watch to make sure that you're not squeezing so much filling in there that the sides and top are cracking as well.
After the cake has been filled with pastry cream, position a plate or cake stand over the bottom of the cake and carefully flip it over so that it's right side up again.
See that? The filling is now a hidden gem. A delicious surprise for every lucky duck you share a slice with.
Banana Cream Filling Tips and Tricks:
- Pastry cream is super easy to make but needs at least 3 hours in the refrigerator to cool down before using it. After it's completely cool, lighten it up a bit by beating whipped cream into it and then adding a mashed banana.
- The pastry cream will keep well in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours BEFORE you add the mashed banana. Once the banana has been added, use the pastry cream to fill the cake within an hour or two.
- Make sure to allow the cake to cool completely before filling it with pastry cream or the pastry cream will just melt and run out of the cake.
Cake flour is a type of flour that is very finely milled from soft winter wheat. In comparison to all-purpose flour, cake flour has a lower protein content and it is finer, lighter, softer, and has a grain that's is less dense. The reason cake flour is so great for cakes is because of its low protein content.
The higher the protein in flour, the more gluten development there will be. This is great when you want the final product to be strong and highly elastic, like when baking bread. But, when you want the opposite result of a soft, tender crumb, low protein content and low gluten development is key.
There are several things you can do to discourage gluten development in cake:
1. Treat the batter gently after adding the flour. Stir just until the flour has been incorporated into the batter. The more the dough is mixed or kneaded, the more the glutens develop.
2. Add plenty of fat to the batter because fat inhibits gluten development.
3. Start with low protein flour - like cake flour.
If you don't have any cake flour, you can make a substitution by replacing approximately 2 tablespoons of every cup of all-purpose flour with cornstarch. This will lower the protein content to similar levels as what you'll find in cake flour.
Once filled and frosted, this cake will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cover it lightly with plastic wrap or a large bowl or glass dome.
The banana bundt cake will keep well at room temperature for up to 2 days. Or, freeze the cake, wrapped tightly, for up to 3 months.
Store the banana cream filling in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Store the cream cheese buttercream in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the buttercream to come to room temperature and re-beat it for a minute or two before using it to frost the cake.
As a fun little aside, while working on this recipe the thought occurred to me - why are bananas considered a fruit? I mean, all fruit has seeds, but do bananas have seeds?
I found the answer in this fun little article, aptly named, Do Bananas Have Seeds? I actually learned things about bananas from reading the article than I ever even thought to ask. 😊
Other Buttercream Options
If you're not a fan of cream cheese buttercream, or simply don't have any cream cheese on hand, here are a couple of other good options:
- Classic American Buttercream
- Italian Meringue Buttercream
- Get your chocolate and banana fix by frosting this cake with Classic Chocolate Buttercream OR Milk Chocolate buttercream
True confessions: I might like chocolate buttercream on this cake even more than cream cheese buttercream because chocolate and banana is just sooooo YUM. But, it does change the overall flavor profile of the cake significantly.
Whatever you use to frost your cake, I love adding a sprinkle of crushed vanilla wafers. They are a nostalgic nod to classic banana pudding and add just the right amount of texture and crunch to this super creamy cake.
For the Banana Cream Filling:
- 1 recipe Pastry Cream
- 1 large very ripe banana, mashed
For the Banana Bundt Cake:
- 3 cups (360 grams) cake flour (No cake flour? Seen note below for substitution)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon table salt (or, 1 teaspoon kosher salt)
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup (4 ounces/ 113 grams) butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 grams/ 1/75 ounces) vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed (213 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (400 grams) mashed very ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
- 1 ½ cups (340 grams/ 12 ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Cream Cheese Buttercream:
- 8 ounces (1 cup/ 227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces (1 cup/ 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4-5 cups (454 - 567 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1 cup (85 grams) crushed vanilla wafer cookies, for sprinkling over the frosted cake (optional)
- Follow the instructions to make my all-time Favorite Pastry Cream, following the instructions (step #9 in the recipe) to chill the cream for at least 3 hours, and up to 48 hours.
Make the banana bundt cake:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Grease the inside of a 10-inch (12-cup) bundt pan with vegetable shortening or butter. Sprinkle flour inside the pan and shake it around so that the entire inside of the pan is coated with flour.
- Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and ginger to a large bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- Beat the butter, vegetable oil, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating on medium-high speed after each addition until fully incorporated.
- Beat in the vanilla, then the mashed banana, beating until well combined.
- Mix in the buttermilk and flour mixture in alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour: Flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour. Beat in each addition on low speed, mixing just long enough to barely incorporate one addition before adding the next. Be careful to not over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 50 - 60 minutes. The cake is done when it's pulled away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out without any raw batter on it.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool inside the pan for 5 minutes. Gently turn it out of the pan onto a wire rack and let it cool completely before filling and frosting.
Make the Cream Cheese Buttercream:
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt, and 4 cups powdered sugar with an electric mixer on low just until blended. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes, until creamy and smooth. Add more powdered sugar if necessary to achieve a spreadable consistency.
Fill and Frost the Cake:
- After beating the whipped cream into the pastry cream (steps 10 and 11 in the pastry cream recipe), beat in the mashed banana.
- Fit a pastry bag with a large round or star-shaped decorator tip (see links below) and fill it with pastry cream. Set the cake upside down on a work surface.
- Poke the decorator tip into the cake and squeeze some filling into it. The surface of the cake's bottom will split slightly as you do this and that's ok. Just be careful to not insert so much pastry cream that the sides and top of the cake begin to split. *See photos above.
- Continue to move around the cake, filling the entire center of the cake with pastry cream. Again, see the photos above for reference.
- Carefully turn the cake over onto a plate or cake stand. Cover the cake with cream cheese buttercream and then sprinkle crushed vanilla wafers over the buttercream.
- Serve each slice of cake with an additional dollop of banana pastry cream.
This cake should be refrigerated if not served within 3 hours of filling and frosting. The cake will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, covered.
If you don't have cake flour, you can make the following substitution:
Combine 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour and ⅓ cup cornstarch. Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour making this cake extremely soft and tender. Replacing some all-purpose flour with cornstarch will have a similar effect.
Substitute for Buttermilk:
If you don't have buttermilk, fill a measuring cup with 1 ½ cups (340 grams/ 12 ounces) of milk and then replace 1 tablespoon of the milk with lemon juice or plain distilled vinegar. Stir and let stand for about 5 minutes before using.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 537Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 445mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 1gSugar: 44gProtein: 6g