Banana Pudding Cake

This banana pudding cake is everything. The fluffy hot milk sponge cake pairs PERFECTLY with the vanilla pastry cream, fresh banana slices, vanilla wafer cookies and fresh whipped cream.

Why you’ll love this cake 

  • Hot milk sponge is my FAVORITE type of sponge. It’s fluffy but also so flavorful and less eggy then other sponge cakes. The hot milk really gives it a good flavor. 
  • The cake and the creams both serve well chilled. 
  • The whipped cream (chantilly cream) is quite literally the easiest cream on the planet to make. 
  • The pastry cream is actually quite simple and can be made with just egg yolks or a whole egg.

If you’re into light and fluffy types of cakes I have several for you! I think you’ll love my Lemon Curd Cake, Chantilly Cake and my beloved Tiramisu Cake!

If you’re here for bananas, I actually have a ton of banana recipes but my favorites are fluffernutter banana cake, banoffee cake and chocolate peanut butter banana cake.  

What is banana pudding 

Banana pudding is an American dessert, more popular in the south, that consists of layering vanilla custard, banana slices, vanilla wafers or ladyfingers and whipped cream. It’s commonly made with store-bought vanilla pudding, sweetened condensed milk, ‘Nilla wafers and Cool whip. 

I made every component of this cake from scratch besides the wafer cookies. I felt like there was no replicating those and they’re very nostalgic in this recipe. I also tested a million and one versions of pastry cream and chantilly cream so this cake was the perfect opportunity to use those up too. 

Ingredients 

  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour for this cake and it’s quite delicate so I don’t recommend changing it but I do sift it before adding it to the eggs (it doesn’t matter whether you sift it before or after measuring if you use a digital scale).
    • I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 
  • Sugar: I use granulated sugar in both the cake and the pastry cream and powdered sugar in the whipped cream. Granulated sugar can also be used in the whipped cream as a 1:1 ratio in weight. Read my post on chantilly cream for more info on that swap. 
  • Eggs: I always use large eggs for all my baking and make sure they’re at room temperature for the best results.
    • If they’re cold, just place them in hot water for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Milk: I like to use whole milk for the pastry cream and the cake. 2% or dairy free also works well though.
  • Butter: I use salted butter in the cake and the pastry cream but unsalted butter also works fine. I would add a little extra pinch of sea salt though. 
  • Heavy Cream: You’ll need heavy whipping cream (or double cream) to make the whipped cream.
    • Make sure to use something between 35%-45% fat. I haven’t tried a dairy free cream but if you have a dairy free heavy cream or whipped topping you like, feel free to use that instead.
    • This can be replaced with a tub of Cool Whip if you want. 
  • Vanilla: The main flavor here is vanilla so I like to use vanilla bean paste in the pastry cream and whipped cream. Vanilla extract and vanilla beans also work, the higher the quality the better the flavor. 
  • Bananas: I used fresh ripe bananas that are good for eating, not too green and not too brown. After slicing, I toss them in a little bit of lemon juice so they don’t brown in the cake. 
  • Wafer cookies: I used mini vanilla wafers because they were easy to layer without cutting. You can also use the full size ones and chop them smaller, as needed. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Start making the pastry cream by whisking together the egg, sugar, cornstarch and salt until they’re smooth.

Step 2: Heat the milk and then use it to temper the eggs. Then return the whole mixture to the pot. 

Step 3: Cook the pastry cream for just a couple of minutes, until it starts to thicken, whisking aggressively and then pour it into a bowl with the butter and vanilla. 

Step 4: It’ll split at first but as you whisk, the butter and pastry cream will come back together and be smooth and silky.  

Step 5: Cover the top of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill. 

Step 6: Make the cake by heating the milk and butter until it’s hot but not simmering. Set aside. 

Step 7: Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar until it’s pale and fluffy. 

Step 8: Sift the dry ingredients over the eggs and stream the hot milk in with the mixer on low speed. Mix just until the last streak of flour is combined. 

Step 9: Distribute the batter evenly among three pans, about 15-16 oz in each, and bake for about 20 minutes. 

Step 10: Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla, once the cakes and the pastry cream have cooled completely. 

Step 11: Slice the bananas and toss them with a little lemon juice to prevent them from browning in the cake. 

Step 12: Place the first layer of cake onto a flat surface. Top with a generous layer of pastry cream, followed by a single layer of banana slices and a single layer of vanilla wafers. Cover with a layer of whipped cream. 

Step 13: Place the second layer of cake on top and repeat with the next layers. Swirl the rest of the whipped cream on the top layer and top with more bananas and vanilla wafers. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour to set. 

How to frost/decorate this banana pudding cake

If you want to cover the outside with the whipped cream too, it may be a little difficult since the cake is so light and the cream is so soft. You can lightly cover it after refrigerating (or freezing) it for a little until it’s more sturdy. 

If you want to actually frost it nice and decorate the outside of this cake you’ll have to pipe a border of buttercream around the edge of the first layer of cake and then use the pastry cream, banana slices, vanilla wafer and whipped cream as the filling. You can see how I did that for my cranberry orange cake

I recommend a Swiss Meringue buttercream for decorating but American buttercream also works fine. 

The reason I didn’t do that for this cake is because you get more filling this way and that’s basically what makes this a banana pudding cake. The buttercream around the edge is a little overpowering if you do it that way. 

Make sure to check out my cookbook Frosted for a million frosting options and how to use them!

What can I make ahead of time?

The whipped cream must be made fresh when using it.

The bananas can be sliced a few hours before assembling but make sure to toss them in lemon juice right away.

The pastry cream can be made 1-2 days in advance – keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to assemble. 

The cakes can be made in advance. If it’s 1 day, wrap them in plastic wrap as soon as they’ve cooled and leave them at room temperature. If it’s longer, freeze the cakes for up to a few weeks. Remove them from the freezer 1-2 hours before assembling.

Expert tips on getting the perfect results 

  • Don’t swap ingredients unless I mentioned them in the ingredient section above.
  • Don’t over-mix the cake or the creams at any stage. 
  • Don’t reduce the sugar in the cake or the creams (I promise it’s not overly sweet). 
  • Weigh the ingredients with a digital scale.
  • Don’t skip sifting the sugar and flour. 
  • Weigh the batter for each cake to make them even (15-16 ounces each).
  • Use a light colored stainless steel cake pan for the pastry cream (non stick also works but avoid aluminum). 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know when it’s done baking?

Just like all the rest of my cakes, I test if it’s done baking by pressing gently on the tallest part of the cake. The cake will spring back if it’s done baking. If it stays indented, give it a few minutes in the oven, before testing again. 

Can I make this gluten-free?

I haven’t tested gluten-free flours with sponge cakes but I really don’t see why it wouldn’t work with a 1:1 substitute. It works for all the rest of my cake recipes. 

Can I make this dairy free?

Dairy free butter works in the whole recipe, along with dairy free milk. The whipped cream can be replaced with coconut whipped cream but I haven’t tested any other whipped cream replacements.

What other size pan can I make this cake in?


I baked these cakes in three 8 inch cake pans.
You can also bake the cake:
– four 6 inch cake pans (going to be way too tall though so I don’t recommend).
– three 7 or 9 inch cake pans (+/- 5 minute bake time)

How to store a banana pudding cake

Cover the cake with foil, a cake dome or a cake carrier and refrigerate for up to a week. 

If it’s any longer, feel free to freeze the cake. Slice it and place the slices in an airtight container and freeze for a few weeks. The bananas might get mushy when thawing though so freezing is not ideal.

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. 

If you make this banana pudding cake, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

banana pudding cake sliced, showing the inside

Banana Pudding Cake

Traditional banana pudding but layered in a cake – super fluffy sponge cake layered with vanilla pastry cream, banana slices, vanilla wafer cookies and fluffy whipped cream.
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 538 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 silicone or rubber spatula
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 1 offset spatula

Ingredients
  

Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 1 large egg (or 3 large egg yolks) room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (45g) granulated sugar scant cup
  • 3 Tbsp (30g) cornstarch
  • tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (8oz) whole milk
  • 3 Tbsp (42g) salted butter room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

Sponge Cake

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (240mL) milk
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter gets melted with milk
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream/Chantilly Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz) heavy whipping cream cold
  • 1/3 cup (45g) powdered sugar spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • tiny pinch fine sea salt

Toppings/Fillings

  • 2 ripe bananas sliced (ripe enough to eat but not over-ripe)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4-6 oz vanilla wafers

Instructions
 

Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg (or egg yolks), sugar, cornstarch and salt aggressively for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture becomes smooth and runny, with no more chunks.
    1 large egg (or 3 large egg yolks), 1/4 cup (45g) granulated sugar, 3 Tbsp (30g) cornstarch, tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat, just until it comes to a simmer.
    1 cup (8oz) whole milk
  • Temper the eggs by streaming half of the milk into the egg mixture while continuing to whisk.
  • Dump the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, while whisking continuously.
  • Within 1-3 minutes, the mixture should start to thicken, continue whisking, making sure to scrape the edges and center of the pan.
  • Once it's starting to stick to the pan, whisk aggressively for another 30-60 seconds. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl with the butter and vanilla.
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste, 3 Tbsp (42g) salted butter
  • Allow the heat from the pastry cream to melt the butter for a second and then gently whisk it. It may separate at first but it'll come back together as you whisk.
  • The pastry cream should be smooth and silky now, if you have any lumps, feel free to push it though a sieve.

Sponge Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/177C convection (325F/163C conventional) and grease and line three 8 inch cake pans with baking spray and parchment paper.
  • Place the flour, baking powder and sea salt in a medium bowl and whisk them together until they’re evenly distributed. 
    2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Place the milk with the butter in a small pot and heat it gently over medium-low heat, for 2-3 minutes, just until the butter is fully melted and the mixture is hot but not yet simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    1 cup (240mL) milk, 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter
  • Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with the whisk attachment, and begin beating at medium-high speed, until the eggs begin to froth , just a few seconds. Reduce the speed and stream in the sugar. 
    4 large eggs, 1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • Add the vanilla extract and turn the mixer up to full speed, allowing it to beat for a few minutes, until the sugar and egg mixture is fluffy and pale. 
    2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sift the dry ingredients over the egg mixture, and now turn the mixer up to low speed while streaming in the milk and butter. Scrape the edge of the bowl and give it one more mix, just until the last streak of flour is combined. 
  • Divide the batter into the prepared pans, about 14ish ounces each, and bake for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown and spring back when you gently press on the tops.

Whipped Cream

  • Sift the powdered sugar and salt into the bowl of the stand mixer, fit with a whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer). 
    1/3 cup (45g) powdered sugar, tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • Pour the heavy whipping cream on top, along with the vanilla and turn the mixer up to medium speed for a few seconds until it starts to thicken (if you go full speed it will splash everywhere).
    1 1/2 cups (12oz) heavy whipping cream, 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip just until it holds stiff peaks. 
  • If you over-mix and it’s no longer smooth, add a little more cream and fold it in until it’s smooth again.

Assemble

  • Once the cakes and the pastry cream have cooled, slice the bananas and toss them into a bowl with the lemon juice (you won't taste the lemon juice but it'll prevent them from turning brown).
    2 ripe bananas, 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Place the first layer of cake onto a flat surface and spread a good layer of pastry cream on top.
  • Then a single layer of banana slices on top of the pastry cream and followed by a layer of vanilla wafer cookies (I used minis so I left them whole).
    4-6 oz vanilla wafers
  • Top with a generous layer of whipped cream and then another layer of cake. Repeat and then top with the last layer of cake.
  • Spread the rest of the whipped cream on top and decorate with some bananas and wafer cookies.
  • Refrigerate the cake for at least a few hours to set and slice easier. Serve cold or slightly chilled. Store refrigerated.

Notes

Pastry cream can be made with either 3 large egg yolks or 1 large egg – egg yolks will just give a richer flavor and darker color, I used 1 large egg in this recipe. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 538kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 9gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 175mgSodium: 355mgPotassium: 167mgFiber: 1gSugar: 44gVitamin A: 985IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




  1. I would like to make this but as a 6in cake, what adjustments would you recommend? Thank you! I can’t wait to try it!

  2. 5 stars
    Hey

    I was wondering if I could use paillete feuilletine in place of the wafers? I believe it will stay crisp in the layers…

    I bought a bag of it ages ago and have not found a use for it yet…what do you think?

    Looks delicious can’t wait to make it!

    Cheers

    D