This is the BEST salted caramel banana snack cake! The banana cake is super light, soft, and moist and it’s topped with salted caramel cream cheese frosting swirled with extra salted caramel. Perfect for this time of year when you’re wanting those cozy fall flavors, but aren’t ready for pumpkin everything.
What makes this banana snack cake the BEST?
- Easy to Make. This single layer snack cake is super easy to make. Just mix the ingredients with a stand or hand mixer, bake in a 9X9 pan, let cool and top with frosting. No chilling or stacking layers required and the whole thing comes together in less than an hour, including cool down time!
- Perfect combination of flavors and textures. The banana cake is light, fluffy, moist, and packed with banana flavor. While the salted caramel cream cheese frosting is sweet, salty, a little tangy, and incredibly silky. It has a little bit of everything for the perfect bite!
- Easily adapted for gluten free. If you want to make this cake gluten free, simply swap out the all purpose flour for a 1 to 1 baking flour such as Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Baking.
- Bananas. You’ll need 390 g of banana for this recipe, which is roughly 3 large bananas. As always, I like to weigh my ingredients for the most accurate result.
- Cinnamon. I love the warm and cozy vibes that cinnamon brings to the party. It says fall without being in your face with all the pumpkin quite yet. You can omit the cinnamon if you want.
- Cream Cheese. This banana snack cake is topped with salted caramel cream cheese buttercream. I suggest using Philadelphia Cream Cheese because it’s the best and since we’re not cooking it, the flavor will really come through so you want to use the best you can get!
- Salted Caramel. I tested this recipe both with my own homemade salted caramel sauce and with store bought. As long as the caramel is a pourable consistency, it will work just fine!
How to Make Salted Caramel Banana Snack Cake
Make the Banana Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. I like to leave an overhang of parchment so that I can use it to easily lift the cake out of the pan once it’s cooled down a bit.
In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for another minute until the mixture becomes fluffy in texture. Mix in the mashed bananas until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. Then, add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and mix until there’s just a few streaks of flour remaining to prevent over mixing. Use a rubber spatula to do one final mix to incorporate that last but of flour.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then lift out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Make the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
If you are making your own salted caramel sauce, do that first so that it can cool before you mix it into the frosting. You can find my recipe for salted caramel sauce here. Alternatively, use your favorite store bought salted caramel sauce.
For the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a medium mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to beat them together until they are smooth and well combined. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix for 3 minutes, until fully combined and smooth. Then repeat with the other half of the powdered sugar. Add 1/3 C (55 g) of the cooled caramel sauce and mix until combined.Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting onto the cooled cake into an even layer.
Use a spoon to dollop extra salted caramel all over the cake. Then use the offset spatula to gently swirl the caramel into the frosting. Top with flaky sea salt. Slice the cake into 16 squares and enjoy. For clean slices, make sure to wipe off your knife between cuts.
Equipment and tools
- Stand or Hand Mixer. This recipe can easily be made with either a hand or a stand mixer. It’s a small cake that doesn’t require a ton of buttercream, so I used my hand mixer!
- 9 inch square Baking Pan. This cake bakes up perfectly in a 9 inch square pan. I use this one from USA Pan. You could also bake it in an 8 inch square pan (add 5 minutes to the bake time) or in a 9 inch round cake pan.
- Rubber Spatula. I have a zillion rubber spatulas because I use them for everything. I like to have a standard sized one to do a final mix on cake batters and cookie doughs and mini ones for frosting, caramel, and melting chocolate.
- Kitchen Scale. I always recommend weighing your ingredients when baking. It’s the best way to make sure your bakes turn out just as the recipe author intends. Kitchen scales are inexpensive and make a huge difference. However, if you aren’t going to weight your ingredients, at least promise me to spoon and level your flour.
- Candy Thermometer. If you’re making your own caramel, a candy thermometer can be very useful to ensure you’re not over heating the sugar. If you’ve made it 1000 times like I have, you can probably do it by eye by now.
Soft, light, and moist banana cake topped with slightly salty and tangy caramel cream cheese buttercream.
For the Banana Cake
- 1/2 C (113 g) Salted Butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 C (165 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 Lg Egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 3 Lg Bananas (390 g) mashed
- 1 3/4 C (225 g) All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 C Buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 4 oz (half a block) Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 3 TBSP Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 C Powdered Sugar
- 1/4 C Salted Caramel Sauce, + more for swirling on top
For the Banana Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl (or a stand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until well combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix until the egg is fully incorporated.
- Mix in the mashed bananas.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until just combined.
- Add the buttermilk and mix to combine.
- Finally, add the remaining 1/2 of dry ingredients and mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with an offset spatula. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then lift it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream
- If you are making your own caramel sauce, make that first so that it has time to cool down before you add it to the frosting.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until they are well combined and smooth. Make sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure there’s no clumps of cream cheese.
- Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
- Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time and mix for 3 minutes after each addition until the frosting is smooth.
- Add in the salted caramel sauce and mix to combine.
- Spread the frosting onto the cooled banana cake in an even layer.
- Dollop extra salted caramel all over the top and use a spoon to swirl it into the buttercream.
- Top with a little bit of flaky salt (optional) and slice into 16 slices.
*Cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Keywords: banana cake, banana snack cake, salted caramel cream cheese frosting, caramel banana cake
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