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Banana Pudding Layer Cake

If you like banana pudding you’re going to love this banana pudding layer cake! It’s made with tender banana cake layers that are filled with vanilla pudding, fresh banana slices, vanilla wafers, and fluffy vanilla buttercream.

It’s such a fun spin on this beloved southern dessert and is a total crowd pleaser!

image of a slice of banana pudding cake made with layers of banana cake, pudding, bananas, whipped cream and vanilla wafers

What is Banana Pudding?

Before we dive into how to make this banana pudding cake, let’s talk about what banana pudding actually is. A lot of people think it’s made with banana-flavored pudding, but that’s not the case!

Banana pudding is usually made with layers of sweet vanilla custard or pudding, vanilla wafers or lady fingers, slices of fresh bananas and whipped cream.

While the name might make you think this dessert is full with banana flavor, there’s really just a hint of it from the fresh slices of banana. It’s just enough to give it a subtle, delicious banana flavor.

image of a banana pudding layer cake that's been cut into to show it's delicious banana pudding filling

Banana Pudding Cake Ingredients & Substitutions:

This banana cake recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand.

I’ve also got you covered if you have food allergies or restrictions. Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make:

  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten-free flour blend if needed.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Brown Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of the cake layers.
  • Eggs – If you have an egg allergy you can try using a vegan egg replacer.
  • Sour Cream – You can also use full fat yogurt, buttermilk, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Canola or even sunflower oil would work great.
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – I use the canned kind, but if you have a dairy allergy you can make your own vegan condensed milk.
  • Vanilla Pudding Mix – Any vanilla pudding mix should work for this! Just be sure to get a 3.4 oz. sized box.
  • Vanilla Wafers – I use mini Nilla wafers because they’re easier to cut up but any brand or even vegan vanilla wafers will work great.
  • Whipped Topping – I like to use cool whip to keep things simple, but you can also whip up a batch of stabilized whipped cream if you feel like it.
  • Slices Bananas – Fresh sliced bananas are a non-negotiable in this recipe. Use large, ripe bananas. The riper the banana, the more flavor it’ll add to this cake!
image of ingredients laid out to make a banana pudding trifle

Tips for Filling this Banana Pudding Cake

Whenever you fill a cake with a soft filling, it’s important to assemble the cake in a way that will keep all that delicious filling place.

The secret to doing this is to a pipe buttercream ring around each cake layer. The frosting acts as a dam and keeps everything place as you crumb coat and frost your cake.

image of a banana layer cake being filled with banana pudding to make a banana pudding layer cake

It’s super helpful to chill the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes after adding each layer of filling.

This helps those buttercream rings stay in place ever better and prevents any sliding that can happen when crumb coating a cake like this.

Making this Banana Pudding Cake in Different Sizes

I use 8″ cake pans to make this cake, but this recipe can be used to make different sized cakes. You can also half or double the ingredients to make a half or double batch!

You can make four 7″ or 6″ cake layers with one batch of batter. Bake the cake layers at 350 F / 175 C for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

image of a banana pudding layer cake that's been cut into to show it's delicious banana pudding filling

Use one batch of batter to make one 9×13-inch sheet cake. Bake it at 350 F / 175 C for 40-50 minutes and use flower nails or heating cores to help the cake bake evenly.

You can also use this recipe to make a Bundt cake. Bake time can vary based on the size and type of pan you use and range from 45-75 minutes.

I recommend using a toothpick to test for doneness. Check on it every 5-10 minutes once it’s baked for 45 minutes.

The final variation of this recipe is cupcakes!! This recipe makes about 36 regular sized cupcakes. Fill 3/4 full and bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Tips for Making the Best Banana Pudding Cake

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t over-mix your batter! Stir until the flour is just incorporated.
  • Bang your pans on the counter before baking them to help release any air bubbles that might be trapped in the cake batter.
  • Don’t level your cake layers until they have completely cooled to room temperature.
  • Pipe a ring of buttercream around each cake layer before adding the banana pudding filling. It will help keep all that delicious goodness in place.
  • Use leftover pudding to make mini banana pudding cups! Layer pudding, chopped vanilla wafers, banana slices and whipped cream in 8 oz. cups for a quick and delicious snack.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency. This will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, read my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might’ve gone awry.
image of a cross section of a banana pudding cake showing it's layers of banana cake and banana pudding filling

Making this Cake in Advance and Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a month or the freezer for 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • You can also make the vanilla pudding up to a week in advance if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for a week. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think

If you make this banana pudding layer cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets so I can see your beautiful creations.

Other Recipes You Might Like

Yield: 24

Banana Pudding Layer Cake

image of a banana pudding layer cake that's been cut into to show it's delicious banana pudding filling

This banana pudding layer cake tastes exactly like your favorite dessert! It’s made with tender banana cake layers, fluffy vanilla buttercream, and filled with vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and homemade whipped cream.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 57 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Pudding

  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup cold water (240g)
  • 1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding

Banana Cake Layer Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas - about 3 large bananas (375g)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (8g)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (390g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (4g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (6g)
  • 1 tsp salt (6g)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (170g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (150g)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (155g)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream, room temperature (380g)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil (30g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8g)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (454g)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (875g)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream or whipping cream (30g)

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped vanilla wafers
  • 2 large bananas, sliced
  • 8 oz. container of whipped topping
  • yellow sprinkle blend (optional)

Instructions

Vanilla Pudding

  1. Make the vanilla pudding first, because it needs a few hours to set.
  2. Pour the sweetened condensed milk and cold water into a large bowl. Whisk together until combined.
  3. Add in the vanilla pudding mix and whisk until smooth.
  4. Cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge to set for a couple hours, or overnight. This recipe makes about 3 cups of pudding, and you'll only need about 1 cup to fill the cake. I recommend using the leftover pudding to make mini banana pudding cups.

Banana Cake Layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line 3 round 7-inch or 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Use a fork or mixer to mash the bananas with the lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed (about 2 minutes). The mixture should become lighter in color. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  5. Mix in the eggs one at a time, at a medium speed until combined.
  6. Add in half the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated on a low speed.
  7. Mix in the sour cream and mashed bananas on a medium-low speed, then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients until combined. The batter will be on the thick side, but that's exactly how it should be!
  8. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 26-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then flip them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Level with a serrated knife once they've fully cooled and set aside. If making these in advance, level the layers them wrap and freeze them.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  1. As the cake layers cool cools, make the vanilla buttercream.
  2. Beat 2 cups of butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment or hand mixer, until smooth.
  3. Mix in 1 Tbsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp salt on a low speed.
  4. Slowly mix in 7 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Halfway through mixing, add in 2 Tbsp of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  5. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting seems too thick, add in more heavy cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
  6. Place half of the buttercream in a large piping fit with a large round tip then set aside.
  7. Cover the remaining frosting with plastic wrap to prevent crusting.

Assembling this Banana Pudding Cake

  1. Stack and frost the banana cake layers on a greaseproof cake board using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Spread an even layer of vanilla buttercream on top of the first cake layer. Pipe a thick ring (I like to make two passes) around the cake layer to act as a frosting dam to keep the banana pudding in place.
  3. Carefully spread 1/2 cup of vanilla pudding inside the frosting ring. Place a layer of banana slices on top of the pudding, then sprinkle 3/4 cup of the chopped vanilla wafers on top of the banana slices. Spread about 1 cup of whipped topping over the wafers, then chill the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will help keep the cake layers in place and prevent the cake layers from sliding as you assemble the next layer.
  4. Add the next cake layer and repeat the process.
  5. Spread a thin coat of vanilla buttercream around the cake using a large offset spatula and smooth using a bench scraper. This crumb coat will keep all those pesky crumbs in place and make sure our second layer of frosting turns out perfect.
  6. Color your remaining buttercream yellow with gel food coloring and spread an even layer around the cake. Smooth it with a bench scraper or icing comb, then decorate as desired! I added a yellow sprinkle blend around the base of the cake and piped some buttercream dollops and swirls in a ring on top of the cake.

Notes

Note: This recipe can be made with a stand mixer or hand hand mixer. I like to use the paddle attachment when making the batter and frosting, but you can also use a whisk attachment or a large bowl and hand mixer.

Tips for Making the Best Banana Pudding Cake

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t over-mix your batter, stir until the flour is just combined.
  • Bang your pans on the counter before baking them to help release any air bubbles that might be trapped in the cake batter.
  • Don't level and torte your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
  • Pipe a ring of buttercream around each cake layer before adding the banana pudding filling. It will act as a frosting dam and keep all that delicious filling in place.
  • Use leftover pudding to make mini banana pudding cups! Layer pudding, chopped vanilla wafers, banana slices and whipped cream in 8 oz. cups for a quick and delicious snack.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency. This will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, read my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might've gone awry.

Making This Cake in Advance and Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • You can also make the vanilla pudding up to a week in advance if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 463Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 86mgSodium 231mgCarbohydrates 61gFiber 1gSugar 48gProtein 4g

Abby

Saturday 16th of October 2021

The ingredient list for the cake has canola oil and vanilla listed, but then it’s not listed in the recipe. I’ve made the cake and already and just realized this without adding either one ? Is canola oil necessary?

Erica

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

@Abby, my cakes are in the oven now and I just realized the same thing! It smells good so hopefully it takes good as well. How did yours taste?

Natalie

Sunday 12th of September 2021

Made this this weekend, so delicious! I had never made a decorated/filled layer cake before, your technique posts and detailed instructions were so helpful.

Shannon

Saturday 4th of September 2021

Omg! Made this tonight.... so good!!

Vivian Brown

Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Hello.

Can you freeze these cakes? For 3 or 4 days ahead of time? I wasn’t sure because of the banana. Will it hold up?

Vivian Brown

Friday 21st of August 2020

Hi Chels Do you think I could make 2 cakes from this batter? 2 of the 6 inch 3 layer cakes? Thank you. I’m terrible at figuring out how to adjust the recipe to fit what I need.

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