It’s finally baking weather again, and I’m kicking it off with this glorious Banana Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce. That’s right, it’s a banana cake, not a banana bread, and with that silky golden caramel sauce draped all over, it is soooo decadent.
I’ve tinkered with this recipe on and off for the past year, usually when I noticed a bunch of bananas turning black on the kitchen counter. Then last week my son bought two dozen bananas for a prank he was going to play on a friend, but he promptly forgot all about them.
Well, we all know what you do when life gives you lemons — you make homemade lemonade. (Or grab a bottle of vodka and invite your friends over for Lemondrop shots. I won’t judge.)
But when life gives you two dozen bananas? Make this Banana Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce. Make several and freeze them — they’ll still be moist and delicious when you defrost and serve them.
Banana Bundt Cake With Caramel Sauce
I imagine you could make this in a regular cake pan, or even loaf pans, but I haven’t tried it. I bought a Bundt pan last year to try this recipe for roasting chicken (which is delicious, by the way). Then I tried a few other ways to use a bundt pan, too. But mostly I used it to work on this recipe.
As with all cake recipes, you want to start with room temperature ingredients, so pull your butter, eggs, and milk out a good 30-60 minutes before you’re ready to start. If you’re the kind of person who stashes overly ripe bananas in the freezer to use later, defrost them in a bowl on the counter the night before.
Why room temperature? Because mixing ingredients at that temperature turns them into an emulsion which traps air. Once your recipe goes into the oven, the trapped air turns into bubbles which create a light and fluffy end product. So, unless a cake recipe calls explicitly for cold ingredients, let them warm up before you start cooking!
For the same reason, you want to puree that banana until it is silky smooth. I used a hand blender, but you could use a regular blender or even a food processor if that’s what you have.
Combining the banana and egg mix with room temperature milk and vanilla in the bowl is so much easier when the ingredients are at room temperature. Don’t cut this step short: you want to get all of the lumps out before you add the dry ingredients.
Separate Dry and Wet Ingredients
Be sure to combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding them. Yes, this makes another dish to wash, but it’s an important step. You want those dry ingredients well-mixed before you add them to the wet ones, so you don’t overwork the batter. Overworked batter leads to a tougher end product, and we don’t want that.
Once you stir the wet and dry ingredients together, mix them only until they’re just combined. Since you’ve ensured the bananas don’t have chunks, and your dry ingredients are already well-stirred, reaching the silky stage takes maybe 30 seconds.
This batter is a bit thicker than most cake batters, and that’s fine: you’re looking for a pound cake-like texture at the end.
Tap the Pan After Filling
As you can see, this recipe only fills my Bundt pan halfway because it’s a ginormous 15-cup thing that’s perfect for roasting a chicken or making a Bundt cake big enough to feed a football team. Be sure to grease or butter your pan well, even if it’s a nonstick one like mine. Maybe not put so much grease as I did in there — I got a little spray happy, I guess.
Oh, and before popping it into a 350°F / gas mark 4 / 180°C / moderate oven, bang the bottom of the filled pan a few times on the counter to settle the dough.
Don’t Skip the Cooling
Bake just until the edges begin to turn a lovely dark golden brown, roughly 25-30 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out without batter clinging to it.
Let the cake cool in the pan roughly 20 minutes then carefully turn it onto a plate and up-end that onto a baking rack to cool. If the cake sticks at all, you can loosen it by gently sliding a soft rubber spatula between the cake and the pan. While the cake cools, it’s time to make the lovely yet easy caramel sauce.
Don’t Stir the Sauce!
Making Caramel Sauce is a breeze. You don’t even have to stir it! I mean that: do NOT mix it while it cooks on the stove, just swirl the pan every few seconds. You’ll see the sugar start to liquefy at first, and then it begins turning a light brown color. Keep swirling. After three or four minutes it’ll reach a lovely dark amber, and that’s when you want to pull it off of the stove.
Finishing the Sauce
Have the other batch of pureed banana and butter ready to add to the sauce as soon as it comes off the heat. Immediately stir these into the caramel. It might sizzle a bit, and that’s fine — keep stirring until you’ve got it all mixed into a luxurious blend. If it’s lumpy at all, you can put it back on the burner for 10 seconds or so then use a whisk or stick blender to get rid of lumps.
Sauce Then Sauce Again
Pour half the still-warm sauce on your thoroughly cooled cake, drizzling it side to side, so you cover as much of the surface as possible. Now here’s the hard part: wait 30 minutes to let that sauce soak in, then pour the rest on before serving. (If you’re freezing the cake for future serving, wrap it in aluminum foil now then wrap it a second time in cling wrap.)
Ice Cream is Optional!
This photo caused quite a kerfluffle with a Facebook friend who commented, “Needs ice cream.” He’s wrong, but he usually is about such things. This cake is everything you want in a dessert: moist, tender, delicious and decadent. I like it with a cup of tea or coffee, but my son says it’s fantastic with a cold glass of milk, too.
Either way, one thing we can agree on is that Banana Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce is an excellent response when life gives you bananas!
Banana Bundt Cake With Caramel Sauce
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- 2 medium very ripe bananas peeled
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose white flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
For the sauce:
- 1 medium very ripe banana peeled
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp butter softened
- 1 vanilla bean sliced lengthwise
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. Butter a Bundt pan very well and set it aside.
Make the cake:
- Cream the butter, sugar, and Kosher salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate container, puree the bananas until smooth. Add eggs and blend well.
- Beat the banana-egg mixture into the creamed butter until well-combined. Add vanilla and milk to the bowl and continue blending until fully incorporated.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder/bicarbonate of soda, and cinnamon. Stir together until uniformly distributed.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, blending until just combined into a silken smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Knock the bottom of the pan on the counter a couple of times to settle the batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes (checking after 20) until the edges are dark golden and the cake passes the toothpick test. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes then turn it onto a baking rack to continue cooling.
Make the sauce:
- Puree the banana until completely smooth.
- Add sugar, water, and cinnamon to a medium-sized saucepan with a heavy bottom. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the pan and toss the bean pod in as well. DO NOT STIR.
- Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, swirling every few seconds. DO NOT STIR. Continue cooking and swirling until the sugar liquefies and turns a dark golden brown. Remove from heat and use a fork to fish the vanilla bean pod out of the caramel.
- Add the banana puree and butter to the warm sauce and quickly stir until fully combined and smooth. If there are lumps of butter you can put the pan over low heat for a few seconds before stirring again. If there are lumps of banana, use a stick blender or whisk to dissolve them.
- Pour half of the warm caramel sauce over the cake and wait 30 minutes for it to absorb. Pour the remaining caramel sauce over the cake and serve.