These Mini Banana Split Cakes have an amazing caramel sauce swirled into the banana cake batter before being baked, making them that much more indulgent! Get creative with the toppings and make it your own!
Fudge saucecaramel sauce, sprinkles, and other assorted sundae toppings
3.5” round cutterI have this set, this one is another option
Small offset spatula
Cake turntableoptional, but makes decorating easier
8 3.5” cardboard rounds to assemble the cakes oncan cut from larger cake rounds or other cardboard
To Make the Banana-Caramel Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Line a half-sheet pan (a rimmed 18x13 pan) with parchment paper and spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the banana and both sugars in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix them together on medium speed until well-combined. Add the oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix again until the batter is smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour in a steady stream. When almost all of the flour streaks are gone, stop the mixer and finish by hand, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it into an even layer. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top, and swirl it gently into the batter with a knife.
Bake the cake at 350 F for about 25 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking. The cake is done when it’s golden brown and puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
To Make the Vanilla Bean Buttercream:
Combine the egg whites, granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whisk them together. Choose a small saucepan that lets you fit the base of the stand mixer snugly into the top of the saucepan—this is your makeshift hot water bath. (Alternately, you can use a different bowl or an actual bain marie and then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl once it’s heated.) Add an inch of water to the bottom of the saucepan, and bring the water to a simmer.
Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom isn’t in contact with the water, and heat the egg white mixture. Whisk frequently so that the egg whites don’t cook. Continue to heat the whites until they are hot to the touch, and when you rub a bit between your fingers, you don’t feel any grittiness from the sugar. Once the whites are hot, transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer and fit it with a whisk attachment.
Beat the whites on high speed until they are white, shiny, opaque, and very voluminous, like a very stiff meringue. They should not be warm to the touch—feel the outside of the bowl, and make sure that it is around room temperature. Depending on your mixer and the temperature of your environment, this may take 10-20 minutes, or more.
Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the softened but cool butter in small chunks, a tablespoon at a time, making sure to wait in between additions. It may separate or look a little gloopy at this point—fear not. Once all of the butter is added, increase the speed again and whip until it comes together and is light and fluffy. If, after 5 minutes, it hasn’t come together, refrigerate the mixing bowl for 5-7 minutes, to cool the mixture down, and whip it again.
Once the butter is fluffy, add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste and mix until well-blended. The buttercream can be made in advance and kept at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day, or refrigerated. If it’s been chilled, let it sit at room temperature until it softens, then re-whip it to get the fluffy texture back before you use it.
Once the cake is completely cool, cut out 16 3.5” circles from the cake. If your cutters are a bit smaller, you might be able to get 18 circles, but if you plan on assembling more than 8 cakes, you’ll need to either ration the frosting, or increase the frosting recipe a bit. Use the cookie scoop to scoop 24 balls of frosting into a separate bowl, and set aside for now. This will ensure that you have enough frosting for the ice cream decorations at the end.
Place a cake round on a cardboard circle. Top it with a few tablespoons of frosting, and spread it in an even layer out to the edges using an offset spatula. (Because there’s so much frosting on top of the cake, you’ll want to use a thin layer in the middle.) Top with another layer of cake. Cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Don’t worry about getting it too smooth, since most of the frosting will be covered by sprinkles or other toppings. Repeat until you have 8 miniature cakes assembled.
Use the cookie scoop to top each cake with three scoops of buttercream from the reserved bowl. Now for the fun part: decorating the cakes! Pour the sprinkles into shallow bowls or pie pans, and holding a cake in one hand over the bowl, press sprinkles into the side of the cake. Top the cakes with fudge sauce, caramel, fruit sauce, sprinkles, coconut, nuts, or any other toppings you want.
These cakes are best eaten soon after they are decorated, but they can be assembled in advanced and stored, undecorated, in the refrigerator for several days. Let the cakes come to room temperature before serving.
Instead of three small scoops, you can also use just one large ice cream scoop on top of each cake. Also, you’ll have copious banana cake scraps left over, and what you do with those stays behind kitchen doors. I’ve heard a rumor they’re delicious when mixed with frosting (maybe a cream cheese frosting?) and rolled into cake balls. Just saying.