Makes three 6-inch cake rounds or two 8-inch cake rounds

Every Thanksgiving, we gather as a family and have something
we like to call “Piesgiving.” We all bring a pie or two, and we
spend the afternoon sampling them. We always have quite a
variety: pumpkin, key lime, apple, dark chocolate peanut
butter, sometimes lemon meringue—and I love it when
someone brings a banana cream pie. The soft banana pudding
sits on a bed of vanilla wafer crust and is topped with a fluffy
vanilla cream topping and fresh banana slices. I mean, how
could I not turn it into a cake? Everything I love about banana
cream pie is in this cake: the vanilla wafer crust, the soft banana
pudding, sweet banana cake layers, and a soft vanilla bean
buttercream. I topped this cake off with fresh bananas, but you
could always use dried banana chips if you’re making this cake
in advance. It tastes exactly like a banana cream pie—maybe
even better!

BANANA CAKE AND VANILLA WAFER CRUST

  • 64 vanilla wafers
  • ⅛ cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. banana extract
  • 1 box white cake mix, sifted

BANANA CREAM PIE FILLING

  • 1 (3.4-oz.) banana pudding mix
  • 1½ cup cold milk

VANILLA BEAN BUTTERCREAM

  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp. banana extract (optional)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Banana Cake and Vanilla Wafer Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep cake rounds with a
    swipe of shortening and dust of flour. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the vanilla wafers and brown
    sugar together until a fine powder forms. Add in melted
    butter and pulse about 10 seconds more until everything is
    combined. Reserve ¼ cup crumble for garnish and divide
    the remaining between cake pans; pressing the crumble
    into a crust with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup. Set
    aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed ripe banana,
    vanilla, buttermilk, sour cream, egg whites, vegetable oil,
    and banana extract until thoroughly combined. Sift in the
    white cake mix and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix!
  4. Split batter between cake pans, bake for 30–32 minutes or
    until the center is completely cooked through. Don’t
    overbake. Remove cake rounds from the oven and let cool
    in cake pans for 2 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack to
    cool completely.

Banana Cream Pie Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk
    until it begins to thicken, about 3–5 minutes. Place in the
    fridge until completely set before adding as the filling to the
    cake.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle
    attachment, whip up butter until light and fluffy. Add in the
    vanilla, vanilla bean paste, salt, banana extract (optional),
    and heavy cream until combined. Scrape down the sides of
    the bowl.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar about a half cup at a time. Add
    more heavy cream if needed for a thinner consistency. Add
    in more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency. Turn
    mixer on high for about 3 minutes for a fluffier buttercream,
    then turn it down for about 30 seconds to whip out any air
    bubbles.

Assembly

  1. On a cake turntable, tape a 6-inch cardboard round on top
    of an 8-inch cardboard round. Top with a small amount of
    buttercream and spread it around to act like “glue” for
    holding the cake onto the board.
  2. Place the first cake layer down, add on a layer of
    buttercream, pipe a dam around the outside rim of the cake
    round, then add about ¼ cup banana pudding in the
    center.
  3. Place the second cake layer on top. Repeat step 2 again for
    the next buttercream layer, and then add on the top cake
    round.
  4. Crumb coat the entire cake, then place in the freezer for 10
    minutes.
  5. Add on the final layer of buttercream. Use a cake knife on
    the sides, moving upward in a pattern to create the vertical
    stripe design.
  6. Press some of the reserved crumble along the bottom of
    the cake. Using a Wilton 1M piping tip, pipe a decorative
    border along the rim of the top of the cake, then add on a
    bit of the banana pudding, some fresh banana slices (or
    dried banana chips), and a sprinkle of the reserved crumble.
    Refrigerate until serving.