Today, we’re making Banana Shortcake!
Consider this semi-homemade dessert the summery love child of banana’s foster, banana pudding, and shortcut shortcake all wrapped up into one EPIC dessert. This was a big winner on my Memorial Day table, and I have a feeling it’s going to pretty much win the whole summer.
So, let’s get to it!
There are four basic layers to this dessert. We have a cake layer, a pudding layer, a caramel banana layer, and a whipped cream layer. That may sound complex, but I promise you that it’s not at all!
For our cake layer, we’re going to use store bought dessert cups. You can find these little sponge cake cups right in the produce section of the grocery store. Growing up, these cups are what my mom used to make strawberry shortcake; and I truly had no idea that that wasn’t how it was actually done. They’re just a simple, spongy, yellow cake at heart, but they come with a little well right in the center perfect for filling with all the things.
For our pudding layer, we’re letting the grocery store do most of the work here too! We need plain ol’ vanilla pudding, and you can go about the pudding layer one of two ways. You can buy already prepared vanilla pudding…you know, the kind that comes in the little plastic containers that were just made for packing in lunchboxes. Or, you can use a boxed instant pudding that you mix up yourself. I actually like to use the boxed pudding, because I can choose the milk that I use to prepare it. (I like to use 1% milk, and it mixes up just fine!) There are also ways to make instant pudding with dairy free milk, so you get some more options going that route.
For our banana layer, we’re going to slice up some bananas and saute them in a skillet for just a few minutes with a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Now, a few things to note on the bananas. We want to use a ripe banana, but we still want it to have a little firmness to it. We also don’t want to slice the bananas too thin. Since these are going to cook for a couple minutes, we want our banana slices to be able to stand up to some heat without turning to mush. Another thing to note, though the sauce uses the same basic flavors as a caramel, we’re not actually going to cook the sugar mixture that far. It’ll be more of a sauce than a thick caramel.
For our last and final layer, we’re going to make a super fast vanilla bean whipped cream. All we need is some heavy cream, some powdered sugar, and some vanilla bean paste. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, add in the sugar and vanilla, whip it until stiff peaks, and BAM…vanilla bean whipped cream. Now, if you wanted to use a store bought canned whipped cream or even a non dairy whipped topping, would I judge you? Absolutely not. This dessert is meant to be simple and stress free! So, go for those extra shortcuts if you need to.
When it’s time to serve, we’re going to fill the dessert cup with pudding, top the pudding with our syrupy banana mix, then give it a swirl of our homemade whipped cream. That’s it! It’s ready to serve!
I may be biased, but there is something magical about this dessert. Between the nostalgic components of the cake cups and the creamy pudding plus the more modern elements of the sauteed bananas and whipped cream, each bite is such a home run. It’s sweet and creamy. It’s rich and decadent. And, you can whip up a whole big batch for less than $10.
See why this is easily going to become the dessert of the summer?
And probably of the future!
Okie dokes, everyone! I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one! Make sure you tag me on social media when you make it. Ya girl is on Tiktok now too, so there are lots of places to show your work!
I hope you guys enjoy. And, let’s eat!!
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Salt, to taste
- 2 bananas, sliced
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 6 dessert shells
- ½ cup prepared vanilla pudding
- Prepare the bananas: Melt butter in a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a little pinch of salt. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 mins until the mix starts to thicken. Add bananas, and simmer and additional 2-3 mins. Remove from heat, and cool slightly.
- Make the whipped cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add heavy cream. Whisk on high for 1-2 mins until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste. Whisk on high for about another minute until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Assemble the Shortcakes: Place dessert shells on serving platter. Fill each center cavity with vanilla pudding. Top with banana mix, evenly divided between the shells. Finish with a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.
- *Dessert shells are the little sponge cake cups that you can get in the produce section of the grocery store.
- *For the pudding, you can make instant pudding (we need about half of a small box of pudding) or you can buy already prepared pudding.
- *We want the bananas to be ripe, but not too ripe. They should still have some nice firmness so the bananas don’t become mush when we cook them.
- *You can also use a hand mixer to whip the cream if you don’t want to break out the stand mixer. It will just take a few extra minutes to whip up. Chill your bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10-15 mins before whipping to help speed the process along.