It was a birthday that will be hard to forget – at least the cake part. At the time, I was probably about 12, and Mom had given me permission to make my own birthday cake… and it was fun… and funny to some. I chose to make what is called a Banana Pudding Cake. It was supposed to be made in a 13×9 pan, with the pudding put on top, and served with whipped topping… a nice, cool, and creamy kind-of cake. But, instead of having a cake in a 13×9, I wanted to have it be a layer cake – with three layers. So that’s what we did.

Well, the cake was in the oven, and everything seemed to be going very well. The aroma of a cake baking in the oven is something that I find hard to compare to anything else. Its just so, ummm, inviting… and it smells so good…nay, scrumptious. Anyway, I continued following the recipe. Now was the time to mix up the pudding. Put the pudding in the pot, pour in the milk, add the butter, stir in the vanilla… the project was going very well. But, then I realized that the pudding wasn’t thickening, and I wanted to use it as a frosting, not a glaze. Some observers came in about then, and willingly offered to taste-test it for me, just in case I had forgotten anything. (We even thought about adding cornstarch to it, but I guess if we had, it wouldn’t have produced quite the same memory, so I’m glad we didn’t.) But the good news was that the general vote was that it was really good.

So, the cake came out of the oven, and after it cooled, I layered it with the pudding mixture. Cake, pudding, cake, pudding, cake, pudding… it was all on… temporarily… that’s when the sliding began. There’s nothing quite like seeing a freshly baked cake sliding all over a plate while you’re trying to assemble it. We did our best to get it to “stand” still long enough to put it in the fridge.

Upon delivering it to the table after a delicious supper, it looked rather interesting, to say the least. I think Daddy was expecting it to be a normal birthday cake… but no, it definitely was not. If I recall correctly, it was still slipping and sliding around on the plate, pudding and bananas oozing out the sides, requiring extra caution, especially during transport.

It was dished up, and there was quite the discussion going on over this new invention, and it was an invention, because I’m sure no one had ever done this recipe that way before. It was a humorous desert to behold, that’s for sure. Daddy affectionately called it “Banana Flop Cake” – that gives an idea of what it looked like. Thankfully,it tasted really good, and ever since that night, there has been a frequent request to make it again. It turned out to be one of the most wonderful tasting messes ever imaginable!

Finally, we made it again today; this time we did it according to the recipe and made it in a 13×9 pan. Everything was going really well. And once again the wonderful aroma was filling the kitchen. Ahhhh, it smelled so good! Then, Beep, Beep, Beep… the timer was ringing, so I opened the oven, and to my surprise, the cake had risen over the edge of the pan! How was I supposed to put the pudding mixture on top of that, especially with it runny enough to get all over the counter?!?! I ended up dumping it, upside down, into a 15×11 pan, and then drizzling the pudding over it. It was delicious, and thoroughly enjoyed. And, even though this time it looked nice, it still will always have the name of “Banana Flop Cake.”  Ahhhh, memories!

Sometimes God gives us something to do and we just make a total mess of it. However, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” He can take our mess and turn it into something desirable – a ministry opportunity, a life lesson, an example or encouragement to others – which shows His sovereignty and grace, making something beautiful out of our disaster and bringing glory to Himself!!

Lessons to be learned:

  • Be careful when altering recipes – you never know what may happen!
  • Don’t give up, even when you make a mess twice!
  • Make sure you laugh when life sends cake in unusual ways! 🙂


Oh… I guess you were probably waiting for the recipe. So, here it is… and think about us if you make it… and enjoy!


Banana Pudding Cake (aka “Banana Flop Cake”)


  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 15×11 baking dish; set aside.

Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low for 1 minute. Stop mixer, scrape sides of bowl, then continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Batter should be thick and well-blended. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it out with rubber spatula. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and place it on wire rack to cool.

  • 1 large package  vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut up
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sliced bananas (about 3 large)

While cake is baking, prepare the pudding. Place pudding mix and milk in a medium saucepan. Fold in butter and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring, until butter melts (about 3-4 minutes).Remove pan from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Fold in banana slices.

To prepare cake, spoon pudding over cooled cake, making sure all edges are covered. Optional: Serve with whipped topping and/or crushed vanilla wafer cookies sprinkled over the top. Refrigerate cake, loosely covered for up to 3 days.

Jessi’s version:

  • Use two small boxes pudding mix instead of 1 large – makes it a little bit thicker, and I used 1 vanilla and 1 banana cream.
  • We think its best served cold, but the recipe says to serve at room temperature. Follow your taste buds.
  • You could try it in a 13×9, or in 3  9-inch round cake pans; I personally think it would do best in the 15×11. *grin*
  • We didn’t have any whipped topping, so we just served it with a can of whipped cream, which is Dad’s personal favorite. 100_3288