Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Banana Split Cake

When I asked my mom what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, she said, half joking, "How about a banana split cake?"I accepted the challenge, and began drawing up my plans. It would be a magnificent bundt cake, with ice cream and banana slices in the middle, whipped cream frosting, and beautiful pieces of strawberry and pineapple overflowing from the center. A strawberry syrup drizzle, a split banana, and a maraschino cherry topped it off perfectly.

Little did I know that this cake would live up to its name and become a true Banana Split Cake...

All was going well. I had baked and cooled the cake, cut it in half, and cut out a bit of the center to make room for bananas and ice cream. I carefully placed my banana slices and spread the ice cream onto each half of the cake. I tried to move the bottom half of the cake (the hollowed out half) onto a glass pie plate. I picked it up and placed it on the pie dish... which was too small for the cake. It broke into three pieces, and ice cream leaked everywhere (by now it was starting to melt, which was why I had tried to move it as quickly as possible so I could get it back in the freezer). After a brief meltdown on my part (get it, meltdown? okay, bad joke), during which my mom saved the day by putting the cake on a plate that was actually big enough for it, I pushed the three pieces together, fixed the ice cream, and quickly put it in the freezer. By the time it came out of the freezer the next morning, the ice cream had melted into the cracks and acted as a glue, and it was like a whole cake again. By the time I frosted and decorated it, it was almost unnoticeable (until trying to cut it) that it had broken.

This would be just as good (maybe even better) made with banana cake, but my mother requested a plain ol' vanilla cake instead. I went with a pound cake from Allrecipes that seemed light, but not too spongy to hold the ice cream, and said it freezes well. It was a great cake for this purpose, although I should have decreased the temperature and baked it longer to avoid the dark, crispy crust that formed on the outside.

Banana Split Cake

1 Pound cake (I used this one)
Whipped Cream Frosting (I used this one)
Vanilla ice cream
4 to 5 bananas
1-1/2 pints strawberries
Fresh pineapple (canned would also work if necessary)
Maraschino cherry (or cherries), if desired
Chocolate syrup, if desired

  1. Bake pound cake, let cool completely on wire rack. Cut in half, and cut out a chunk from the bottom half, about 1/2 inch deep. Be sure to leave at least 1/2 inch around the edges so that the cake will stay sturdy and together. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place ice cream in the fridge to soften.
  2. Slice up 3 or 4 bananas into slices of even thickness. Dip/soak banana slices in the juice from the pineapple (this prevents browning). Carefully place half of the banana slices in the hollowed-out part of the bottom half of the cake. Spread a thin layer of ice cream on the top half of the cake, and place banana slices on top of that. Spread a thicker layer of ice cream on the bottom half, on top of the banana slices and also around the edges, even with the rest. This will help glue the top and bottom halves together. Re-wrap and freeze each half for about 20 minutes. 
  3. Very carefully flip the top half onto the bottom half (I actually put it on the lid of a large pot to help keep it even and steady while turning it over, and I kept the plastic wrap gently folded over the banana slices to help keep them in place, then slid the plastic wrap out gently after flipping.) Readjust banana slices if necessary, and add more if there are uneven spots.
  4. Wrap tightly and freeze for several hours or overnight.
  5. Rinse, core, and chop about 1/4 to 1/2 pint of strawberries, place in a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp. cornstarch, and cook over very low heat, stirring often, until it forms a thick strawberry syrup (adding more cornstarch or sugar if necessary to thicken it). Strain syrup into a bowl or cup. Eat the strawberry pieces ;)
  6. Cut up strawberries and pineapple, and mix in a bowl.
  7. Make your frosting.
  8. Take the cake out of the freezer. Quickly frost it. At this point I put it back in the freezer because we weren't ready to eat it yet, but you can proceed without re-freezing if you are ready to serve. Drizzle with strawberry syrup (and chocolate syrup, if using). Fill the center of the bundt with your chopped fruit. "Split" your last banana, and place each half on either side of the fruit. Perch a maraschino cherry in the center.
  9. Once the cake has thawed enough, cut it, serve, and enjoy! Serve with extra fruit (it won't all fit in the center of the cake).

As with all ice cream cakes, be sure to serve and eat it quickly once it has thawed enough to cut, and put any uneaten portion back in the freezer immediately so the ice cream doesn't melt.

Slightly mangled... but no less tasty. Can you see the ice cream and banana slices in the middle? They're kind of hard to see because they're the same color as the cake, but they are there!

Look at that beautiful mess. =) Like a true banana split.


Galexi Cupcakes said...

That is a great looking cake. Yum!!

Lisa said...

Mmm, that cake just looks fantastic! I bet it was super delicious. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cake up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/02/sweets-for-saturday-5.html

Meaghan Luby said...

beautiful mess is a perfect description of a b.split! yummm! glad to have found your blog!
@ http://www.clutzycooking.blogspot.com
@ http://www.myscribblednotebook.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

that was a challenge well done! happy birthday to ur mom!