Banana Split Cake! Layers of banana cake and vanilla buttercream, with pineapple and strawberry fillings, all topped off with a silky dark chocolate ganache, sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries. A layer cake recipe by our contributor, Olivia Bogacki.
Hellooo Summer!! Is 2016 totally flying by, or is it just me? I know it’s not technically summer everywhere (Hi Australia!) and some places have summer all year round, but here on the west coast we’re definitely kicking it into summer mode.
Remember summer vacation as a kid? Was that not the best thing ever? Not a care in the world, just two months of pure unbridled summer joy. I grew up in the 80’s, so my summer memories consist of: camping almost every single weekend with my cousin, playing outside until 10pm because the sun was still out (the best), crazy summer thunderstorms (I grew up in Edmonton, where they were plentiful), and, of course, copious amounts of ice cream to help beat the heat.
In keeping with last month’s trend of making desserts into cakes, this month I bring you the Banana Split Cake! Layers of banana cake and vanilla buttercream, with pineapple and strawberry fillings, all topped off with a silky dark chocolate ganache, sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries.
I think I’ve actually only had a banana split ONCE in my life. Crazy, right? I’m pretty sure it was at Dairy Queen back in those perfect 1980’s summer days. If you’re not familiar with the banana split, you should really seek to amend that as soon as possible, and then try this cake! A banana split usually consists of three scoops of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) served side by side in a long boat-like dish accompanied by a whole split banana along the sides. It’s often topped with pineapple, strawberry, and chocolate sauces, sprinkles, whipped cream, nuts, and a maraschino cherry. Tell me that doesn’t sound like pure heaven. Well, minus the maraschino cherry for me, you can read all about my distaste for those little red guys here.
There are a lot of steps in making this cake, but I promise you they are all easy. If you’re like me, you’ll space it out over a couple days – make the cake layers and sauces on day 1, and finish everything off on day 2. I recommend this for sanity’s sake, but you can certainly do it all in one day if you’re feeling ambitious! Start with the sauces though, as they need time to cool and set.
I’m gonna go ahead and say that this Banana Split Cake is even better than the real thing because, hello, it’s a CAKE. And nothing beats a cake. Am I right?
Banana Split Cake
Banana Split Cake! Layers of banana cake and vanilla buttercream, with pineapple and strawberry fillings, all topped off with a silky dark chocolate ganache, sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries.
- Yield: one 6” cake – 10 servings
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Cake
For the Banana Cake:
- 1 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 medium bananas, mashed (approx. ¾ cup)
- ¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:
- 3 large egg whites (½ cup)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
For the Strawberry Sauce:
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Pineapple Filling:
- 14 ounces canned crushed pineapple
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 ounces heavy cream
For the Assembly:
- 2/3 cup whipping cream, cold
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- rainbow jimmies sprinkles
- maraschino cherries
Make the Banana Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 6″ round cake pans, line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
- Add sugar and beat on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until well combined.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Do not overmix.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Buttercream Frosting:
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer*, whisk until combined.
- Place bowl over a pan of simmering water to create a double-boiler. Whisking constantly, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully transfer the bowl onto the stand mixer.
- Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch and the meringue is fluffy, glossy and holds a stiff peak.
- Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly add cubed butter and mix until incorporated.
- Add vanilla and whip on medium-high until silky and smooth.
Make the Strawberry Sauce:
- Place strawberries and sugar into a medium saucepan. Cook uncovered over medium-high heat, breaking down strawberries with a wooden spoon. Cook 5-10 minutes until softened and broken down. Cool completely before using.
Make the Pineapple Sauce:
- Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan, stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 2-3 minutes until thickened. Cool completely before using.
Make the Chocolate Ganache:
- Place chopped chocolate and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Stir to combine. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between, until ganache is smooth and silky. Cool completely before using.
Assemble the Cake:
- Cut each layer of cake in half horizontally.
- Place one layer of the cake onto a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting and, using a large round tip, pipe a dam of frosting along the top to hold the filling. Place 3 tablespoons of strawberry sauce inside the dam and spread evenly.
- Top with a second layer of cake. Spread approximately ½ cup of frosting on this second layer.
- Top with a third layer of cake. Spread a thin layer of frosting and pipe a dam of frosting along the top to hold the filling. Place 3 tablespoons of pineapple filling inside the dam and spread evenly.
- Top with a fourth layer of cake. Spread approximately ½ cup of frosting on this layer.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 and crumb coat the outside leaving the sides of the cake exposed. Use a bench scraper to smooth out the sides and top of the cake. Chill for 20 minutes.
- Using a teaspoon, apply ganache near edges like so to create the drips like so. Pour some ganache to fill in the top of the cake and spread with an offset spatula.
- Sprinkle some sprinkles along the top edge and sides of the cake.
- When ready to serve, whip cream and sugar until thickened and pipeable. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
- Pipe rosettes of whipped cream and top with maraschino cherries.
- For the frosting, ensure there is NO trace of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue may not stiffen.
- Double check that your cake pans are 6 inch rounds. Using 8 inch pans will result in unusually short cake layers.
Keywords: banana split cake
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