Friday, June 1, 2012

Banana Split Cake

Let’s talk banana split cake!  So I made this banana split cake for my friend’s Memorial Day party, and it was definitely yummy but it had its downfalls (for me at least…my 4-year-old son said this was a definite thumbs up!)  It was a layered dessert of graham cracker crust, sliced bananas, strawberry ice cream, walnuts, homemade chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and garnishes of graham cracker crust crumbs & confetti sprinkles.  How could a dessert like that have any downfalls at all you ask?  Although it received high ratings for taste, serving this cake was easier said than done.  It was hard to scoop out of the dish because the crust and banana slices were frozen solid and it became messy the longer we kept it out to thaw the bottom.  These issues are trivial compared to the scrumptiousness of the cake though and they can easily be solved.  I’ll post some pics and explain how I’ve solved these issues.

Banana Split Pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted, plus 1/4 cup butter
4 to 5 medium bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1-1/2 quarts strawberry ice cream, softened
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping (I just made my own whipped cream & added it to top layer)

In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture, then press the remainder into the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch pan.

Place the bananas in a single layer over the crust. Spread the softened ice cream on top and smooth. Sprinkle the nuts on the ice cream, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

In a large saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup butter and stir until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and evaporated milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until slightly thickened and smooth, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool the mixture, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture over the ice cream and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.  (This chocolate sauce was amazing!  It tasted more like a chocolate-caramel sauce...I could have eaten a bowl of it by itself!  Taste aside, I made a tiny mistake at this point.  I didn't let it cool enough before pouring onto the frozen ice cream layer.  Although it was cooled for 30 min like the recipe directions state, it wasn't nearly cool enough.  At first when I began to add the sauce it was so pretty and shiny and made a great chocolate layer, but because it wasn't cool enough it immediately started melting the ice cream and swirled together...note the pic below.  So, next time I would let the ice cream freeze for 1-1/2 hours and add the sauce after its cooled for an hour.)

Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with the reserved crumbs. Freeze for at least 3-1/2 hours. Remove the dish from the freezer 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.  (Here's where it gets a bit tricky.  Leaving it out for 10 minutes did not at all work because the whole thing was still frozen solid, but at 20 minutes the top layers began to melt and the bottom layers were still frozen solid.  Next time, I'll let it thaw for about 10 minutes and then lower the bottom part into a sink of warm water to loosen up the bottom and then serve.  This should definitely work!)

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