I found the recipe for this Banana Split Cake from an old Better Homes and Gardens magazine where they took retro BHG recipes and remade and reshot them to see if they were still relevant (and still worked). It was a fun concept because the original photograph was amazing. The styling and lighting was something right out of the 1970’s, which makes sense because that’s when it was taken. Anyhow, I loved the idea of a cake that tasted like a banana split, so I was determined to give it a go. If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve seen that I flopped the first attempt. I followed the recipe step by step, but something went wrong. It just didn’t come out right. The layers weren’t distinct and the cake was really tough and dry. I was devastated because I was so excited for this recipe and I obviously lost my touch and I really hate failing at things. I tossed the cake and tried it all over again the next day. I realized when I was preparing the chocolate and strawberry layer the first time around, I over-mixed the batter hence why it became to dense. So I changed the original recipe a tad to ensure that the second round was a bit more successful. I remade it and hit the nail on the coffin because the cake is amazing. I got over the fact that I had failed the first attempt, and have come to the conclusion that I need a few mishaps like these every now and then, only to humble me and make me a better baker/cook. What else can we do? Just gotta keep trying and never give up. Lucky for us we now have a great cake to enjoy.
Let’s start by making the cake batter that’s the base for the entire cake. We’re then going to take portions of this batter and “tint” it with strawberry and chocolate to prevent us from making three different cake batters. So to start, let’s whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and best you can. You want it as least chunky as possible.
**Note: You want ripe bananas for this because they mash up easier, are sweeter, and have a more pronounced banana flavor. I know this, but I don’t really like super ripe bananas, so I always look for them only very slightly ripe. But you do whatever you want or have on hand when it comes to the bananas.**
Stir in the sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Set aside, along with the dry ingredients. We’ll use them in a second.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add in the dry ingredients, alternating between the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry.
**Note: At this point you don’t want to over-mix the batter. So it’s crucial to mix until just combined after each addition.**
Take a cup of the batter and gently fold in the strawberry preserves and a couple drops of red food coloring until evenly combined. Portion out another cup of the original batter and set aside. Then take half of the remaining original batter and pour into a greased bundt or tube pan and spread out evenly. Dollop with the strawberry batter and spread out somewhat. The strawberry batter doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth.
Pour the remaining original batter on top of the strawberry and spread out evenly. In a medium bowl, stir together cocoa powder, milk and sugar until a thick paste forms. Then fold this chocolate mixture into the reserved cup of batter. Sorry, I know it seems complicated. Dollop the chocolate batter on top and spread out somewhat. Again, the chocolate batter doesn’t have to be smooth.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack, before inverting onto a plate or platter to cool down completely.
**Note: I had to make this recipe twice because I messed up the first cake. I over mixed it and it was dry and tough. I also couldn’t find my bundt cake pan the first time around and so I had to use a tube pan. When I remade the cake, I fixed a few of the problems of the original and then actually found my bundt pan!**
Make the chocolate ganache by pouring hot cream over chocolate, butter and a pitch of salt. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes and then stir until melted through. Drizzle over the top of the baked cake. Allow it to set before slicing and serving.
Because this is supposed to taste like a banana split, I like to serve the sliced cake with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a cherry and a sprinkling of chopped nuts, just like you would a banana split.
**Tip: You can also serve it with sliced fresh bananas to really hone in on that banana split flavor!**
The cake is best when eaten the day you make it, but I know that it’s a giant cake so if you do happen to have leftovers, wrap it up in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Ultimately, it was worth the struggle and I’m so glad I finally got it right because it really is a great cake. You’re going to love it, as much as I do. I know this as fact. If you’re wanting another banana split type of cake, make sure you check out this frozen treat!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 medium bananas, mashed
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup strawberry preserves
- couple drops red color coloring
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- fresh whipped cream
- maraschino cherries
- chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, sour cream, milk and vanilla. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar on high, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the wet ingredients, making sure to start and end with the dry. Mix just until combined, after each addition.
- Remove about 1 cup of batter into a small bowl and gently fold in the strawberry preserves and food coloring until well combined. Try not to over mix it.
- In another small bowl, stir together the cocoa, sugar and milk until a thick paste is formed. Remove another 1 cup of original batter and fold it into the chocolate mixture.
- Pour half of the remaining original batter into the prepared bundt pan, spreading it evenly. Then dollop the strawberry batter on top, only spreading somewhat. Pour the remaining original batter onto and spread out evenly. Then dollop the chocolate batter on top of that. Give the pan a few taps on the counter to even it all out.
- Bake until a toothpick, inserted in the middle, comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a plate or platter and allow to cool completely, about 2 hours.
- To make the ganache topping, pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan and set over low heat and bring to a simmer. In a medium bowl, pour in the chocolate chips, butter and salt. Once the heavy cream has heated through, pour over the chocolate and let sit, untouched, about 10 minutes. Stir until melted through and glossy. Drizzle the ganache over the cake. Cut and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, cherries and chopped nuts. Leftover cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Enjoy!