Each year, around Easter, I start to get a hankering for this dessert. It’s happened the last handful of years, which is peculiar to me, because I can only remember eating it once or twice ever, and that was at least 10 or 15 years ago. For some reason, it has stuck in my mind and I associate it with Easter. It’s quite possible that my mom made it for an Easter dessert a couple of years in a row, and then moved on to something else. I don’t have a solid explanation for my fascination with it (other than memories of it being amazing, of course), but year after year, it pops into my head like clockwork. A couple of weeks ago I finally remembered to ask my mom if she had the recipe for the “banana split dessert thing” that she made a long time ago, and she was able to dig it up for me. It took me approximately 2.2 seconds to assemble what I needed and get cracking on it. I didn’t need a holiday or any other excuse to make this beauty, a random Tuesday was good enough for me!
First things first, let me break this dessert down for you. Most importantly – it’s entirely no-bake. Absolutely no oven time is required, which makes it perfect for the summer when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen, and also perfect for when you need a quick dessert that you can throw together in very little time. Poof! Done! Now, for the layers… It starts off with a graham cracker crust, topped with a cream cheese-mousse, and then layers of banana, pineapple, strawberries, and finally whipped cream, nuts, chocolate, and cherries on top! Talk about the ultimate banana split.
Now, a strange thing happened when I ran through the recipe the first time, and I had to do a double take. The layer above the graham cracker frosting consisted of butter, powdered sugar, and 2 eggs. EXCEPT… the eggs weren’t heated like a custard, and this dessert isn’t baked, so they’re just in there, raw. ::shudder:: I couldn’t do it, so after thinking through some workarounds, including a pastry cream layer or something like a pudding, I finally decided to use the filling from another of my favorite old-school desserts – the Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I went full steam ahead with that, and it works absolutely brilliantly in this recipe.
Don’t wait for a special reason to make this dessert, and certainly don’t wait years in between. Any ordinary day is special enough for this easy-peasy banana split dessert. And I guarantee it will make you feel like a kid again!
No-Bake Banana Split Cake Dessert
Yield: 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Cream Cheese Layer:
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
8 ounces COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
For the Fruit & Toppings:
3 to 4 bananas, sliced
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well
16 ounces strawberries, hulled, and sliced
8 ounces COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, stirring until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while you prepare the next layer.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the COOL WHIP until thoroughly combined. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the graham cracker crust.
4. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on top of the cream cheese filling, top with an even layer of the crushed pineapple, and then an even layer of the sliced strawberries.
5. Cover with the COOL WHIP, smoothing the top. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts, then drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with maraschino cherries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received coupons for free COOL WHIP Whipped Topping and a stipend. Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content.
What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms