You had to have an inkling as to what was up my sleeve this week when I added both strawberry and pineapple ice cream toppings to my collection of hot fudge and salted caramel, right? During the summer, strawberry + hot fudge + pineapple can only equal one thing – banana splits! This cake is no ordinary banana split… it’s a banana split on some serious, serious steroids. It’s a sky-high ice cream “cake” that starts with an Oreo crust, is topped with sliced bananas, strawberry ice cream, strawberry sundae topping, chocolate ice cream, hot fudge sauce, vanilla ice cream and pineapple sundae topping. Finally, it’s garnished with whipped cream, chopped walnuts and, of course, cherries. We all know that no sundae is complete without a cherry on top! It’s essentially one, big, massive banana split. Yet it’s so much better than any banana split I’ve ever seen or eaten. This could very well take the top spot as my favorite summer treat. My Chief Culinary Consultant declared it one of the best desserts I have ever made. Considering I made it twice in the span of 5 days, I’d say we had more than ample opportunity to solidify our opinions :)
I had seen a banana split ice cream cake making the rounds on the Internet since last summer, and while I loved the idea, I felt like it needed to be amped up just a teeny bit. The original version starts with an Oreo crust and bananas, topped with strawberry ice cream then moves on to a layer of hot fudge, vanilla ice cream and strawberries on top. If I was going to make a banana split ice cream cake, I wanted to go the whole nine yards and have it mimic a banana split as closely as possible. Strawberry ice cream with a strawberry topping, chocolate ice cream with hot fudge sauce, and vanilla ice cream with pineapple topping. Whipped cream, chopped nuts and cherries as garnishments were musts. The result is one absolutely phenomenal ice cream cake.
Last weekend my mom had my Chief Culinary Consultant’s parents over for dinner and I took it upon myself to figure out something for dessert. Since we were in the midst of an agonizing heat wave, I really didn’t want to bother with the oven and wanted something refreshing with lots of bright flavor. This was the perfect solution! Since I was doing everything rather last minute, that version used store-bought ingredients (I know, but sometimes life happens, and it’s good to have recipes that can accommodate last-minute decisions). Everyone loved the cake so much that a few days later I made a second version (this version) with all homemade elements. The result? A dessert I felt a lot better about, and one that my Chief Culinary Consultant declared a million times better than the first one I made. So, know that homemade ice cream and toppings can take this from wow to WOWZA, but if you are in a pinch and short on time, you could definitely create a fabulous dessert with purchased ingredients.
I guarantee this dessert will have your guests ooh’ing and aah’ing and talking about this for a long time to come. Don’t be surprised if you get requests for many repeat appearances!
Spray an 8x3-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper; set aside.
Assemble the Crust: Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs with the melted butter, tossing until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with the banana slices. Place the pan in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Assemble the Strawberry Layer: Top the banana layer with the strawberry ice cream. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Pour the strawberry topping over the strawberry ice cream and gently spread so that it covers the entire ice cream layer beneath. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until completely frozen.
Assemble the Chocolate Layer: Top the strawberry layer with the chocolate ice cream. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until firm and set.
Pour the hot fudge sauce over the chocolate ice cream and gently spread so that it covers the entire ice cream layer beneath. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until completely frozen.
Assemble the Vanilla Layer: Top the hot fudge layer with the vanilla ice cream. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Cover with plastic wrap, return the assembled cake to the freezer and freeze overnight.
Final Assembly and Garnishment: At least 1 hour (and no more than 12 hours) before serving, unmold the cake. To release the cake from the pan, invert the cake onto a plate or cardboard round the same size and wrap a hot kitchen towel around the cake pan, keeping it there for 30 seconds, or until the cake loosens and slide the pan off. Remove the parchment (and bottom of pan if using a springform). Top with a serving plate and turn the cake right side up. Return to the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
While the cake is in the freezer, make the whipped cream. Combine the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the cream is light and fluffy and holds a medium to firm peak, 2 to 3 minutes.
Just prior to serving, pipe the whipped cream into mounds around the outer edge of the cake. Top each mound with a maraschino cherry. Fill in the space in the middle with the pineapple topping and top with chopped walnuts. A hot, dry knife will yield the cleanest cuts. Dip your knife in a glass of hot water, wipe it clean with a towel, and cut a slice. Repeat between every slice. Store leftover slices in airtight containers (or covered with plastic wrap and foil) in the freezer.
Note: If you are making homemade ice cream, your best bet is to time the assembly so that you can add the freshly-churned ice cream right onto the cake. It will be the perfect consistency. If you will be using already-made ice cream, pop it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before you plan to need it and then mix it really well with a spatula so that it is smooth and spreadable.Nutritional values are based on one serving