Banana Split Cake is what my grandmother would call "Icebox Cake". It's actually a creamy dessert rather than a cake, but it's made in a 9x13 inch cake pan, sets up in the refrigerator and can be sliced like cake.
Banana Split Cake
I have fond memories of this dessert because my grandmother made it, but not often enough. Whenever we visited I hoped to find one in the refrigerator, but my grandmother was a baker at heart and unlike German Chocolate and Pineapple Cake, Banana Split Cake wasn't in her regular rotation. Of course that made it even more special.
Now that I'm an adult and can make Banana Split Cake any time I want, I've enjoyed trying different versions. This latest rendition calls for a mixture of condensed milk and lemon juice which is poured over bananas and topped with pineapple, vanilla pudding mix and whipped cream. It's a little different from the raw egg and cream cheese versions. The lemon-y condensed milk mixture adds a quick burst of tartness similar to what you'd find in a Key lime pie, and the pudding mix adds more vanilla flavor.
Banana Split Cake does taste better on day 2, but the bananas do get a little softer so be ready for that. It freezes well, but again -- softer bananas. One thing you might consider if making ahead is just leaving the bananas out, refrigerating or freezing, then adding the bananas along with the cake or serving it between slices of banana. Either way it will still be good! This is one of those desserts you really can't mess up.
Banana Split Cake
- 2 cups graham crackers crumbs
- ½ cup salted or unsalted butter softened to the point of almost melted
- 4 large bananas
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 14 oz can condensed milk
- 20 oz can of pineapple, drained
- 1 box instant pudding (3.5 oz or 4 serving size box) French vanilla or vanilla flavored instant pudding
- 2 cups milk or as per pudding directions
- 12 oz tub of whipped topping or 5 cups sweetened whipped cream
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans or ice cream topping nuts
- 8 Maraschino cherries
- Mix the crumbs with the butter and press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish.
- Slice the bananas and brush them with some of the lemon juice. Lay them across the crust.
- Mix the condensed milk with the remaining lemon juice and pour over the bananas.
- Spread drained pineapple over the condensed milk mixture.
- Whisk together the pudding mix and milk until it starts to thicken, then pour over the pineapple.
- Spread whipped topping all over the top and chill for about 6 hours or overnight.
- Shortly before serving, sprinkle top with nuts and dot with well-drained cherries.