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Banana Split Cake

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 4 HRS
  • SERVINGS: 10 to 12
  • MAKE-AHEAD

As the flourless chocolate cake that forms the base of this decadent dessert cools, it falls in the center, creating the perfect indentation to fill with light, creamy banana pudding. Drizzled with fudge and peanut sauces and topped with your choice of sundae fixings, this cake becomes an impressive and indulgent ode to the classic banana split.

chocolate cake

  1. 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  2. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (see Note)
  4. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 5 large eggs, separated
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 cup granulated sugar

banana pudding

  1. 5 large egg yolks
  2. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  6. 2 cups milk
  7. 1 cup heavy cream
  8. 6 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

fudge topping

  1. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  2. 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  3. 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  4. Pinch of salt

peanut butter topping

  1. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  2. 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  3. 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. Maraschino cherries, for serving
  6. Fresh strawberries, for serving
  7. Whipped cream, for serving
  1. MAKE THE CHOCOLATE CAKE Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate with the butter and melt at high power, stirring every 20 seconds, until smooth. Let cool slightly. Whisk in the cocoa powder, brown sugar and vanilla. Add the 5 egg yolks one at a time, whisking well between additions.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium-high speed until frothy. Reduce the speed and add the granulated sugar in a thin stream. Beat the whites at medium-high speed until stiff and glossy.
  3. Scoop one-fourth of the meringue into the chocolate mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the remaining meringue just until no white streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is firm at the edge and the center is still slightly jiggly, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on a rack; as the cake cools, the center will sink, forming a bowl shape. Cover and refrigerate until slightly chilled, about 1 hour.
  4. MAKE THE BANANA PUDDING In a medium heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch, salt, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds until pale and smooth. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk just to a simmer with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the vanilla bean. In a slow stream, carefully beat one-third of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Discard the vanilla bean. Scrape the egg mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly and vigorously, until the pudding is smooth and very thick. Once the pudding boils, continue whisking for 2 minutes longer. Pour the pudding into a large bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Let cool slightly, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled and firm.
  5. Stir the chilled pudding with a rubber spatula until creamy and smooth. In a medium bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Stir one-third of the whipped cream into the pudding, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain. Fold in the bananas.
  6. ASSEMBLE THE CAKE Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove the ring. Carefully invert the cake onto a flat cookie sheet. Remove the pan bottom and peel off the parchment paper. Transfer the cake to a serving plate right-side-up. Gently mound the banana pudding in the center of the cake, forming a smooth dome. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
  7. MAKE THE FUDGE TOPPING In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat the condensed milk with the chocolate, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip.
  8. MAKE THE PEANUT BUTTER TOPPING In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat the condensed milk with the peanut butter, stirring every 20 seconds, until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and the salt. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip.
  9. Pipe stripes of the peanut butter topping over the pudding, then follow with perpendicular lines of fudge topping. Cut the cake into wedges and serve. Pass any remaining fudge and peanut butter toppings, along with cherries, strawberries and whipped cream.
Make Ahead

The chocolate cake, banana pudding and both toppings can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Melt the toppings slightly before using.

Notes

Dutch process cocoa powder has been treated with an alkali, which neutralizes its natural acidity. As a result, it retains its nearly black color during baking and has a mellower flavor.

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