Today we are sharing the most delicious Banana Split Layer Cake. It has jumped to the top of our list summertime favorites!
Inspired by a Banana Split, this ultra moist banana split cake has so much flavor, with a filling of pineapple, strawberries, whipped cream cheese frosting & chocolate sandwiched between soft and flavorful banana cake layers!
Whether you are celebrating a family birthday or having a summertime gathering with friends, this banana split layer cake is sure to please a crowd! It really does taste like a banana split!
How to Make a Banana Split Layer Cake
After baking the banana cake layers, I allowed them to cool in the pans for about five minutes as usual (on the cooling rack) before wrapping and freezing.
Freezing is an optional step, but one that I’ve always done because I think it makes the cake layers more moist (the steam/moisture from the warm layers are trapped in the cake). I simply wrap them individually *while still warm* in plastic wrap, then again in foil and freeze. I like to freeze for several hours at least, but cakes wrapped in this way will stay fresh for up to a few months!
Time to Put it All Together!
In addition to our banana cake layers, the stars of todays cake are our luscious whipped cream cheese frosting,
drained, crushed pineapple, sliced strawberries, and decadent dark chocolate ganache. With this deliciousness on our side, how could be go wrong?
To assemble the cake, place the first cake layer on your pedestal or cake base.
Next, spread with a layer of the whipped cream cheese frosting. (This frosting recipe is SO good and has a light, luscious consistency that is similar to whipped cream, but is more stable. Here’s a closeup!
I spread the *drained*, crushed pineapple and strawberry slices on top but leave about 1/4 inch from the edge- I like to pipe a dam of frosting to help keep everything contained.
Drizzle with a little of the ganache. (I drizzle my ganache by spooning it into a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped away so that I have more control.) Yum!
Add the next banana cake layer and repeat, finishing with the final layer of banana cake! Fill in any gaps between the cake layers with frosting (I use a piping bag with the tip snipped away for this) and frost with the remaining whipped cream cheese frosting.
Decorating the Banana Split Cake
For a smooth finish, I spread on the frosting with an offset spatula, then smooth over it with a bench scraper. If you still need it smoother, you can freeze the frosted cake tier for about 15 minutes to firm things up, and the go over it once more with a heated bench scraper, adding fresh frosting as needed.
Finally, add the ganache drip! We used a dark chocolate ganache drip (equal parts chocolate & heavy cream by weight), heated in the microwave in small increments until melted and smooth.
If the ganache is too runny, allow to cool a few more minutes. I loaded the ganache into a piping bag with the tip snipped away and piped along the top edge of the cake. Then I spooned on more ganache on the top of the cake and spread it until it met the ganache drip edge.
*If you are unsure if your ganache is the right consistency, you can pipe along the inside of your bowl of ganache and see how far/quickly it drips down.
If the drips are longer than you want, just allow it to cool a little more. If they are too thick, you can microwave in very small increments to warm it. When the chocolate meets the chilled surface of the cake, it will slow the drip down also. **For more details on chocolate drips, see my link below!
As a final touch, I used an 8B french tip to pipe cream cheese frosting around the top and added maraschino cherries! I love the look!
**We did not use nuts in this cake but some banana splits do have either pecans or peanuts- if you’d like another layer of flavor, you can sprinkle some on. ;0)
If you Love Banana Cakes, Don’t miss these Other Favorites!
- Banana Layer Cake- Doctored Mix– You can substitute this banana cake for the scratch one in this recipe if you prefer to work with cake mixes!
For the Banana Cake
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 3 cups (342g) cake flour - if you do not have cake flour see Note below
- 1 tablespoon baking powder (12g)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (3g)
- 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
- 12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, softened --do not microwave to soften. If
- you are in a hurry, cut into slices onto waxed paper. Do not let butter get too
- soft it should still hold it shape and leave a fingerprint when pressed.
- 1 1 /2 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (363g) buttermilk
For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- Two 8 ounce (423g total weight) packages cream cheese, softened. It must bee full fat, not reduced fat or cream cheese in a tub, those are too soft.
- 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar, sift then measure
- 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
- 3 cups (696g heavy whipping cream
Fruit in the Filling
- Sliced Strawberries (approximately 3-5 strawberries per layer of filling)
- Crushed, drained, pineapple (we used two drained 8 oz cans)
Ganache Filling and Drip
- 6 oz (171g) Chocolate (Semi-sweet or Dark) We used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate
- 6 oz (171g) Heavy Cream
- Maraschino cherries with stems
- 8B french tip (or similar large star tip) for piping around top
- Tip 21 for small shell border around base (optional)
For the Banana Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Grease/spray & flour three 8 inch pans and line with parchment circles
In the mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, & salt. Turn on the mixer and blend for 30 seconds to incorporate ingredients
Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Mix until it begins to look like coarse sand Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl
In a separate bowl, slice and mash the bananas, add lemon juice, eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla and buttermilk. Lightly mix these ingredients with a fork to blend
It is important to SLOWLY add the first 1/2 cup banana/buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients beating on low/medium speed for 1 minute, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl then beat 1 minute more.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cakes 5 to 10 minutes on the rack and then turn out.
NOTE: Substitution for cake flour: Measure out 3 cups of all purpose (plain in the UK) flour. You will be removing 2 Tablespoons flour per cup so for this recipe, Remove 6 Tablespoons of the flour and replace it with 6 Tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour in the UK) Whisk to blend .
For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Freeze your mixing bowl and beaters 15 minutes before whipping the cream (30 minutes if chilling in the refrigerator. Use the whisk attachment for a stand mixer, beaters on your hand mixer.
Beat the cream until stiff peaks form. This can happen very quickly so don't walk away from the mixer. You are at the stiff peak stage when you lift the beater and the cream stands straight up forming a peak. Keep in the refrigerator while completing the next step.
In another bowl combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until very smooth. Fold this into the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate. If you are piping this frosting and it becomes too soft, just refrigerate the filled piping bag for a short while.
It is best to use this on your cake the same day it is made.
For the Ganache Filling and Drip
Place your chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.
Pour heavy cream over the chocolate and place in the microwave for 1 minute. (Times may vary, see our note below).
Remove and stir. Microwave for 30 seconds more and when the chocolate has melted almost completely, allow it to sit for 1 minute more before stirring. Stir until you've reached a silky smooth consistency.
*Microwave times may vary. If you are making a smaller amount of ganache, you will reduce the microwave time. If your chocolate hasn't melted after the 1 1/2 minutes recommended in the instructions, simply microwave in small 10-15 second increments until it has nearly completely melted. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth.
Allow finished ganache to cool until it is a good consistency for dripping. (You can test this on the inside of your bowl. If it moves too quickly down, let it thicken a little more.
Assembly of Cake
Place first cake layer on the pedestal or cake base.
Spread with a layer of whipped cream cheese frosting. Top with a layer of sliced strawberries and crushed pineapple- I like to keep the fruit filling about 1/4 inch from the edge of the cake. I piped a dam of frosting to help keep everything contained. Drizzle the filling with ganache (I piped mine through a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped away).
Repeat the above steps for the next layer of cake, and then top with the final cake layer.
Fill in any gaps between the assembled layers with the whipped cream cheese frosting (I fill a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped away for this step). Then, frost as usual.
This frosting doesn't smooth in quite the same way as buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting due to the whipped consistency, but a bench scraper is helpful in smoothing the frosting as you rotate it. For an even smoother look, you can chill the frosted cake in the freezer for 15 minutes or so and then fine tune with a heated spatula.
When you're ready to apply the ganache (I did this on a chilled cake), spoon it into a disposable piping bag and snip the tip away. Pipe drips around the top edge of the cake, and then spoon additional ganache on top of the cake and spread with a spatula (to meet up with the drips that you've piped).
Finally, I piped french tip stars with an 8B tip, placed cherries in each one, and added a small shell border around the base.
If you prefer to work with cake mixes, we have a Banana Layer Cake- Doctored Mix recipe that can be used in place of our scratch banana layers!
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More Favorite Cakes for Summer!
This Banana Split Cake is perfect for summer, but we have a few more fruity favorite cakes for you to try! Don’t miss this delicious roundup of spring & summer cakes (which can be enjoyed year-round- haha!) Roundup of favorite Spring and Summer Cakes!
Ganache Drip- Quick Look!
If you are new to Ganache Drips on Cakes, here’s a short tutorial of the process. For the cake in the video, I made more ganache than we need for today’s Banana Split Cake recipe, but you’ll see the process of heating the chocolate and cream and applying the drip. Ganache drips are so beautiful and dramatic (not to mention delicious)- we’ve used these on many of our cakes!
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Thanks so much for stopping by! If you give this banana split cake a try, we’d love for you to comment and leave a photo!