4 May, 2015
Banana Split Cake
My mom posted to my Facebook recipe page hinting in a not-so-subtle way that she wanted me to make her this banana split cake. As far as refrigerator cakes go, it seemed like an easy enough job, so I hitched a ride to the grocery store and stocked up on supplies.
Walmart is a great resource, especially in my town, where if you don’t have access to a car, you either have to take a bus or walk. It’s nearby and has most everything. When I went in search of ingredients for my recipe, they had everything.
Everything except for ripe bananas.
Their bananas were green. I don’t mean ripe-in-a-couple-of-days green, I mean it looked like someone had swapped out the bananas for a bunch of plantains. They were positively verdant. My bananas ended up coming from a store on campus. Thankfully, they had bananas that were mostly ripe.
My first step for this recipe was to take the Cool Whip and the cream cheese out and put them on the counter to soften. I learned about softening Cool Whip the hard way, when I made my strawberries and cream smoothies.
While those items were warming up, I moved on to the next part: mix up the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter, press them into a pan, and pop the dish in the freezer for 10 minutes.
You can crush the graham crackers in the bag they come in, if you buy Honey Maid, because there are nine crackers per pouch. Give them a little extra work to make the big chunks smaller and you’re pretty much set.
Here comes the mess-up. I put the entire cup of sugar into the crust mix instead of 1/4…
Since I didn’t have a sieve, I had to start over.
Okay, round 2:
After putting the right amount of sugar in the mix and adding the butter, things were looking better. I took the dish and put it in the freezer, where it would sit for the next 10+ minutes.
Someday in the future, I hope to have a freezer at least twice the size of my current one, because this one is full of bags of frozen fruit and frozen, divided meats. Adding or removing things from this freezer is like a game of Jenga, where toes are on the line and everything is slippery.
I read the next part of the recipe and saw the word “mixer.” Wonderful.
Well, since I didn’t have a mixer, and there was no way I was going to sit there and beat cream cheese by hand (I do have other things I have to do, besides bake, unfortunately), so I turned and looked at the blender. I figured something would likely go wrong if I put the cream cheese mixture in the blender (it was that kind of day), so I gave in and grabbed a bowl and a fork.
I opened the first package of cream cheese and was reading the recipes inside when I realized that the world might not be completely against me, just yet. The back panel contained two helpful tips:
So, now more confident in my abilities as a baker and reassured that this wouldn’t take forever, I resumed cooking to the sounds of Dire Straits.
I’ll never be afraid of baking with cream cheese again. Mixing the cream cheese and sugar took less than the time it took to listen to one song (Money For Nothing, in case you were wondering).
I poured the mixture on top of the crumb crust and spread it around so it was approximately even. This step went smoothly, save for the box of Thin Mints that almost leapt out of the freezer at me upon retrieving the pan.
I topped the spread with pineapple and turned to the next step: bananas. This part was easy. I had been slicing bananas for cereal, desserts, you name it, since I was in pull-ups. I sliced them and placed them on the cake-in-the-making.
After that step came the pudding. This part calls for *some* of the Cool Whip. I wasn’t about to do the same thing I had done with the sugar, which is to put all of it in, in one go. I was going to read the directions thoroughly, this time.
I had one big pack and one small pack of pudding, so I prepared to have extra ingredients for this step. What I hadn’t done a very good job of preparing for was the greater volume of pudding + Cool Whip, so, after the pudding had set, I had to transfer everything to a larger bowl. No harm done, really. At least I measured out the milk separately to make sure I had enough before pouring it all into the instant pudding mix.
Finally, the Cool Whip — last layer. This part was, by far, the hardest. The whipped topping just wanted to mix with the pudding instead of spreading normally. Eventually, I coaxed it over the top of the cake.
After the Cool Whip layer, all that was left to do was top it off with pecans and/or bananas. Since this was a birthday cake, after all, I felt it only appropriate to top it a certain way: