A favorite ice cream parlour treat gets a fun layer cake makeover! Banana Split Ice Cream Cake is made with fluffy yellow cake layers, hot fudge sauce, and banana split ice cream. It’s a chilly treat for hot summer days.
The first day of summer is yet a month away, but here in the southern US temperatures are already soaring. The only way to enjoy being outside is to have a frosty treat ready to hand. I’ve been eagerly exploring ice box recipes.
It didn’t take long to realize that banana split ingredients would make a fantastic layer cake. I think it’s just about perfect for picnics, potlucks, and even summertime birthdays – just add candles!
The cake consists of five layers with all of the flavors of a classic banana split, complete with a covering of freshly whipped cream and lots of sprinkles!
It all starts with a tub of Banana Split ice cream. There are a few different ready-made varieties available for purchase, but Turkey Hill is delish. Not only is it Neapolitan, it has nuts and bananas speckled throughout.
Cherries are my fave, so I folded a jar of maraschinos into the softened ice cream. Then it’s divided between two cake pans and frozen into disks. Plan ahead because it’s best if the layers can firm in the freezer overnight.
While you’re waiting on the ice cream layers to freeze, you can make the yellow cake layers ahead and have them ready and cooled for assembly. I added hot fudge between each layer, but you could also add caramel sauce or even pineapple ice cream topping.
I thought this cake deserved something deliciously eye-catching so I channeled my inner artist and made a flowing chocolate glaze. It can be enthusiastically flung on – or drizzled (if you’re not into redecorating your kitchen counter – ha!). This consistency is achieved by melting chocolate chips and a little olive oil together until the chocolate thins.
Don’t forget the sprinkles!
The final touches are a crown of yellow buttercream ruffles adorned with cherries, along with sprinkles and a scattering of chopped walnuts.
Each slice reveals different swirls of Neapolitan ice cream, hot fudge, and cross-sections of cherries. It’s practically a whole ice cream party inside!
This is such a fun cake to share, and it’s not as work intensive to make as you might think – especially if you spread the work out over two days. On the first day, bake the cakes and freeze the ice cream layers. The next day can be dedicated to stacking, making the whipped cream and decorating, which took me less than an hour.
Related recipe: Strawberry Crunch Ice Cream Cake
Banana Split Ice Cream Cake
- 8-inch cake pans
Ice cream layers
- 1.5 quarts Turkey Hill Banana Split ice cream or Neapolitan, or your favorite ice cream
- 10 oz maraschino cherries without stems (1 jar) drained and patted dry
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine grain salt
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Neon yellow gel food color
Assembly and décors
- 8 oz. hot fudge topping heated slightly to loosen
- 1/3 cup mini semisweet chips
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil or other light oil
- 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles (jimmies)
- 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 10 oz. maraschino cherries with stems, drained and patted dry
- Make the ice cream layers: Line two 7 or 8-inch round baking pans with plastic wrap that overhangs all edges. Allow ice cream to soften slightly and transfer to a large bowl. Loosely fold in the cherries. Do not over-mix. Divide mixture between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Freeze until solid, 4 hours or overnight (recommended).
- Meanwhile, make the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch round baking pans (or spray with flour-based baking spray).
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the mixer bowl in three batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and beat again briefly. Divide the batter evenly into pans about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes. Let the cakes cool slightly in the pans. Remove and let them cool completely on a wire rack. When the cakes are cool, level them using a serrated knife if needed. Wrap the cooled cakes and store in the refrigerator until the ice cream layers are frozen.
- Make the whipped cream: Place the heavy cream in a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until soft peaks form, and then gradually add in the granulated sugar. Add the vanilla extract and beat until thick and fluffy. Remove half of the whipped cream to a piping bag with 1/2-inch hole snipped in the end. Tint the remaining frosting with the neon yellow gel food color until vibrant yellow color is achieved. Remove half of the yellow whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Place this bag in the refrigerator. Remove the remaining yellow whipped cream to a piping bag with 1/2 inch hole snipped in the end.
- Assemble the cake: Remove ice cream layers from the freezer and remove from pans by pulling them out by the overhanging plastic; unwrap. Place a yellow cake layer on a cake board or other server. Add a half of the hot fudge topping and spread evenly. Top with an ice cream layer. Add a second yellow cake layer and add the remaining hot fudge sauce; spread evenly. Top with an ice cream layer, and then finish with the final yellow cake layer. (At this stage, place the cake on a turntable if you have one.)
- Immediately cover the cake with the plain (un-tinted) whipped cream. Smooth with an offset spatula. To the bottom of the cake, pipe on yellow whipped cream using the bag without a piping tip. Smooth evenly with an offset spatula. Add more white whipped cream to the top edges of the cake if needed to achieve a smooth, even coating. Place cake in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour.
- Combine the chocolate chips and olive oil in a small microwave-safe dish and heat at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a disposable piping bag (or zip-top bag) and close with a rubber band. Cover a work surface with parchment paper; remove the cake from the freezer and place on a turntable if you have one. Cut a tiny hole in the end of the piping bag of chocolate, and point the end toward the cake. Squeeze the bag tightly as you make circular throwing motions while turning the cake turntable. The chocolate will solidify immediately on the frozen whipped cream.
- Remove the reserved yellow whipped cream in the piping bag fitted with the star tip from the refrigerator and pipe swirls on the top edge of the cake. Immediately add sprinkles to the top edge and middle of the cake. Add chopped walnuts to the center of the cake. Place a maraschino cherry on top of each icing swirl on the top edge of the cake.
- Return the cake to the freezer until ready to serve. Use a large chef’s knife dipped in hot water to slice the cake, cleaning the knife after each slice with a damp towel.