Banana Bread Ice Cream Layer Cake

Banana bread gets a summer makeover! We take a loaf of banana bread and turn it into a layer cake with the addition of peanut butter and chocolate ice creams. If you can't find plain peanut butter ice cream, feel free to use one that has your favorite mix-ins, or even plain vanilla ice cream -- it will be equally delicious.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 9 hr 15 min (includes freezing time)
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook's Note)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 very ripe bananas (about 1 pound)

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1 1/4 cups peanut butter chips

3 cups peanut butter or vanilla ice cream, softened (see Cook's Note)

1 1/2 cups chocolate ice cream, softened 

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped 

Directions

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan with cooking spray, then set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside. Mash the bananas in a large bowl until very smooth, then add the eggs, sugar, canola oil and vanilla extract and whisk until very smooth. Stir in half of the flour mixture until mostly combined, then add the other half and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake, rotating the pan once halfway through, until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes, then gently flip the banana bread out of the pan and cool completely. Clean out the pan, then line with plastic wrap, allowing about 1 inch of overhang on all sides of the pan. 
  3. Combine the milk chocolate chips with 1/2 cup peanut butter chips in a small bowl and set aside. 
  4. Once completely cooled, carefully slice the banana bread horizontally into 3 even slices. Place the bottom slice into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, then cover with an even layer of 1 1/2 cups peanut butter ice cream. Sprinkle half of the mixed chocolate and peanut butter chips over the ice cream. Layer the middle slice of banana bread over the chips, then cover with an even layer of chocolate ice cream, followed by the remaining mixed chocolate and peanut butter chips. Invert the top slice of banana bread so that the domed top is facing downward, then lay it in the loaf pan, using your hands to press down lightly on the banana bread. Cover with the remaining peanut butter ice cream, smoothing it out so that it is as flat as possible. Fold over the plastic wrap, then use another sheet of plastic wrap to cover the loaf pan completely. Freeze until completely frozen, at least 6 hours or up to overnight. 
  5. Combine the vegetable shortening with the remaining peanut butter chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted, about 45 seconds total. 
  6. Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and use the plastic overhang to lift the cake out of the pan. (Run the underside of the loaf pan under warm water if the cake sticks to the pan and is hard to remove.) Place the cake right-side up on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet, then drizzle the melted peanut butter topping back and forth over the top of the cake with a spoon. Quickly sprinkle with the peanuts (before the topping dries). Return to the freezer and allow the topping to harden completely, at least 20 minutes. 
  7. Remove from the freezer, cut into slices and serve immediately. 

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) If you can't find plain peanut butter ice cream, try this quick "homemade" version: Stir 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter into 2 1/2 cups softened vanilla ice cream. Just make sure to refreeze your "homemade" peanut butter ice cream so that it's not too soft when you are assembling your cake.