Upside-Down Banana Split Cake
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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Upside-Down Banana Split Cake

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 6 hr 20 min (includes freezing and cooling time)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 16 to 20 servings
This delectable dessert delivers all the fun of a banana split, plus the delicious caramelized flavors of an upside-down cake.


Ice Cream Layer:





  1. For the ice cream layer: Line a 9-inch round cake pan with two layers of plastic wrap, pressing into the sides and corners to smooth it out as much as possible and leaving an overhang so you can lift the ice cream out.
  2. Spread the vanilla ice cream in the prepared pan in an even layer using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, then freeze until solid, about 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. Repeat with the chocolate and strawberry ice creams, spreading the layers on top of each other and freezing each layer until firm. (See Cook's Note.) 
  3. For the topping: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and dust the sides lightly with flour. Line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. 
  4. Combine the sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons water in a medium skillet and stir until the mixture looks like wet sand. Cook over medium-high heat, gently swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until light amber, about 5 minutes. Pour the caramel syrup into the bottom of one of the prepared cake pans.  
  5. Peel and cut each of the bananas crosswise into 3 equal pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthwise. Arrange two banana pieces cut-side down in the pan with the caramel so they from an upside-down V. Continue making upside-down Vs with the banana pieces all the way across the pan. Fill in any empty spaces with the remaining banana pieces.  
  6. For the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and vegetable oil to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, then beat in the vanilla until combined. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk in 3 parts each, scraping down the bowl as needed, then beat on medium-high for 1 full minute.  
  7. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, covering the bananas evenly (use an offset spatula if needed). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour (the plain cake will bake faster than the one with the topping, so check both). Let cool on a rack until cool enough to handle, about 25 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto racks to cool completely.  
  8. Place the plain cake layer on a cake pedestal or plate. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and lift it out of the pan using the plastic wrap. Invert the ice cream layer directly on the cake layer. Top with the second cake layer, bananas facing up. Decorate the top with whipped cream rosettes, then top with cherries and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sprinkles. Serve immediately with hot fudge and caramel sauce. 

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) The ice cream layer can be assembled a day in advance; cover completely with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.