I was first introduced to this dessert by my friend Annette in the 70s. I kept saying but there is no cake in this cake, and she simply said, “that’s what it’s called”. And so it is.
I thought it was good and was intrigued by the idea of a banana split like dessert. Over the years I have changed it to suit my tastes and the first thing to go was the frozen whipped topping replacing it with sweetened whipped cream. It is the perfect summer dessert for a crowd. I most recently served it at our July 4th celebration and people loved it. Here is how I make it. There are a few steps, but it is easy to do.
First the crust. Combine 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of melted butter, a pinch of salt, a sprinkling of cinnamon and a small splash of dark rum in a bowl then press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 7 – 8 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven. Take out and set aside to cool completely. While the oven is pre-heated, toast ½ cup of chopped pecans on a sheet pan for 7 minutes. Take them out and set aside to cool. You can turn the oven off because there is no more baking this “cake”.
Now beat 2 cups of heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl with a chilled whisk attachment. As the whipped cream starts to come together, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of dark rum. Whip until you have heavy peaks, transfer to a bowl and pop in the refrigerator until ready to use.
In the same mixing bowl, beat 2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese that have been softened to room temperature, ¾ cup of sugar and a splash of dark rum. Carefully spread this over the cooled crust. Then spread over a 20-ounce well drained can of crushed pineapple. Next, layer 3 – 4 sliced firm bananas.
In a clean bowl, whisk together 2 3.4-ounce of white chocolate instant pudding mix (you could also use plain vanilla), 2 cups of cold whole milk and a splash of dark rum for 2 minutes. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped sweetened cream and spread over the cake. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the cake and pop into the refrigerator for several hours to set.
Just before serving, sprinkle over the toasted pecans and as many well-drained cherries as you want.
Thank you, Annette, for introducing me to a cake that is not a cake. Enjoy!