When I first met my now-Best Bud at the age of 16 or so, he, my sister and I would often go to the movies and then go to Demetres afterwards. When we didn't decide to go full-piggly and get a massive, eat-it-and-its-free style ice cream platter between the three of us, he would order the next best thing: a banana split.
Did I mention that he is lactose intolerant, has cold-sensitive teeth, and was ALLERGIC TO BANANAS??? What kind of special self-punishment took place in that humble dessert parlour every other Friday night or so? That is some SAW III style stuff right there.
He recently got an allergy test and it was discovered that his adverse reaction to banana has apparently disappeared, so when it came to his birthday last week, I knew exactly what I had to make: a banana split morphed into a cake.
This is a wonderful, light and moist banana cake (not the same as banana bread!) filled with strawberry buttercream and sliced bananas, strawberries and drizzled with caramel; covered in vanilla buttercream, rich chocolate ganache, sprinkles, peanuts, whipped cream, maraschino cherries and a candle. Whew. Eating this thing takes about as long as making it (but it is totally, totally worth it.)
Step 1: Prepare Your Pans and Your Oven!
Turn the oven to 350 and let that pre-heat for a good 20 minutes. Put your rack one down from the middle of the oven.
I did this as a two-layer cake, with a fat layer of goodies sandwiched between two thick banana cake layers, similar in spirit to the dessert itself.* Get your pans (in this case, 2 9" pans) and grease them lightly all over with butter, then cut out a parchment paper circle for the bottoms.
*You can mix it up and cut your layers in two, for a greater buttercream-to-cake ratio. Or bake it in 3 pans, or 6 pans, or whatever. The conversions will be pretty rough but just keep in mind that more smaller pans = shorter cooking time. Check for done-ness, YMMV, etc.