Makes three 6-inch rounds, two 8-inch rounds, or
24 cupcakes

When my husband was a kid, summertime just wasn’t
summertime without the occasional banana split. It’s hard to
beat that simple combination of flavors—vanilla ice cream,
banana, chocolate syrup, and that iconic cherry on top. If your
childhood was anything like his, this cake will take you back to
those endless summer nights. Each layer has been beautifully
baked with tender bananas, is frosted in my banana
buttercream (tastes like banana candy) and strawberry
buttercream (using my secret ingredient: freeze-dried
strawberries), and has a hidden layer of chocolate ganache on
the inside. This cheerful cake is adorned with darling rainbow
jimmies and a dreamy chocolate ganache drip—and don’t
forget those ruby-red maraschino cherries!

BANANA CAKE

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup mashed ripe/brown bananas (about 3 small bananas)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. banana extract
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix

BANANA BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 Tbsp. Mexican vanilla extract
  • ½–1 tsp. banana extract (depends on how strong banana flavor
  • you prefer)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream + more if needed
  • pinch of salt
  • 4–5 cups sifted powdered sugar

STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

  • ⅔ cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. strawberry extract (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3–4 cups powdered sugar

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream

GARNISHES

  • rainbow jimmies
  • stem-on maraschino cherries

Banana Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep cake rounds or cupcake
    tins. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, mashed
    bananas, buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla extract, banana
    extract, and vegetable oil until thoroughly combined. Sift in
    the cake mix, then stir until just combined. Don’t overmix.
  3. Divide evenly between cake tins, spread in an even layer,
    then bake for 25–27 minutes.
  4. Remove cake layers from the oven and cool in tins for about
    5 minutes, then flip cakes out of their pans on a wire rack
    and let cool to room temperature.

Banana Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle
    attachment, add in butter and place on medium speed for
    about 30 seconds until the butter is light and fluffy.
  2. Add in both extracts, whipping cream, salt, and mix on
    medium speed until combined. Slowly add in the powdered
    sugar ½ cup at a time with the mixer on low speed until it’s
    fully incorporated.
  3. Flip the speed on high for about a minute to add volume to
    the buttercream. Add in more heavy cream for thinning or
    another ½ cup of powdered sugar to thicken as needed.
    Place mixer on low speed for about 15 seconds to knock
    out any air bubbles.

Strawberry Buttercream

  1. Pulse freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor or
    individual smoothie cup until a fine powder forms. Set
    aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle
    attachment, add in butter and place on medium speed for
    about 30 seconds until the butter is light and fluffy.
  3. Add in vanilla extract, strawberry extract (optional), pinch of
    salt, and heavy cream, and mix on medium speed until
    combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar about ½ cup at a
    time with the mixer on low speed until it’s fully
    incorporated.
  4. Flip the speed on high for about a minute to add volume to
    the buttercream. Add in more heavy cream for thinning or
    another ½ cup of powdered sugar to thicken as needed.
    Place mixer on low speed for about 15 seconds to knock
    out any air bubbles.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. In a small glass dish, add in chocolate chips and heavy
    cream. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir with a
    small whisk until all the chocolate pieces have completely
    melted.

Assembly

  1. On a cake turntable, tape a 6-inch cardboard round on top
    of an 8-inch cardboard round. Top with a small amount of
    buttercream and spread it around to act like “glue” for
    holding the cake onto the board.
  2. Place the first banana cake layer down, add on a layer of
    banana buttercream, a smaller layer of strawberry
    buttercream, then drizzle on a bit of chocolate ganache
    (making sure to leave about an inch on all sides).
  3. Place the second cake layer on top. Repeat step 2 again for
    the next buttercream layer, and then add on the top cake
    round.
  4. Crumb coat the entire cake with the banana buttercream,
    place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the final coat to the cake, using a cake knife and cake
    scraper.
  6. Gently press on the rainbow jimmies along the bottom part
    of the cake. Place in the freezer again for about 5 minutes to
    firm up before adding the ganache.
  7. Add the ganache drip, let the drip set in the freezer for
    about 2 minutes before adding on the strawberry dollops
    on top.
  8. Add the strawberry buttercream to a piping bag fitted with
    a 1M piping tip, then swirl on the buttercream. Add on
    more ganache drips on the tops of the little buttercream
    swirls, then top with more sprinkles and maraschino
    cherries.