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Banana Split Cake

Updated May 04, 2016
This image courtesy of Kathryn Barnard

This was my daughter’s first birthday cake. The ever-so-rich banana cake with dark chocolate frosting and mouthwatering, gooey date-pecan filling is a birthday gift in itself.

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturenutty, sweet

Type of Dishcake, dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 cups lightly toasted pecan halves, plus another 10 pecan halves for decorating the cake
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5½ ounces dark baking chocolate (72% cacao), finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 2½ cups brown rice flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Begin by starting the filling. Place the dates and water in a large saucepan over low heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the dates are quite soft. Be sure the liquid does not completely evaporate.

  2. While the dates cook, begin making the frosting. In a double boiler or using a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil. When all the chocolate has melted, whisk in the water, vanilla, and salt. Refrigerate the frosting for 1 hour, taking it out and whisking occasionally.

  3. While the frosting sets, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans.

  4. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the canola oil, coconut milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and bananas. In a separate bowl, combine the brown rice flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Divide batter equally between the two cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when you press the center with your finger and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from the pan and assembling.

  5. While the cakes cool, finish making the filling. Drain the dates and pulse in a food processor until they have a smooth consistency. Transfer the date paste to a separate bowl, clean the processor, and add the pecans and salt. Pulse until a creamy nut butter forms.

  6. To assemble, place one cake layer on a platter and using a cake spatula or butter knife, spread the pecan butter on it. Atop the pecan butter spread about 1 cup of the date paste. Place the second cake layer atop the first and spread the remaining date paste on it. Finally, spread the chocolate frosting over the date filling; cover the sides of the cake as well. (If the frosting has become too solid after refrigeration, try spreading it with a heated knife, or heat frosting slightly and whip in a stand mixer until it is spreadable.) For an extra-nice presentation, place pecan halves in a circle around the top of the cake.

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