Monday, June 21, 2010

Why Nest When You Can Banana Split Cake?!?!

Some pregnant women find themselves nesting right before they are about to pop. Seriously, I'm supposed to have this urge to do things like clean under the refrigerator? Luckily, my hormones don't work that way.  Instead, I am delving into the sweet world of baking, and even better, with a no need to turn on that oven in Texas heat recipe.

In my head, if we could lure some Food Network Chefs down to Case de Cajun Cowgirl, they'd surely argue amongst themselves for who gets to present this gem on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  It's simply a perfect dessert for a backyard BBQ, Father's Day, baby shower, block party, basically anything! Cowboy's Godmother (in LA we call these ladies our Nannies) makes this every Easter and 4th of July, and we might sneak another round if she knows he'll be in town. It's sweet, refreshing, and just yummy! However, if you are dieting, this is not the recipe for you. I have yet tried to "healthify" this sweet treat; why mess with a good thing? It's on the agenda, though, and after taking a look at the ingredients, you'll know why in the depths of my eating conscience it needs at least an attempt. Perhaps I'll test it out on our neighbors this July 4 and have my own personal "throwdown" to see if they notice the difference. That post will come later.

Promise me this: you'll try it in all its delicious, sugary glory before altering. You won't regret it.

Bananas, pineapples, and pecans....see, it's nutritious!
Nanny Tootsie's Banana Split Cake (You can make in a 9x13 pan or two 8x8 or 9x9 pans)

Ingredients (and what you might try substituting if you are lame like that)
1 bag/box Graham Cracker Crumbs
Melted Butter (approximately 1 stick if you use the entire box of Graham Cracker Crumbs)
1 box softened cream cheese (can substitute marscapone)
2 sticks softened butter (no typo there--2 sticks)
1 box powdered sugar (again, no typo--the whole box)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Bananas (2-3 should work)
Crushed pineapples (drained)
Cool Whip (use lite or fat free)
Chopped pecans (can sub. walnuts)
Maraschino Cherries (halved)
(Optional chocolate sauce to drizzle on top)

**My cooking guess is that instead of blending the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar together, you can use some sort of low-fat jello pudding concoction, perhaps even blended with lite cool whip. You'd be crazy not to try it in its original state though...straight jacket crazy.

 Place crumbs in pan(s) and melt 1 stick of butter in microwave.  Next combine to moisten crumbs and press down with a fork (and perhaps clean hands afterward) to create a solid crust. I like to place in freezer while prepping next layer to create a firm foundation.

While crust sets in freezer, combine softened (yes, read recipe ahead and prepare for this) cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar with a food processor or hand mixer until creamy.

Spread on top of graham crust, making sure not to break crust or ruffle crumbs.

Place in freezer while slicing bananas and draining pineapples. Place sliced bananas across custard layer and drizzle pineapples on top. I tend to use fewer pineapples as they aren't our favorite. Fresh berries would also be a delicious addition.

Finally, carefully spread cool whip on top of fruit and drizzle pecans and cherries as top layer.

I like to put in freezer for 30 minutes to an hour to firmly set everything and then transfer to icebox. Enjoy! (powdered sugar, butter, and all!)

Side note--not only was I in the mood for some culinary fun, but our great friends Kenny and Daphne were coming over for dinner, and we were queued up for some post birthday treats to celebrate Kenny's latest.   Turns out, Kenny doesn't like bananas. :)
He was a great sport though and picked around the bananas, but next time, I'll stick to something chocolaty. Happy Birthday Kenny!