Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

I recalled having Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes on quite a few birthday celebrations for Crystal throughout the 10+ years I’ve known her.  And any time she had a chance to bring dessert to a potluck, she brought ice cream cake.  I thought it might be somewhat of a no-brainer to see if she’d want one for her birthday potluck a few weekends ago, but I wanted to make sure she’d be into it.  This is literally the conversation we had verbatim:

Allison:  hi friend, do you have room in your freezer if i made an ice cream cake for saturday?
Crystal:  hey
Allison:   or is it pretty packed?
Crystal:  OMG YES
Allison:  otherwise i can do cupcakes or something haha
Crystal:  NO we have room hahaha
Allison:  did i hit the mark? i feel like ice cream cake is your fav
Crystal:  umm it’s alright…UHHHH YA LOVE IT hahahaha
Off I went looking for some ideas – I didn’t want to make something you could easily buy.  I found an AMAZING-looking recipe for a Banana Split Ice Cream Cake on Brown Eyed Baker (which is the same blog I found my favorite cupcake recipe on).
The full recipe is a little long, so bear with me.  I didn’t include the ice cream recipes, since I used store-bought ice cream on this cake.  I don’t have an ice cream maker, but Dreyer’s Grand (not the slow-churned stuff!) has great consistency for spreading the ice cream.  I will leave the links for the sauces that I made to shorten this post a bit.  I used Brown Eyed Baker’s strawberry and pineapple sauce recipe, but I used Food Network’s Tyler Florence’s version for the chocolate sauce (I generally just don’t like using corn syrup).
Since we were expecting 25 people at the potluck, I made two cakes in a 9×3 springform pan and a small loaf tin for the second cake, using 1.5 the amount of the suggested ingredients.  This ended up being a 5-day process, given my day job.  I got nervous the ice cream would freezer burn being out that long, as I’ve had frequent freezer burn problems with my freezer.  After lots of Googling, I found that using parchment paper helps prevent it.  Each time I finished a layer that would be in the freezer overnight or while I was at work, I cut out a 9″ round piece of parchment paper to keep in contact with the top layer of ice cream or sauce.  This recipe is just for one 8×3 inch springform pan’s worth of awesomeness.
For the Crust:
  • 20 Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 to 3 bananas, sliced ½-inch thick

For the Strawberry Layer:

For the Chocolate Layer:

  • 1 pint chocolate ice cream
  • 1 cup hot fudge sauce, at room temperature (make sure it’s a pourable consistency, warm briefly if necessary)

For the Vanilla Layer:

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Garnish:

  • Maraschino cherries
  • Chopped walnuts


1. Spray an 8×3-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Assemble the Crust: Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs with the melted butter, tossing until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with the banana slices. Place the pan in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Crust and Banana Layer
Crust and Banana Layer

3. Assemble the Strawberry Layer: Top the banana layer with the strawberry ice cream. Use an offset spatula (or the back of a giant spoon) to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Laying Down the Strawberry Ice Cream
Laying Down the Strawberry Ice Cream

4. Pour the strawberry topping over the strawberry ice cream and gently spread so that it covers the entire ice cream layer beneath. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until completely frozen. This is where I took a break and froze the cake overnight, so I put a layer of parchment paper down to prevent freezer burn.

Parchment Paper - My BFF
Parchment Paper – My BFF

5. Assemble the Chocolate Layer: Top the strawberry layer with the chocolate ice cream. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until firm and set.

Laying Down the Chocolate Ice Cream Layer
Laying Down the Chocolate Ice Cream Layer

6. Pour the hot fudge sauce over the chocolate ice cream and gently spread so that it covers the entire ice cream layer beneath. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until completely frozen.

7. Assemble the Vanilla Layer: Top the hot fudge layer with the vanilla ice cream. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Cover with plastic wrap, return the assembled cake to the freezer and freeze overnight. Don’t forget the layer of parchment paper!

Main Part of the Cake - All Done!
Main Part of the Cake – All Done!

8. Final Assembly and Garnishment: At least 1 hour (and no more than 12 hours) before serving, unmold the cake. To release the cake from the pan, invert the cake onto a plate or cardboard round the same size and wrap a hot kitchen towel around the cake pan, keeping it there for 30 seconds, or until the cake loosens and slide the pan off.

Place Plate on the Top Side of Cake
Place Plate on the Top Side of Cake

Remove the parchment (and bottom of pan if using a springform). Top with a serving plate and turn the cake right side up. Return to the freezer for at least 10 minutes.

Flip and Place Cake Board on the Bottom Side of Cake
Flip and Place Cake Board on the Bottom Side of Cake

9. While the cake is in the freezer, make the whipped cream. Combine the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the cream is light and fluffy and holds a medium to firm peak, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whip it Good!
Whip it Good!

10. Just prior to serving, pipe the whipped cream into mounds around the outer edge of the cake, making sure the mounds touch so that no pineapple sauce leaks down the top. Place a maraschino cherry on top of each whipped cream mound.

Pipe Whipped Cream Around Perimeter of Cake
Pipe Whipped Cream Around Perimeter of Cake

11. Fill in the space in the middle with the pineapple topping and top with chopped walnuts. A hot, dry knife will yield the cleanest cuts. Dip your knife in a glass of hot water, wipe it clean with a towel, and cut a slice. Repeat between every slice. Store leftover slices in airtight containers (or covered with parchment paper and foil) in the freezer.

Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top!
Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top!

Note: If you are making homemade ice cream, your best bet is to time the assembly so that you can add the freshly-churned ice cream right onto the cake. It will be the perfect consistency. If you will be using already-made ice cream, put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before you plan to need it and then mix it really well with a spatula so that it is smooth and spreadable.

Layers of a Banana Split!
Layers of a Banana Split!

After work the day before the BBQ, I pulled the cake out of the freezer to check on it and saw this:


My dad had accidentally left two heavy WARM ice packs on top of the parchment paper layer of cake the night before, and the packs had melted the already soft ice cream and pushed it down, causing the top layer to get a little foamy and spill out the sides of the pan.  My 4 days of work leading up to that had been ruined.  I could only think of one thing to say, but it was already too late.  After a good hour of wanting to take a wrecking ball to my kitchen, I calmed down tried to figure out how to salvage the cake.  I re-froze the cake, and then scraped off as much as I could of the vanilla layer without breaking the chocolate sauce layer.  I put another layer of parchment paper down and froze it for a few hours.   I reapplied the vanilla ice cream layer, put another layer of parchment down and froze it overnight.  The next morning, I made the whipped cream and piped it on to the cake, and filled the top with the pineapple sauce.

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake
Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

The cake layers definitely weren’t as perfect as I had hoped, but there was no time to start the cake over.  Thankfully, Sho-Yu is definitely not a crowd to judge based on appearances as we tend to just inhale sweets however imperfect they may look.

Happy Birthday, Crystal!
Happy Birthday, Crystal!

I do think Crystal was a happy camper with the cake, and there were no leftovers which is always a good sign.

Eggnog Cupcakes

We’re officially 6 months away from Christmas, folks.  During one of my recent attempts to catch up on blogging, I realized I still had sweets from Christmas I still hadn’t posted about so I decided to wait til now to post since maybe now we’re a bit closer to the holiday recipe bookmarking season.

I made a batch of Apple Pie cookies for the 2011 Annual Kawasaki Family Christmas party, but wanted to do something a little more holiday-esque for 2012’s.  I never drink eggnog, but I do like eggnog-flavored baked goods.  I combined two recipes to make this version – the cupcake recipe is from A Good Appetite, and the frosting recipe is from Dollhouse Bake Shoppe.  Here’s my combination!

Eggnog Cupcake
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup eggnog
  • 2 teaspoons of rum (optional)
Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature (don’t use light or low fat)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
  • Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
  • 1-2 tablespoons eggnog, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Rum, to taste (optional)
For eggnog cupcakes:
1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 24 mini cupcake tins or 15 regular tins with size appropriate liners.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter & 1 1/3 cups of sugar together until light & fluffy. Beat in the rum & vanilla. Add the baking powder, salt & 2/3 cup flour, and beat until combined. Beat in 1/3 cup eggnog. Then beat in another 2/3 cup flour, followed by the rest of the eggnog & then the rest of the flour.
3. In another bowl beat the egg whites until foamy. Add in the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold (not stir!) 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter until completely combined then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Fold (not stir!) the Egg Whites Into the Batter
Fold (not stir!) the Egg Whites Into the Batter

4. Divide the batter between the cupcake tins, filling each one 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes for mini cupcakes or 22 minutes for regular. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Too Much Mixing = Flat Cupcakes
Too Much Mixing = Flat Cupcakes

5. Cool completely on a rack.

For eggnog cream cheese frosting:
1. With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth (make sure they are both at room temperature so you do not get lumps in your frosting). Gradually beat in powdered sugar until incorporated. Add vanilla, a pinch of ground nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons eggnog, add more to taste. Add 1-2 tablespoons of rum if desired. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
2. Garnish cupcakes with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg (a cinnamon stick will work too!).
Piping the Mini Cupcakes
Piping the Mini Cupcakes
 My brother was over that day and started hovering over my work station, nearly knocking over my bowl of freshly made frosting.  I of course yelled at him to leave me in peace, and then proceeded to frost the cupcakes one by one, and then sprinkle the nutmeg on top.
A Little Sprinkle of Nutmeg!
A Little Sprinkle of Nutmeg!

Getting nervous that he would tornado into the kitchen and knock over the box of perfect little cupcakes, I put the box in my room until it was time to leave for the party.

Ready for the Party!
Ready for the Party!

And of course, I really didn’t have to worry about my brother because I managed to knock the box over onto its side right before I left for the party.

Failing at Life
Failing at Life

The good news is they didn’t last longer than 10 minutes once they got to the party, regardless of the way they looked.

Chocolate-Mint (Nightmare Before Christmas) Pinwheel Cookies

Lingie sent me a FANTASTIC link about writing earlier today. Please read it, especially if you write. I was totally inspired to flail my fingers away helplessly across a keyboard after driving 90 minutes in rush hour traffic to a restaurant my mom picked for her birthday dinner only to find out it was closed on Mondays.  I have also had a glass of wine as a result of said experience. Yup. This is gonna be real pretty. Here we go.

I had the brilliant idea of walking 4 miles to do errands and have brunch with BBKF Joyce while my car was getting an oil change this past Saturday right before playing a basketball game.  Bad idea.  One of my giant calves cramped up so bad at the end of the game, I couldn’t even put weight on that leg and had to sub out for the last few minutes of the second half.  Of course, this was the play right after my legs gave out after running so hard for a loose ball that I fell flat on my face. Smooth, real smooth.

Somewhere while traipsing along the sidewalks towards the auto shop, Target, the bank, brunch, or Old Town Pasadena, I thought of something… Everybody poops, but that’s no excuse to be full of shit. True story. How many people do you meet in your everyday life that make you wonder, “how have you gone through life this whole time thinking that way?”  They’re full of shit.  Also, the older we get, the more we tend to believe our own bullshit. You’ll be convinced you turned the heater off before you left for work, but end up coming home to the pre-heated oven that once was your home. Or you’ll say “pffff… I totally took everything out of my gym bag after basketball” only to find that your sweaty gym socks from 3 days ago pleasantly smell like fresh cut flowers. Or, does the latter only happen to me?

The point is, check yo’self before you wreck yo’self. This applies not only to preventing your house from catching fire and common hygiene, but it’s a good reminder to not make other people as crazy as they make you.  Make sure you’re assessing your thoughts and actions as objectively as possible.  It will help your friendships, relationships, road rage, everything.  Don’t live in delusion, unless you are above the age of 90. Then everything is unicorns and rainbows…and very big diapers. Besides, you won’t remember who you are anyway. What was it I just said earlier this week? I look forward to getting older?

That was my rant.

So, who’s in the mood for some COOKIES?!

These were part of my Holiday Bake-A-Thon 2012, in the vein of the tea theme I had going. Mint tea! Yes, it’s a stretch but mint and chocolate do go together. These are also probably the ugliest cookies I’ve ever made.

I followed the recipe that I found on First Look Then Cook pretty meticulously, but I think I should have used a small rolling pin to flatten my layers before rolling them into the log.  The recipe said to just use your hands to push the layers flat. DON’T JUST USE YOUR HANDS, unless you’re aiming for the Burton-esque look.

Hulk Mint Smash
Hulk Mint Smash

They were supposed to come out in nice smooth swirls, but they remind me of that weird looking hill that Jack is always singing on top of in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Chocolate-Mint (Nightmare Before Christmas) Pinwheel Cookies
Chocolate-Mint (Nightmare Before Christmas) Pinwheel Cookies

I’m just going to pretend it was my intention all along.  They still tasted right at least.

A Day of Kitchen Failures and Craft Fail Blog

This blog makes me feel better about all of the unfortunate baking/crafting failures I’ve had in the last year, including the one I’m now going to write about.  I highly recommend bookmarking it for those inevitable failures we crafter/bakers are doomed to experience (unless I’m the only one?).  Thank you, Paper Source for finding me this website!!!  This particular entry made me laugh out loud.

Continuing from my 2011 holiday bake-a-thon, I thought I’d write a little jig about the horrid baking day I had on Christmas Eve.  The stars were not aligned, as they say, in my (galactic) kitchen.  I was to celebrate Christmas with my dad’s extended family over dinner on Christmas Eve, and told him I’d make dessert for us to bring.  My (apparently very proud) father told me to make something impressive because he had told all of our relatives that I was quite the baker. I threw out a few suggestions, and he kept saying “no – it should be something a little more impressive, but make sure it’s tasty!”.  Beginning to feel the pressure, I threw out suggestions for a Boston Cream Pie and a Bourbon Banana Layer Cake.  We settled on the Boston Cream Pie, though he ended up trying to buy a bottle of bourbon – you know… in case I want to make the Bourbon Banana Layer Cake some day.

Filling Off to a Decent Start...

I made the filling (twice – I messed up the first time) the night prior, and refrigerated it over night.

Ready to Set in the Fridge

I made the cake part the next day.  Everything was going smoothly.  I baked the cake for the time instructed in Martha’s recipe.  When I took the cake out of the oven, it smelled great, looked nice and fluffy… I even stuck a toothpick in the middle and it came out clean.  But when I cut the cake in half horizontally to make the two layers, I noticed the middle was extremely dense and a little rubbery.  It was undercooked.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I tried to figure out if I had enough time to make the cake over again, as I pulled the Boston Cream Pie filling out of the fridge.  I stirred it up with a whisk as instructed, but noticed something was a little off…

Boston Cream Pie Filling, or Tapioca Pudding?!

The custard somehow curdled while chilling overnight.  Another key component – ruined!  There definitely wasn’t enough time left to make both the filling and cake over again. Thankfully I hadn’t started on the chocolate ganache sauce topping yet.  I decided to make the most with what I had and whipped up a new batch of Grinchmas Cookies with what little time I had left, annoyed that I wasn’t living up to the expectations of impressive culinary grandeur.

But the day of disaster didn’t stop there.

I usually only use the top rack in the oven when I bake things, and just do one pan in the oven at a time.  On this day, I decided to use both racks in the oven to save time.  The bottom rack was only 3 inches lower than the top rack – how much of a temperature difference could there be?  Well… apparently enough to torch half of my Grinchmas Cookies, while the half on the top rack came out just fine.

Half-Batch of Burnt Grinchmas Cookies

Things definitely didn’t go as planned, but on to more successful ventures!

(Not) Simple (Enough) A-Line Skirt

One of my Sho-Yu teammates and long time friends (Flo) asked me to make a mouseketeer skirt for her Halloween costume a couple of weeks ago.  I complied with the disclaimer that I’ve never made a skirt before so I couldn’t guarantee how much it would look like one.  Afraid of biting off more than I could chew, I simplified the pleated skirt to an A-line style using slightly stretchy material to give me some extra room for error.  She sent me her measurements and I followed a tutorial, but somehow the first pass at the skirt came out lopsided.  I like to say it’s that asymmetrical style to make myself feel better.  Apparently, the simple A-line skirt how-to I chose ended up being not simple enough after all.

Luckily, Flo and I made plans to meet-up for her to try it on so I could make adjustments in time for the big day.  As you can see, the skirt still wasn’t perfect but it was salvaged.  Thanks for being my guinea pig, Flo!

Mousketeer Halloween Costume - Front

I have plans to actually try making a pleated skirt some day out of the cherry blossom fabric I bought a couple weeks ago.  Stay tuned!