You Can Take the Girl Out of the Midwest, but You Can’t Take the Midwest . . . – Banana Split Cake

bsplitfinalThe saying is old and cliche, of course, but in last night’s endeavor, oh so true. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I was born and raised in Ohio AND in a non-foodie family (so, please don’t get in a bunch, beloved mid-west readers, This is more about my tribe of origin, than the region from which I hail.) In the culinary realm, this meant that: one of the highlights of Christmas was ham balls, I really believed that mayonnaise and condensed soups were their own food group, and jello (depending on the mold used) was an enviable dessert to bring to any potluck.

I have now lived in California for 20 years. Living here, along with having lived in France for a year, has considerably redefined my take on eating. If you’ve read any other posts around here, you know that I’m about trying to eat “real” food. I am becoming more and more aware of the processed food predators that sneak into our diets. And I’m just grossed out by them. I adore Michael Pollan and his food musings. But I’m also not one of those people who gets so geared up and hog-wild overboard about something that I lose all perspective.

So excuse me for a moment, while I walk you through an old Ohio family favorite that I whipped up last night for a big Soccer Team Parent meeting that was going down at my house. A little number affectionately known as Banana Split Cake (I guess the banana is one healthy aspect of it!). If you have happened on my blog and love it for the “real” food slant, please just plug your ears and hum as you read through this post, or click away now before the GMOs take center stage.

This lovely “cake” sits atop a graham cracker crust. That is – graham crackers hammered with a meat mallet (my preferred method) mixed with 1/2 c. of melted butter.

In case that whopping amount of butter wasn’t enough of an artery clogger for you. the filling consists of another 1 c. of softened butter, whipped together with 2 eggs and a 16 oz. box of powdered sugar.


Slather that good old mess on top of the graham cracker crust and then layer with a can of crushed pineapple (drained) and sliced banana (hallelujah, a real food!).


On top of that loveliness, spead a 12 oz. container of Cool Whip! Now, going back to that whole Michael Pollan thing, one of his more amusing food rules, in his book, Food Rules, is that you shouldn’t eat anything that your mother or grandmother wouldn’t recognize. Well, I guess I’m not technically breaking the rule when stated that way, because my mom and grandma were both bosom buddies with Cool Whip. It made an appearance at just about EVERY family gathering- especially Thanksgiving where the bigger the dollop of Cool Whip, the better the pumpkin pie.


You are now ready for the finishing touch which consists of either more sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs or chopped nuts. I went whole hog and decided on BOTH!


A least an hour of refrigeration makes this ready to eat.

The good news is that the soccer parents didn’t thumb their noses at me for serving such a “processed” dessert. I think we’re all still friends. The banana split cake disappeared with many having seconds and some (we won’t mention names) even thirds. Confession though, I did make a little more “refined” raspberry tart to serve with the banana split cake just to even the balance a bit. Won’t detail out the creation of that one, but will just offer up a walk through of images.


Ok, if you opted to plug your ears and hum, you can unplug them now. Did I mention I made a sweet potato and zucchini frittata, containing only real food, for dinner?