This easy banana split cake takes all of the flavors of your favorite ice cream treat and bakes them into a delicious poke cake.

slice of Banana Split Cake on a plate

This easy poke cake takes all the flavors of the traditional banana split dessert and makes them into a simple cake that is guaranteed to be the hit of your next party, potluck, or backyard BBQ! 

What is a poke cake, you may ask? Well, just as the name implies, it is a cake that has had holes poked all through it for the purpose of adding some filling. For example, in our turtle poke cake it’s caramel. In this recipe, it’s vanilla pudding.

Our love for banana splits doesn’t stop there. Check out our banana split cookie cups, and banana split cheesecake salad too!

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It Starts With Cake Mix

As you know, we like to doctor up our cake mix with a few additional ingredients. Our coconut cake is a family favorite.

In this one, we are using yellow cake mix and mashed bananas instead of pudding to make a banana cake. If you love bananas and want more dessert options, check out our banana pudding cake or our banana cream cheesecake dip! These dishes are so good they’ll make you go bananas!

ingredients to make Banana Split Cake

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Yellow Cake Mix -You can sub out with vanilla if you want, just be aware that it will give your dish a vanilla flavoring.
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable oil – You want to avoid using olive oil when baking as it can change the flavor of your dish.
  • Water
  • Bananas – You want them overripe and mashed for the cake, but also some fresher ones for slicing on top.
  • Vanilla pudding – Make sure it’s instant pudding
  • Milk – This is used to make the pudding. We recommend 2% or whole milk but you can use whatever you have on hand. It does need to be milk though. Pudding made with almond milk or other milk substitutes does not set up.
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple Topping – You can often find this in the aisle with ice cream cones. If you don’t find it there try the aisle with the jams and jellies. You can also sub this with crushed pineapple, just make sure you drain all the pineapple juice first. You will find that in the canned fruit aisle. It won’t be as sweet though!
  • Cool Whip – You can sub with homemade whipped cream if so desired.
  • Chopped peanuts – You can skip these if anyone has a peanut allergy, or sub them with chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, or any type of nut you prefer.
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Maraschino Cherries – You usually find these with the ice cream comes and toppings but if it’s not there you can check the canned fruit aisle as well.
holes poked in Banana Split Cake

How to Make a Banana Split Cake

Step 1 – Preheat – Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Step 2 – Mix cake batter – In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water, and mashed bananas.

Step 3 – Add to pan – Pour the cake batter into a lightly greased 13×9 inch metal baking dish. You can grease your pan with shortening, butter, or cooking spray.

Step 4 – Bake – Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. 

Step 5 – Mix pudding – While cake bakes make the pudding adding 2 cups of milk to the contents of the pudding box, whisking it together and then placing the pudding in the fridge to firm up.

pineapple topping on Banana Split Cake

Step 6 – Add pudding – Let the cake cool completely then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes across the entire top. Spread the vanilla pudding over the cake making sure it gets in all the holes.

Step 7 – Add pineapple topping – Spread the pineapple topping over the pudding. 

strawberries and banana sliced in rows on top of Banana Split Cake

Step 8 – Add strawberries, bananas, and whipped cream- Top with the sliced strawberries and bananas placing them in alternating rows. Spread the whipped topping over the cake making sure to completely cover the strawberries and bananas. 

Step 9 – Chill – Cover with plastic wrap and place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 10 – Add chocolate sauce, nuts, cherries, and serve – Before serving drizzle chocolate sauce over the top of the cake and sprinkle the chopped nuts. Finish it off with the cherries on top. Serve immediately. 

Banana Split Cake topped with cherries
What Can You Add to a Box Cake Mix to Make it Taste Better?

You can add pudding mix in various flavors to make a delicious, moist cake like we do for our coconut cake, pistachio cake, and lemon cupcakes.

In this recipe, instead of adding pudding mix to the cake mix we instead add bananas to the cake mix for added flavor, then we poke holes in the cake and top with vanilla pudding and banana slices. This gives the pudding a banana flavor that soaks into the cake as it sits.

What is a Classic Banana Split Made Of?

A classic banana split sundae is one banana sliced open down the center and filled with scoops of ice cream (traditionally vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry). It is then drizzled with chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, pineapple topping and topped with whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and a cherry on top.

How Ripe Should Bananas be for Banana Pudding?

You get the most banana flavor from a banana that is overripe. I try to buy my bananas about 5 days ahead of time unless they are very green in which case, they may need 7-8 days to fully ripen. You know they are at their best when the skin becomes speckled with brown spots, and you can smell the sweet banana scent before peeling.

slice of Banana Split Cake

Freeze Your Perfectly Ripe Bananas

If you’re like me, you rarely remember to buy bananas far enough in advance to have them perfectly ripe for whatever delicious banana dessert you’re making. To solve this problem, any time I have an overripe banana I peel it, place it in a freezer bag, and put it in the freezer. These frozen bananas work great for adding to muffin mix, cake batter, or smoothies.

If you’re using them in a batter or a smoothie you can just thaw them slightly in the microwave (10-15 seconds usually does it) and then mash them up before adding them to your batter or throwing them into the blender if you’re making a smoothie.

If you are going to slice them up for a recipe, let them thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then slice and use them as needed.

For this recipe I recommend using a fresh banana for the slices that you add on top before serving. They will have a firmer texture and a better visual appearance. These are just a topping, so they don’t need to be overripe. Just make sure they aren’t green!

fork going into Banana Split Cake slice on black plate

Can You Freeze Banana Split Cake?

Yes! You can freeze the baked cake, then thaw and add other ingredients when you’re ready to use it. Let the cake cool completely, then wrap it in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer aluminum foil. You can store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To use, remove from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Once thawed, remove the aluminum foil and plastic wrap and follow the rest of the instructions for making the banana pudding cake.

How to Store It

Store leftovers by covering it tightly with lid or plastic wrap and storing it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

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Servings: 10
Prep Time: 2 hrs
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Banana Split Cake

This easy banana split cake takes all of the flavors of your favorite ice cream treat and bakes them into a delicious poke cake.
slice of Banana Split Cake on a plate
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 large Eggs
  • cup Vegetable oil
  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 large Overripe bananas, mashed
  • 3.4 ounce Box Instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 large Bananas, sliced
  • 1 pint Strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup Pineapple Topping
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • ¼ cup Chopped peanuts
  • ¼ cup Chocolate Sauce
  • 10 Maraschino Cherries

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water, and mashed bananas.
  • Pour the cake batter into a lightly greased 13×9 inch metal baking pan.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • While cake bakes make the pudding adding 2 cups of milk to the contents of the pudding box, whisking it together and then placing the pudding in the fridge to firm up.
  • Let the cake cool completely then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes across the entire top.
  • Spread the vanilla pudding over the cake making sure it gets in all of the holes.
  • Spread the pineapple topping over the pudding.
  • Top with the sliced strawberries and bananas placing them in alternating rows.
  • Spread the whipped topping over the cake making sure to completely cover the strawberries and bananas.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Before serving drizzle chocolate sauce over the top of the cake and sprinkle the chopped peanuts. Finish it off with the cherries on top.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 560kcal, Carbohydrates: 104g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 515mg, Potassium: 415mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 64g, Vitamin A: 164IU, Vitamin C: 36mg, Calcium: 170mg, Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana split cake, banana split cake recipe, recipe banana split cake