Banana Split Cheesecake

Oi! I am finally posting my husband’s birthday cake from mid-February!  I’m kind of excited that I can finally move forward after this and post more up to date stuff 🙂  I saw the recipe for this Banana Split Cheesecake and knew I had to make this for my husband’s birthday.  Well, maybe it was a convenient excuse for me to try this recipe, but I think it was a win-win for all of us.  Before you go on reading the recipe, I need to warn you of few things :  1. This is an ultra rich cheesecake! Even if you try to fool yourself you cannot eat a huge slice, your body begs you to stop.  2.  I kind of under baked mine slightly and the top also cracked, but it turned out fine in the end.  You’ll see what I mean below.  3.  This really tastes like a huge banana split!!  4.  Even though the recipe says it’ll serve 10-12, it can easily serve 15 even if you slice them on a thinner side.

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Serves 10-12:

8 oz. vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups banana purée
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Table salt
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 oz. chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
5 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
Toasted chopped nuts, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, banana purée, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month (see make-ahead tip, below).

In a small bowl, melt the 3 oz. chopped chocolate and the butter. Add the corn syrup and whisk until smooth. Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Pour the ganache on the cheesecake and spread evenly.

Garnish with chopped nuts and whipped cream and serve immediately. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

**You can make ahead : To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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I used Trader Joe’s vanilla wafers (I love the taste of these vanilla wafers!).

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This stand mixer is one thing I’ll take if my house catches on fire…

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Ready to go inside the oven; so far so good.

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Came out of the oven and as it cooled cracked on the top – grrrrr.  Well, Food Network has this to say about the crack on top of cheesecakes.  I simply filled mine with mashed bananas 🙂

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Because I was putting this ganache over the cheesecake I’m glad I had extra bananas to mash up and fill the crack.

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I cut a larger sized slice for picture sake, but even half this size would be sufficient!

My opinion:  Loved the crust, loved the filling and loved the ganache!! Once again, as I previously said this is a very-very rich cheesecake.  If you love bananas and banana split you will LOVE this cheesecake!  I probably will not make this often (for an obvious reason), but a great dessert for a special event.

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