Love and Olive Oil

Banana Split Cheesecake

Banana Split Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

I’m in love with the Loveless Cafe. You might assume that this lust would be for their fried chicken or their world-famous biscuits, in which case I’d assume that you forgot to try their desserts. And by forgot I mean you probably stuffed yourself so full of chicken and biscuits that you can’t even begin to think about pie.

And for that I say, “How DARE you.”

Put down that third helping of chicken and that 7th biscuit (which, by the way, are incredible and totally deserving of a lifetime of devotion on their own). But whatever you do, no matter how many biscuits you choose to eat, you must, and I mean MUST, save room for dessert.

Banana Split Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

For those of you who have not or cannot experience the Loveless Cafe in person, you’re in luck. No, they’re not giving up their secret for flaky biscuits. But with the release of the new book, Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe, you can at least make some of their famous down-home desserts in your own home.

I’m no stranger to pastry chef Alisa Huntsman’s work. Because she also wrote one of my all-time favorite cake cookbooks, Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. I didn’t realize she was local at first, only after I had left a trail of cake batter and drool over the pages of her book did I discover she lived here. In my city. And that made me more excited than the hoards of famous actors and musicians that also call Nashville home.

Alisa has been the pastry chef at the Loveless for 7 years. When she was first hired, Loveless didn’t serve dessert. Oh, the horror! But Alisa was dead set on changing that. Tucked away in her little pastry “closet” (as she calls it), and surrounded by ingredients, she couldn’t help but create new things. So while originally she was only asked to make a few classics (like coconut cream pie), she couldn’t help but add a few more sweet treats to the menu. And now? Well, let’s just say her desserts are as famous as the cafe itself.

Banana Split Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

I had a hard time choosing just what I was going to make first. Until I saw this recipe. Banana split cheesecake. I swooned, quickly recovered, and almost immediately set about making this fantasy a reality.

The result is what just might be the most beautiful cheesecake I’ve ever made. The banana flavor is subtle, the texture light and creamy. The gorgeous chocolate swirls are smothered in a fresh strawberry sauce that brings the whole thing together. And perfect, like I said, with not a crack in sight. Alisa offers up a few tricks for perfect cheesecakes, including to scrap the springform pan and water bath in favor of a heavy duty aluminum cake pan. Scary. But it works.

I took the full recipe and split it into two smaller cheesecakes. Perfect for two people. The second cheesecake is currently stashed away in the freezer, where I’m sure it won’t be for long. In fact, I may go get it out right now… it’d be thawed in time for dinner, um, I mean dessert… tonight. Sounds like a plan, Stan.

Banana Split Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

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  • 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (chocolate wafers, graham crackers, nilla wafers, etc.)
  • 2/3 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound cream cheese (not low-fat or whipped)
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 to 2 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • whipped cream and chopped walnuts for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Grease an 8-inch round heavy aluminum pan, or two 6-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper if desired; butter parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir to mix well. Pour in the melted butter and stir until evenly moistened. Dump crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press to cover the bottom and three-quarters of the way up the sides.
  3. To make the filling, place the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, banana, sour cream, and flour in a food processor; pulse to form a smooth paste. With the machine on, add the eggs, one at a time; scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse briefly to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Measure out 1 1/4 cups of the filling and set aside. Pour the remaining filling into crust. Return 1 cup of reserved filling to the food processor. Add melted chocolate and pulse to combine, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is evenly mixed. Drizzle the chocolate filling in an abstract ribbon pattern over the top of the plain filling in the pan. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup banana filling over the chocolate and use a blunt knife or bamboo skewer to swirl them into a marbled pattern; do not overmix.
  5. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven when center is still just slightly jiggly. Run a knife all the way around the edges to release the cake and crust. Return the cheesecake to the oven, turn off the heat, and let stand without opening the door for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand in the pan on a rack until cooled to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible, to allow it to set completely.
  6. To remove the cake from the pan, wrap a flat plate or tray with plastic wrap and spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Hold the bottom of the cake pan over ow heat until it is slightly warm but not hot. Gently shake the pan from side to side to release cheesecake. Place the greased plate over the top of the cake and quickly invert it. The cake should slide right out of the pan. Place your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and invert it again right side up.
  7. To make the strawberry sauce, place the strawberries and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  8. To cut, use a large chef’s knife dipped it hot water and wiped clean between the cuts. Serve with a drizzle of strawberry sauce and a garnish of whipped cream and chopped walnuts, if desired.

Recipe from Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. I am a coconut fanatic so If I had to narrow it down to just one thing I would have to go with coconut cream cupcakes. I also follow you on facebook.

  2. Banana pudding is my favorite! Don forget the chess cookies:)

  3. Banana pudding with chess cookies….. SO good.

  4. Banana pudding with chess cookies….. SO good.

  5. I don’t know, I love all dessert. It’s probably my favourite bit of the meal but if I HAD to choose, it would probably be lemon cake with lemon curd. Or any dessert really.

  6. Already following on fb!

  7. I am a facebook fan!

  8. I follow you on Twitter. Would love your cookbook. Thanks for a chance to win. [email protected]

  9. my favorite dessert is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. my dad has made it for my bday every year since i was little. i even had him make a round one (they are always square!!) for my wedding and it was the cake my husband and i cut and shared on our special day.

  10. I love all pie, mostly apple.

  11. I love homemade chocolate chip cookies. Put them in the freezer and take them out to eat them two or three at a time. Can’t get enough. Thank you for a.wonderful giveaway.
    [email protected]

  12. my mother’s peach pie!

  13. Red velvet cake!

  14. I like you on FB

  15. Homemade caramel cake…layers and layers with caramel icing that is cooked over the stove. Oh, happy day!

  16. I like you on FB! :)

  17. my favorite down home dessert – pecan pie. my mom makes the best :) thanks for the giveaway! and i, too, love the loveless cafe. :)

  18. Such a tough question! I’d have to go with fudgy brownies or red velvet cake :)

  19. My favorite dessert is red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. But the cream cheese frosting is the key, without that it is just…cake.

  20. Woah, I have to choose one!!?? Can’t go past a really good chocolate cake. Moist, rich, with a dollop of thickened cream.

    PS that cheesecake looks immense, and then I scrolled down – strawberry sauce!!

  21. Root Beer Floats or some Eclair Cake :)

  22. Red velvet cheesecake!

  23. It would have tobe chocolate cake.

  24. I am also a fan on facebook :)

  25. My favorite desset is anything involoving a chocolate cake. Plain cake, plain with frosting, black forrest, molten lava, bumpy. I just love chocolate cake.

  26. A brownie sundae with vanilla ice cream (or even better, frozen custard) and raspberry sauce

  27. Oh and i liked you on facebook :)

  28. That cheesecake looks amazing! I would love to try that strawberry sauce. Oh my goodness.

  29. liked you on facebook..

  30. My favorite hometown dessert would be Chocolate Biscuit Pudding.The cheesecake looks awesome.

  31. A moist chocolate cake and some vanilla ice cream.

  32. Warm Peach Cobbler with vanilla ice cream!

  33. The very idea of this decadent dessert takes my breath away! Totally pinned this to make when I have company (because a single cheesecake in a two person house is very dangerous)

  34. I love dessert. Period. But some of my family is from North Carolina, so there’s a soft spot in my heart just for pie – all kinds – it reminds me of the holidays & fun with family. I particularly remember one trip to a family-favorite BBQ place…I ordered a piece of chocolate pie and when the waitress brought it out it was as big as my face. YUM! By the way, I’m a fan on Facebook :)

  35. my grandma’s chocolate pie. it’s super yummy and she only makes it at thanksgiving!

  36. my favorite is rice pudding. made with only rice, water, sugar, butter, saffron, pistachios, and almonds. yummy in all seasons.

  37. uh, there are SO Manu desserts but i really loooove blueberry muffins, with lots of betroes and vanilla! Yuuum

  38. Toll House chocolate chip cookies (preferably frozen…)

  39. blueberry nectarine crisp!!

  40. My favourite down-home dessert is red velvet cake! :)

  41. I can say there are very few desserts that I don’t like but my all time favorite is your standard chocoalte cake with chocolate frosting.

  42. Banana cake with cream cheese butter cream frosting.

  43. FB fan already! and also twitter following.

  44. What is your favorite down-home dessert? = one of my grandmas recipes, choc chip cookies or something called Special K Bars that I have on my site.

  45. Oh my, brownie is my weakness… ( FB like – done!)

  46. Definitely pie! Preferably blueberry, or sour cherry. Or rhubarb…or…or…

  47. It may sound weird, but sweet potato pie is my ultimate favorite down-home dessert! My mom makes it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without it :)

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