FOR RED VELVET CAKE:
3 1/2 c. (383 g/13.5-oz) cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks/170 g/6-oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/4 c. (450 g/16-oz.) granulated sugar
6 tbsp. liquid red food coloring
3 tbsp. (22.5 g/.75-oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder (22-24%), sifted
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. (240 g/8.5-oz.) buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 c. (360 g/12.7-oz.) ice-cold water
1 (3.4-oz.) package instant vanilla pudding (preferably Jell-O brand) ng mix1 (8-oz.) package full-fat cream cheese (preferably Philadelphia brand), cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature3 c. (720 g/25.5-oz.) heavy cream
4 to 5 ripe bananas, sliced1 c. plus 1 tablespoon (160 g/5.6-oz.) mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings
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- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 9 ×13-inch pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring and cocoa powder. With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour the mixture into the batter, mixing until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the vanilla and buttermilk. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. With each addition, being careful not to overmix, beat until the ingredients are just incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, carefully add the cider vinegar and baking soda mixture to the batter and combine well. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Scrape the batter for the red velvet cake into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack to cool completely. Note: The cake can be made ahead, and wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 days.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk, beat the condensed milk and water on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat until there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Transfer the pudding mixture to a stand mixer with the whisk, add the softened cream cheese, and mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Refrigerate while you prepare the whipped cream.
- In a clean bowl in a stand mixer with the whisk, whip the heavy cream on medium speed for about 1 minute, until the cream starts to thicken, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the pudding mixture a spoonful at a time. Mix until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
- Remove the red velvet cake from the pan and cut into a 4 x 2-inch grid for 8 rectangular pieces. Cut each rectangle in half for 16 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Set aside.
- To assemble the pudding, select either a trifle bowl or wide glass bowl with a 4- to 5-quart capacity, or individual serving bowls.
- Spread one-quarter of the pudding on the bottom and layer with enough slices of the red velvet cake to cover the layer. Add one-third of the sliced bananas (enough to cover the cake) and 1/3 cup of the mini chips. Repeat the layering twice more. Ending with a final layer of pudding. Sprinkle the top layer with crumbled red velvet cake and a tablespoon of mini chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving. Note: You make have a couple of pieces of cake leftover for snacking.