A banana flip is a dessert item which comes in a number of different styles, all characterized by blending bananas and cream for a rich and sometimes frothy mouthfeel. The most famous example may be the banana flip made by the Hostess company, which specializes in making an array of snack cakes and related products. People can also make banana flips at home, with recipes which can vary considerably in sophistication and complexity.
The name may be a reference to a family of drinks known as “flips” which historically included egg and cream and were known for being rich and frothy. The modern flip is usually made with egg alone, although this is not necessarily always the case, and many people still associate flips with cream.
The Hostess banana flip, which has inspired many imitators, is made with a piece of banana cake which is folded in half and filled with creamy filling. The dessert is similar in design to the Twinkie, another famous Hostess product. However, historically banana flips were larger, and sold one to a package. The ratio of cake to cream was also slightly different. Hostess continues to make this product, although it is not as widely distributed as some of its other snack cakes.
Other versions of the banana flip include banana flip pies, made with a creamy vanilla and banana filling, banana flip cookie sandwiches which feature banana cookies and cream filling, banana flip bars which include cream and banana, and cream-filled banana cakes. Some people also refer to banana smoothies and drinks as banana flips if they contain cream. In all cases, the defining characteristics are banana and cream.
In some regions, the flip must contain actual banana to be a banana flip. In other areas, people will use banana flavoring and they may also cover the food so that it will appear creamy to yellow. People can also blend real banana and banana flavorings if they want the flavor to be especially intense. One thing to watch out for when making a banana flip with real banana is the chunky nature of fresh banana; unless one is using slices, the banana should be thoroughly pureed so that it will be even and smooth.
It is possible to make vegan versions of banana flips, using vegan “cream” products which have the flavor and mouthfeel of cream. Creamy vegan puddings with vanilla and banana are often a good way to approximate the flavor.