I originally published this post in April of 2015. It’s been such a hit around the internet, that I decided to update the post and photos. Enjoy!
Creating this banana upside down cake
When I was 12, my dad took my sister and me to Mexico. We stayed outside of town, our stucco house tucked between mangroves and the beach. We bought food at the supermarket and ate most of our meals home. We swam, kayaked, and snorkeled in the ocean, we read books under a thatched-roof patio, and relaxed in the sun.
One day, we visited local ruins. It was one of the hottest days I can ever remember. We lathered our pink bodies with sunscreen every two hours and sat in the shade under ancient stone monuments to keep cool. Then, on our way back home, we stumbled upon a small hotel.
It overlooked a small cliff and below it, a sandy beach. The building was painted white and had an almost mediterranean quality to it. It was beautiful. Rebe and I swam in the outdoor pool for what felt like hours as our dad relaxed on a hammock overlooking the ocean. The air began to get cooler, and it was the beginning of a perfect night.
Soon we got hungry and asked Dad if we could stay for dinner. The outside deck had low tables and throw pillows for seating. The kitchen was run by a Thai chef, so we ordered pad Thai and ate it in 3 minutes. Like, I clearly remember scarfing that thing down. And MAN was it good.
Then came dessert: bananas foster. Now, I had never been a huge banana fan up until this point in my life. But out came this hot skillet with caramelized sugar and bananas and, as they say, the rest was history. I’m not sure if it was the heat or the exhaustion from swimming all evening, but it was one of the best meals of my life. The bananas foster was in fact so good that we ordered it again. AKA dessert round two.
So in honor of my love affair with bananas foster, I present this Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake. I absolutely could not stop eating it today! It was one of those take-a-sliver-and-then-another deals.
But I’m not mad about it at all, because each and every bite was absolute heaven. The bananas are soft and sweet, the outside of the cake is perfectly caramelized and sticky, and the cake itself is light and moist.
This is one of my new go-to desserts. Without a doubt I will be making this for years to come!
How to make an upside down cake
Upside down cakes are arguably one of the prettiest cakes you can make. Personally, I think some are even prettier than the buttercream-laden cakes that take ages to decorate. But although upside down cakes look beautiful and like they took tons of time to arrange, in reality they’re one of the easiest cakes you can make. In fact, they’re basically dump cakes. Just coat the bottom of the cake pan with a sauce and fruit of some kind, spread the cake batter over top, bake, and then invert. Easy, right?
To make this caramelized banana upside down cake, you first need to make the caramel topping. Simply melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, and then spread it evenly onto the bottom of the cake pan. Cut four bananas lengthwise and lay them on top of the caramel layer. Let all that yumminess hang out on the counter while you prep the cake batter.
The batter of this banana upside down cake is simple. I’ve used ripe mashed bananas and Greek yogurt in this recipe to add lots of flavor and extra moisture to the cake base, and almost an entire stick of butter just because. Combine all the wet ingredients in one bowl, and the dry ingredients in another. Then mix it all together and spread the batter on top of the bananas in the pan, making sure not to disturb the bananas too much.
Bake this banana upside down cake until the top begins turning a lovely golden brown and you can see that gooey caramel bubbling up from the bottom. After you take this cake out of the oven, you must let it rest for 10 or so minutes before inverting it onto a large tray. If you try and flip the cake when it’s first out of the oven, I’m afraid the cake will fall apart or that the caramel will gush out everywhere!
Serve your banana upside down cake warm, if possible. And don’t be shy about topping it with vanilla ice cream. Whatever the occasion, you deserve a slice of cake a la mode!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 pan with butter.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together until the mixture becomes slightly glossy, about 2 minutes (no more!). Pour mixture evenly into the pan. Place the sliced bananas on top of the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, melted butter, eggs, greek yogurt, sugar, and vanilla extract until combined. Stir in the baking powder and salt, then stir in the flour, mixing until just combined.
Spread the batter evenly on top of the bananas, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top has started to turn golden brown along the edges and the brown sugar and butter bubbles up along the rim of the pan. Mmmmm.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting over a large tray. Cake is best served warm, possibly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!