We recently went on a week-long trip to Puerto Rico, leaving a whole bunch of bananas sitting on the kitchen counter at home. We returned to find a whole bunch of very ripe bananas that needed to be used quickly or face the compost heap. Four bananas went into this tasty banana bread and two more ended up in the caramel on the top of this amazingly delicious banana bread upside down cake. It’s the best banana bread we’ve ever had and I’m excited to share the recipe!
If you read along in this blog (thank you if you do), you know I’m fond of upside-down cakes. They are easy to make and adapt well to all seasons. Living in the subtropics of Miami, we have access to all sorts of fruit. In my yard alone, there’s a papaya, coconut, starfruit, mango and sapodilla tree. Two of my favorite cakes to make with local fruit are this starfruit upside-down cake and kumquat upside-down cake.
The marriage of banana bread and upside-down cake was meant to be. Why isn’t this a thing? You end up with moist banana bread with a buttery-rich banana nut topping– similar to a Bananas Foster. It’s perfection. If you are in the mood for something really luxurious, add a bit of rum to the caramel topping. The alcohol cooks out in the oven, but the rum adds a little extra flavor. You can even take the recipe a step further and throw in some pineapple with the bananas.
I was limited in the ingredients available when I made this recipe, and walnuts were missing from my pantry. Given a choice between pine nuts or pumpkin seeds; I went with the pumpkin seeds. They worked out nicely, giving the cake a bit of crunch. Walnuts or pecans would still be my first (and second) choice.
Of course, you can make this easy banana bread upside-down cake recipe without nuts at all-it’s really up to you. However you make it, it’s a delicious treat the whole family will love—even the ones who don’t usually like banana bread. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Banana Bread Upside-Down Cake Recipe
- ½ cup (64g) butter, room temperature
- 1 (128g) cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 bananas, mashed
- 1 ½ (210g) cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup (64g) pumpkin seeds, walnuts or pecans (optional)
- 4 tablespoons (86g) butter, salted
- 1 cup (128g) packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice or rum
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2-3 bananas, sliced
- ¼ (32g) cup additional seeds or nuts (optional)
You can make the entire cake in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a skillet, use a buttered 8-inch cake pan. You will need to make the topping on the stovetop and carefully pour it into the cake pan while it’s still hot.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
Melt the butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet or saucepan. Add the brown sugar and orange juice or rum. Stir until the mixture begins to boil and the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat. If you are using a cake pan, immediately pour the caramel into the bottom of the pan.
Once the caramel is cooled, arrange the sliced bananas around the outside edge of the skillet in a pinwheel design. Sprinkle nuts in the middle or arrange them in a design as well.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mashed bananas and mix until well combined.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and slowly add the wet ingredients. Add the vanilla. Stir in the nuts.
Carefully spoon the batter on top of the caramel layer and spread smooth. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out smooth.
Allow the cake to cook in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the pan onto a serving platter, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot caramel that may leak out.
Banana bread recipe adapted from lkadlec’s Best Banana Bread