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.
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
Like most people, I’m a sucker for a freshly-baked loaf of bread. I’m talking about good, handmade, crusty bread. Unfortunately, that freshly-baked loaf of bread will stay fresh for a day, maybe two. Unless I have a houseful of guests, my family of three doesn’t get through a loaf and I’m left with a hard brick of stale bread–really good stale bread.
It’s a shame to waste it. It’s a shame to waste any kind of bread–even the sliced bread that stays “fresh” for an disturbingly long period of time on the pantry shelf. Lucky for me (and you), there are LOTS of ways to use stale bread. I’ve gathered together some of the best ways to use your stale bread with delicious and creative recipes from some great blogs. Enjoy!
Pop chunks of bread into the food processor for homemade bread crumbs without the preservatives of store-bought. For delicious Italian-style breadcrumbs, mix in some garlic powder, salt and Italian seasoning. Use your breadcrumbs to bread chicken, meat loaf or crab cakes.
Recipes using breadcrumbs:
Individual Mushroom Lasagnas with Crispy Breadcrumbs from Martha Stewart
Roasted Cauliflower with Herbed Breadcrumbs from Martha Stewart
Grilled Eggplant & Breadcrumbs from Go Bold with Butter
Do like the Italians do and use your stale bread in soups. It breaks down quickly and works as a substitute to flour, thickening soups like bisque and creamy vegetable soup, while adding tons of flavor. You can also make the French classic, onion soup. Place a slice of stale French bread on the top of a hearty onion broth to hold up a crusty topping of Gruyere cheese.
Soup recipes using bread:
Traditional Ribollita Recipe from Typical Domestic Babe (pictured)
French Onion soup from Smitten Kitchen
Stout French Onion Soup by The Beeroness
Bread budding is a good enough reason to let a loaf of bread go stale! Bread pudding can be made with croissants, rolls, and even cornbread. Made sweet or savory, it’s a comforting dish that is easy to make and delicious. Tip: some bread pudding recipes have a step where you “toast” the bread to dry it out. If your bread is stale, you get to skip this step.
Traditional Bread Pudding from Jessiker Bakes (pictured)
Chocolate-Pecan Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce from Tutti Dolci
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Pudding from Curry and Comfort
Slice up that loaf of French bread into little discs, top with yummy things. Call it bruschetta. Call it crostini. Whatever it is, it’s easy. It’s also one of the best appetizers you can make without spending a lot of time and money.
Prosciutto, Burrata Cheese and Fig Crostini from Love and Duck Fat (pictured)
Cuban Sandwich Crostini from Love and Duck Fat
Black Olive Tapenade with Anchovy from Love and Duck Fat
Zucchini and Ricotta Bruschetta from Heinstirred
Instead of buying pre-packaged stuffing, make your own out of any loaf of bread–just cut it into cubes. It can be bone dry and you will still get a delicious stuffing. If you plan to make stuffing later, make sure your bread cubes are very dry by toasting them on low heat in the oven (250 degrees F for 20 minutes or so). Store in an airtight container.
Try out these stuffing recipes:
Oyster Stuffing with Shiitake Mushrooms and Leeks from Love and Duck Fat
Buffalo Cheddar Beer Bread Stuffing from Half Naked Harvest
Skillet Cornbread Stuffing with Jalepenos and Chives from Food ~ Fashion ~ Party
I’m a little famous for French toast (among my family and friends). You can bet that the day after I buy a loaf of French bread, there will be French toast the next morning. Once you have the recipe down, there are infinite combinations. So easy. So yum.
Challah French Toast with Burrata and Sliced Peaches from Love and Duck Fat
French Toast with Roasted Strawberries and Tarragon Cream from Love and Duck Fat
Baked Chai Spiced French Toast from Savory Simple
Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast from The Hot Plate
Croutons are just about the silliest thing you can buy in the grocery store. They are ridiculously easy to make from ingredients you already have on hand. Get the most out of your grocery dollar by making crunchy homemade croutons from stale bread–even the crusts! All you need to do is cube up some bread, toss it in a little olive oil (or butter) and toast for the best croutons. You can get fancy by flavoring with garlic powder, Parmesan cheese or even Cajun seasoning.
Parmesan and Garlic Croutons from everyday musing
Basic Bread Crust Croutons from The Vegetarian Ginger
Easy Homemade Croutons from Tramplingrose
Homemade Parmesan & Herb Mini Croutons from Milk & Cereal
If you don’t use your stake bread in any of the ways above, don’t throw it away! There are many more uses for it.