Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

March 31, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: An easy to throw together, deliciously moist (a controversial word, I know), oil-based yellow cake—baked in a cast iron skillet and "topped" with caramelized bananas.Jessie Sheehan

Serves: 8
Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 50 min

Ingredients

For the caramelized bananas

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large bananas, just ripe, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the yellow cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and cook until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and decoratively press the bananas (flat side down, rounded side up) into the caramel, until all of the caramel is topped with bananas. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside.
  4. Place the oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the egg and yolk, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the buttermilk and whisk again.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine. Do not over mix.
  6. Scrape the batter over the bananas and gently smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until a cake tester comes out with a moist crumb or two.
  8. Immediately run a paring knife around the edge of the pan. Let sit for 5 minutes, then carefully invert the cake onto a serving platter. If bits of caramel or banana stick to the bottom of the pan, scrape them off and place them back onto the cake.
  9. Let cool until the caramel sets a bit, about 20 minutes, or cool to room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
  10. The cake will keep wrapped in plastic on the counter for up to 3 days, but it is best the day it is made.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|American|Banana|Buttermilk|Cast Iron|Dessert

Reviews (58) Questions (1)

58 Reviews

Jasser A. December 12, 2018
This cake is absolutely worth your time. Here are some tips that a beginner like me forgot about and I've learned better for next time: <br /><br />1. When mixing the brown sugar and butter don't use a high heat. You'll end up with burned caramel. <br /><br />2. Make sure your skillet is well seasoned so nothing sticks. Even if it says that it's non-stick don't trust that. <br /><br />3. Before you start, ensure that you have a plate big enough to fit over your skillet. If the plate is any smaller your cake will break up when you flip it. An extra person can really help you flip this successfully.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. December 14, 2018
Thank u doe sharingvthese super helpful tips for beginners and so glad u made and liked the recipe!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. December 14, 2018
thank you so much for sharing your tips for beginners! super helpful and so glad you made and liked the cake!
 
CM November 27, 2018
5/5 exceeds expectations! Not much work, and very much worth it!!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. November 27, 2018
Yay! So glad u liked. XO
 
A November 2, 2018
This was incredible. So easy to make and absolutely delicious. We tend to have a lot of overripe bananas on hand, so this will replace half of the banana bread I make. Excited to try your lemon cake next. Thank you!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. November 2, 2018
Fantastic! So happy you liked it and hope U enjoy my lemon cake, too. Let me know! XO
 
Julie October 28, 2018
Would this recipe work for apples?
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. October 28, 2018
Yes! I don’t see why not. I’d slice them thin and they might be a tad juicer than bananas, so I wouldn’t go overboard with the amount of slices.
 
Andrea M. August 20, 2018
This is delicious! It worked in my ceramic Emile Henry tajine base, and with overripe bananas from the freezer. The olive oil cake allows you to really cook until caramelised without making it dry.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. August 20, 2018
yay! so happy to hear this.
 
jodyrah June 4, 2018
Here in New Orleans, cooked bananas = Bananas Foster. I. added cinnamon, rum, banana liquor, flambeed then let it reduce a bit.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. June 4, 2018
Yum! Sounds delish.
 
Katie H. June 1, 2018
If i use a cake pan, should I dump the caramel into a GREASED pan? or a pan lined with parchment paper?
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. June 1, 2018
I think U should make the caramel in a separate small saucepan, and then pour it into a greased cake pan with a round of parchment. Please let me know what happens!!!!
 
Katie H. June 4, 2018
Will do - Thank you, Jessie! My boys are going to LOVE this :)<br />
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. June 4, 2018
yay!!!
 
Rhianna M. October 30, 2018
Katie, did you end up having success this way? I'm hoping to do the same this weekend.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. October 31, 2018
if you do so, let me know how it turns out!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. October 31, 2018
if you try, Rhianna, let me know how it turns out!
 
Rhianna M. November 2, 2018
Trying it tomorrow - so will do! But I shouldn't have to grease the parchment, right? Just the pan? And it should be a 9-inch cake pan?
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. November 2, 2018
Right: I don’t think U need to grease the parchment, and ideally you’d use a 10-inch cake pan, as the recipe calls for a 10-inch skillet.
 
Rhianna M. November 5, 2018
Success! I used a deep, 9-inch cake pan, and it worked pretty well. I lost some caramel to the parchment and mine didn't quite look as deeply caramelized as photos I've seen -- but it was delicious, nonetheless! And I had no issues with the cake sticking to the pan. It's such a dense, moist cake with that lovely crown of bananas. A cake this cake-averse person loved. I served it with whipped cream flavoured with Ovaltine, and it was a killer combo.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. November 5, 2018
Thank you for posting about using a cake pan! i'm thinking the butter should be melted in the pan in the oven and then the sugar added and stirred til it melts. then place the bananas on top, and then the cake batter on top of that - maybe that will stop u from losing caramel . . . and maybe the sides need to be greased prior to adding the cake batter? Just to be safe?
 
Anita G. May 31, 2018
Just made this. It is really good! I served it with fresh whipped cream. I was thinking after that it would be really nice with rum incorporated in some fashion. Definitely not necessary but it seems like it would be a nice addition. Thanks for the great recipe!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 31, 2018
You’re so welcome! And yes to rum!!
 
Brian W. May 29, 2018
I wouldn’t get out of my seat for a banana personally, but a banana dessert?... great recipe, looked great too, picturesque
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 29, 2018
Aww, thanks!
 
Alexa C. May 29, 2018
wow love this recipe.<br />Thanks for sharing.<br /><br />Alexa @ Newport Butane<br />NewportButane.com
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 29, 2018
Yay! You’re so welcome.
 
Alexa C. May 29, 2018
We would love to share it on our instagram page. will definitely add a link to your recipe.<br />If you are looking for a kitchen butane torch, make sure you check our collection at NewportButane.com/lighters ;)<br /><br />dm us for a sample ;)
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 29, 2018
Thanks and i would love a sample! I'll DM u now.
 
Franchec C. May 28, 2018
Made this with ripe plantains twice already and it came out delicious!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 29, 2018
Wow! Love that u used plantains. So cool.
 
Peter May 28, 2018
Fantastic recipe. By the way, I only had dark brown sugar on hand. It worked just fine.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 28, 2018
thanks for letting me know about the dark brown sugar and so glad you liked it!
 
Yuki May 28, 2018
This cake was easy to make and super delicious. Thank you for the great recipe. And it tastes just fine after keeping it in the refrigerator for a few days. I am definitely going to make this great cake again.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 28, 2018
So happy to hear this and particularly glad to hear about how well it does in the fridge!
 
Julia R. May 21, 2018
This cake is incredible. I decided to throw it together last minute on my birthday after seeing it featured on the F52 Instagram. I only had one banana, so I sliced it into thin rounds instead of planks and placed them in an 8 inch cast iron instead of 10 inch. I had some extra batter so I made that into a couple cupcakes (for later...that night.) The bananas, sliced that way, caramelized BEAUTIFULLY into deep brown gems and the cake itself was so tender and delicious. Definitely a new favorite among my friends. Easy to put together, highly recommend.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 21, 2018
This makes my day! Thank you for commenting - and so glad the different way of slicing the bananas works, as well as a smaller pan, with extra for cups! Love all of this.
 
Kcostello1228 May 19, 2018
Created an account just so I could post about the awesomeness that is this cake. I happened to have some soon to be over ripe bananas and instead of doing my usual banana bread I saw this recipe and decided to give it a go. And its fantastic. The buttermilk gives it a sour tang that offsets that sweet caramely(?) banana topping. The edges get crispy and the cake is super moist. I will absolutley be making this awesome cake again- thank you!!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 19, 2018
oh my gosh! amazing - love love love hearing this. thank u.
 
Kitchen W. May 16, 2018
Do you think came flour instead of AP would also work?
 
Kitchen W. May 16, 2018
Sorry 😐 I meant cake flour
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 16, 2018
You know, I'm not sure I'd try it, as it behaves differently than AP once baked, and not sure it will support all of the caramelized topping.
 
Kitchen W. May 16, 2018
Thank you. Looks great and I love using the cast iron for this.
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 16, 2018
yes! hope you enjoy it.
 
Tati C. May 14, 2018
This looks so beautiful. Lawd. Might have to give it a shot this weekend!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 14, 2018
yay! please do.
 
Terri L. May 14, 2018
This cake looks amazing! What if I don't have a cast iron skillet? Can I use a 10 inch round cake pan?
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 14, 2018
Yes! a 10 inch round cake pan will work!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. November 5, 2018
And a nine inch will work as well - I'd melt the butter in the pan in the oven, then add the sugar and stir till it melts, then place the bananas on top of the sugar and butter and cover in cake batter - maybe also try to grease the sides of the pan, just in case?
 
Mary A. May 2, 2018
Sounds yummy, guess what dessert is tonight! Good luck!
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 2, 2018
thank you!! hope you love it . . .
 
txchick57 May 2, 2018
This one's a nobrainer. Good luck
 
Author Comment
Jessie S. May 2, 2018
awww, thanks!