Cast Iron

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

March 19, 2021
47 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 8
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

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lisa goldberg
    lisa goldberg
  • Shannon PS
    Shannon PS
  • Diana Nicholette Jeon
    Diana Nicholette Jeon
  • keithcancook
  • Jessie Sheehan
    Jessie Sheehan
Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

117 Reviews

maryyyy___ January 28, 2024
I tried this recipe for the first time today and was blown away!
I live in Brazil so I hade to make some minor changes, mainly I changed the brown sugar for black sugar ( It's essentially white cane sugar that hasn't been refined yet. Black sugar is typically made by boiling sugarcane juice until it turns into a dark syrup. That syrup is then cooled, leaving dark brown-black blocks of sugar) and I can't find buttermilk here so I just added some white vinegar, about a tablespoon, to whole milk and it did the trick. All around a great recipe, very fluffy crumb and not overly sweet, love it and will make it again.
Jessie S. January 28, 2024
yay!! so happy to hear,
margaret.murphy July 21, 2023
Fantastic recipe! Very easy to make and my super picky husband has requested it twice more already! I had a little trouble the first time making the caramel - my sugar and butter weren't mixing and burned. After a quick internet search I tried adding just a splash of boilling water to the butter/sugar and it worked like a charm. Maybe my sugar was a bit dry? I use a 9-inch cake pan and cook for ~ 45min. Turns out perfectly each time!
Jamie L. June 3, 2023
This has become, hands down, one of my favorite dessert recipes…though I’ve made some changes of my own as I do. First off, as is, with the bananas the recipe is amazing! Having said that, bananas aren’t my favorite fruit. I make it, instead, with pineapple slices putting maraschino cherries in the center of each ring. The cake turns out as well as its banana counterpart. At some point, I plan to try it with 1/4 inch apple slices. The yellow cake is great as is but, again, I made a few slight changes. I add an additional egg yolk and use butter (melted at room temp) as opposed to oil. Those changes, no doubt, up the calorie and fat content…but it IS cake after all! Those slight changes take the cake up a level when it comes to richness. To me, a good recipe is one I don’t have to change out the nose…and this one has only been slightly changed to suit my tastes.
Jessie S. June 4, 2023
amazing! I love that it works as a pineapple upside down cake (with cherries to boot) and love that you added an extra yolk - i often do that in cakes for moisture and richness.
~MoonCorpse~ April 11, 2023
Hi! I want to try this recipe but the largest cake pan I have is a 9 inch. What changes do I need to make?
Jessie S. April 11, 2023
the cake will be taller and will take less time to bake - check it at least 5 minutes early and you will not fit as many bananas but i think it will be fine.
Micaela March 29, 2023
Hello! I reaaaaally want to try this cake, but I don't have any butter or brown sugar left. Can I substitute with vegetable oil and white granulated sugar for the topping? Thanks in advance!
Jessie S. March 30, 2023
I think it might be a little hard to make the caramel for the fruit with no butter!
James H. December 22, 2022
There comes a time in a persons life when they realize that they are in the presence of genius. If this isn’t included in the genius genre it should be. I have made this 3 times in the past week, for different functions and all three times it came out pretty perfect. I used a 12” cast iron pan instead of a 10” so I 1 and half times the recipe. The only other substitution I made was instead of trying to divide an egg in half and an egg yolk in half, I used two whole duck eggs. The only hint I would say is to error on the side of 35-38 minutes. I cooked one for the full 40 minutes and although still amazing you can tell that it was just a smidge drier then the other two. Not bad but just not “Oh My Freekin’God.”

Will be trying it with pineapple this weekend for a Xmas eve party.
Jessie S. December 23, 2022
Love this review so much!!!! Thank you and glad u are a fan. Xo
James H. December 24, 2022
Quick question, have you tried this recipe with subbing out the bananas for pineapple. It seems like it would be an easy substitution. Would love your thoughts. Thanks.
Jessie S. December 24, 2022
I have not but assume it should be fine? Only difference I see is that the pineapple is juicer than the bananas?
Jillian May 28, 2022
wow....easy and fun to bake...and delicious!!!!!!!!!!
Jessie S. May 29, 2022
Yay!! So happy to hear. XO
lisa G. April 17, 2022
Unexpected deliciousness! Beautiful to look at....this is a flavor bomb :)
Jessie S. April 17, 2022
yay yay yay!!!
Anna H. February 15, 2022
This was insanely delicious. Also, I feel like total it only took about 50 minutes to make. So fast and easy.
Jessie S. February 15, 2022
Yay! Fast and easy is the name of the game! XO
success1! February 9, 2021
Banana's Foster on Cake- Yum! This is a simple yet elegant twist on banana cake. Quick and easy directions to follow, and when done appears as if you really slaved on a special dessert. I might add a few pecans in the topping next time, but it was very good as is. I consider this recipe to be a "keeper".
Jessie S. February 9, 2021
amazing! and love that description "banana foster on cake!" - just perfect!
success1! February 9, 2021
My mom loved Banana Foster and always ordered it whenever on the menu. I served this cake to my dad and my first comment to him was "mom would have loved this". The best seal of approval I can give. Great recipe, thank you!
thenenebean November 11, 2020
Light, fluffy delectable. Seriously easy and the result was delicious. Next time I’m adding rum to the caramel.
Jessie S. November 11, 2020
yay! so glad you liked and will make again. XO
eileen September 10, 2020
Didn't have bananas but plenty of fresh pears from our trees.
It turned out beautifully , will try with berries next. It is a great
cake recipe, thank you for sharing !
Jessie S. September 16, 2020
Yum and yay!! Love that it works with different fruit!!
Jenny August 18, 2020
This cake was absolutely delicious! Thank you for this recipe! The cake is best with bananas that are just ripe. They melt in your mouth. It is also delicious with vanilla ice cream. Highly recommend!!
Jessie S. August 19, 2020
Yahoo! So glad you were pleased with the recipe and yes to vanilla ice cream!!
Shannon P. June 28, 2020
This was probably one of the fanciest looking and tasting and SOUNDING desserts I ever made, and it was by far one of the easiest. I love when a recipe requires minimal effort and delivers such a fantastic result. Definitely making this the next time we have company over :)
Shannon P. June 28, 2020
Forgot to mention, I did not have a cast iron skillet! So I made the caramel sauce in one of my stainless steel pots, poured it into a 9" non stick cake pan (pre-greased), then put the bananas in the caramel and continued on with the directions. Baked in the oven for about 45 minutes and came out perfectly. No issues with caramel sticking, it flipped over wonderfully :) So for anyone without a cast iron skillet, you can just use any deep-dish cake pan you have! Ours was a deep dish 9"
Jessie S. June 28, 2020
Yahoo!!! So happy you were pleased and what a ringing endorsement. Love when peeps find my recipes both delish AND easy. That’s what’s the goal. Thanks for sharing.
Jessie S. June 28, 2020
And thank you for the tip re: a nine inch cake pan. People have asked about what to do if they don’t have a cast iron skillet and glad to hear your report of how well it works with a cake pan.
carolcpaula April 24, 2020
I wish I could take a picture of this cake. But, I just discovered that you have a instagram account. I will totally following you over there and post the picture of your banana cake. Recipe is super easy, it works perfectly. I read the reviews before making it, but at first I wanted to make it as it is! Thank you so much for sharing this delish recipe! :)
Jessie S. April 24, 2020
Oh my gosh! So excited to hear you made the recipe as-is and were pleased. I love hearing about twists and tweaks but I also love hearing when a recipe is made as I wrote it. Looking forward to seeing you over on IG! XO
carolcpaula April 24, 2020
I did post the picture through my account @lacuisinedecharlie! It is a fun page that my dog is the main character watching me cooking. lol once again, thank you so much. Now I will be following your next recipes (and old ones) over there! have a lovely day and stay safe!
Jessie S. April 24, 2020
Yes! I saw the post in stories. And reposted it! And u and your stay safe, as well.
Sara April 5, 2020
Ridiculously easy and tasty! I tucked a 1/4 cup walnuts crumbled along the edge before adding batter.mmmmmm
Jessie S. April 5, 2020
Yum and yay! The addition of walnuts sounds delish!
Jenna M. March 29, 2020
Absolutely loved this!! Thanks, Jessie!
I'll definitely make it again. I didn't get the caramel quite right (couldn't get the butter to meld all the way with the sugar - need to figure out what I did wrong), but it still turned out great. Looked beautiful and tasted so good! I love how the slight tang of the buttermilk in the cake kept the whole thing from being too sweet. It was so good with a scoop of icecream too. My husband isn't big on sweets, and he loved it as well. Such a perfect indulgent treat while we are "sheltering-in."
Jessie S. March 29, 2020
Yay yay yay!! So happy to hear this. Hope U and your husband stay safe and healthy. XO
Jenna M. March 29, 2020
Thank you!! I hope you are staying safe & healthy too!
Meribethcakes March 27, 2020
This cake was easy and delicious. It can be mixed by hand, so no need to drag out the Kitchenaid. I’ve found that it works better with bananas that are still firm. I had a few bananas that still had a tiny bit of green and some with brown spots and the slightly under ripe fruit held it’s shape better. After reading reviews, I increased the butter to 3oz and the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. I’m wondering if coconut oil would be a delicious alternative to veg oil?
Jessie S. March 27, 2020
So pleased the cake was a success! And I think coconut oil would be fab.
Diana N. January 17, 2020
This is a very simple and delicious recipe for upside-down cake that could be used as the base for any fruit. It's a keeper. However, the cake itself is FAR too sweet and it could use more topping. The second time, I used more butter and brown sugar at the bottom of the pan and added only 1/2 C sugar to the cake. Now I have it pinned to my Keepers board rather than recipe category boards so that I can always use it for my upside downs. Far faster recipe than the flour milk separation method my previous go-to used. Thanks!
Jessie S. January 17, 2020
thanks for the tips and so glad you have modified it to your liking!
keithcancook December 29, 2019
Fantastic,better than pineapple upside down cake.I made it exactly as written.
Next time I will double brown sugar for more caramelization.
Jessie S. January 17, 2020
yay!!! so happy you enjoyed,