The Pineapple Upside Down Cake has a rich history that dates all the way back to the 1920s when canned pineapples were readily available at reasonable prices and baking cakes in a cast iron skillet was the norm.
To be honest, I’ve never liked the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I’ve never thought that it was anything special, just an ordinary butter cake topped with superbly sweet pineapple that tries to imitate the sharp and tropical flavor of its fresh counterparts, but to no avail. And although the unnaturally bright maraschino cherries have always excited children, including me long ago, that bland ball of sugar and red dye no longer deceives me. You see, I do not particularly have a sweet tooth. I crave for dark chocolate, but I stay away from milk and white chocolate. You get what I mean.
So I decided to try an alternative version of this Pineapple Upside Down Cake because I quite like the concept of inverting the cake to reveal a glistening mosaic of delicious topping. And you only know if you’re successful AFTER you invert it, which means once it’s done, it’s done. No turning back. I decided to use fresh bananas. And because bananas aren’t juicy, unlike pineapples, and hence naturally not as sweet, I decided to caramelize them a little, just so I don’t stray too much from the original taste.
Upside Down Cakes are normally made in cast iron skillets. But I didn’t have one and that’s ok because I made mine in a standard 9-inch cake tin and it turned out just as beautiful. I just had to melt the butter and brown sugar in a small pan first till caramelized, before pouring it into my cake tin and arranging the banana slices on top. Just an additional pan to wash. That’s all.
If you’re a fan of bananas, or you have bananas that are ripening way faster than you can finish them all, or you have a bag full of frozen bananas just waiting for you to make something delicious out of them, this Upside Down Caramelized Banana Cake is just the thing for you. You don’t have to use super ripe bananas for the topping because they’re going absorb and be sweetened by all that caramelized sugar and butter mixture anyway, but I definitely recommend using ripe bananas for the batter itself. The riper, the sweeter, and the less sugar you’ll have to use, and hence the healthier and more natural and absolutely yummy-ier 🙂
Serve this cake warm with a nice dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and you’ve got quite a cake to scream for 🙂
Upside Down Caramelized Banana Cake
2 tbsp unsalted butter
40g brown sugar
1 ½ bananas, sliced
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
250g white sugar
50g brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
3 bananas, mashed
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Place 2 tablespoon butter and brown sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble for a few minutes, until the butter turns evenly brown and is caramelized. Stir frequently to prevent butter from burning.
Pour the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch cake tin and tip the tin back and forth to spread the brown butter evenly. Arrange the bananas.
In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and white and brown sugar. Once combined, whisk in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients, stirring until combined. Do not overmix. Then add in the mashed bananas and milk. Mix until combined.
Pour batter over bananas in the prepared tin. Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serve warm with ice cream.
This cake recipe has also been feature on The Answer Is Cake. It really means a lot to know that someone out there is actually really interested in your recipe and willing to dedicate a post just for you. What I really admire about Patricia is that while she’s a great baker herself and loves big successful chefs such as Nigella Lawson, she believes that the most ground-breaking creative recipes come from smaller bloggers and she’s dedicated to helping them share their recipe with the rest of the world.
To all you out there who have just stepped into the blogging scene, don’t give up! Don’t be afraid or intimidated by those at the top. With hard work and self-belief, we’ll make it up there one day, sharing joy with a much larger audience than we’d initially anticipated 🙂