Upside Down Banana Cake

This isn't a fancy cake. No frosting, no layers, nothing glamorous about it. Deb from Smitten Kitchen calls these "everyday cakes," which I think is a perfect description. It's a tea cake, perfect for cold winter afternoons when you just want a big slice of cake.

This cake is really not so different from banana bread, just with the bananas on the bottom.

It's been a while since I've done a step-by-step recipe, but I've provided process shots for this post. I've stopped doing them in the past couple of months; it took too long, I guess, but I also started to concentrate on taking better photos of the finished product. There's still a lot of room for improvement, but food photography around here has made a lot of progress, I think.

Anyways, here's my upside down banana cake, step by step.

First, make the caramel topping for the cake. We're going to use the dry method to make the caramel, which means we'll melt the granulated sugar directly, rather than adding water first.

Place the granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a fairly deep pot.

The sugar will begin melting. Give it a little stir to evenly distribute the heat.

It'll turn golden-brown...

Add the butter. Be careful here, as the sugar will bubble and spit.

Mix vigorously.

I forgot to take a picture of this, but spread the caramel evenly on the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Do the best you can, since the caramel will set very quickly.

Slice the bananas and place them on the bottom of the pan, on top of the caramel.

Whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.

Whip in the egg.

And the vanilla.

Fold in about 1/3 of the flour.

Mix in about 1/3 of the buttermilk. Keep on alternating between the buttermilk and flour, until it is all incorporated.

Plop that in your pan.

Bake, and you will get this beautiful, delicious, unassuming cake. (I lowered the baking time to 350 degrees from Smitten Kitchen's original recipe, since 400 degrees caused the edges to burn slightly and created a large dome on the cake.)

The buttermilk cake is soft and fluffy, and not too sweet, paring perfectly with the caramel and banana topping.

Enjoy, all! Happy Presidents' Day!

Upside Down Banana Cake

Click here for the printer-friendly recipe
Cake batter adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the Caramel Topping
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
3 medium ripe bananas, sliced

For the Cake Batter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

Make the caramel topping. Place the granulated sugar in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. The sugar will begin to melt. Give it a couple of stirs to evenly distribute the heat.

When the sugar turns golden brown, add the butter. Be careful; the sugar will bubble and spit. Stir until the caramel is smooth. Spread the caramel on the bottom of the pan. Work quickly, since the caramel will set quickly.

Slice the banana into ½-inch thick pieces. Place on the bottom of the cake.

Make the cake batter. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.Fold about ⅓ of the dry ingredients into the butter/egg mixture. Mix in ⅓ of the buttermilk.

Alternate between adding the two until both are entirely incorporated. Evenly spread the batter over the banana slices in the cake pan.

Bake the cake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.


Carmelitas {Mystery Dish Challenge}

Trust me when I say these are the most delicious cookie bars ever. Carmelitas are a heavenly combination of gooey caramel and half-melted chocolate chips sandwiched in between oatmeal cookie crumbs. It's practically impossible to eat these by hand. You'll need the help of a fork and napkin, and a very strong will to control yourself from eating everything in sight.

This month, I am guest posting for the Mystery Dish Challenge. Basically, it's a monthly challenge hosted by Dani Carroll from See Hubby Cook in which 12 bloggers create a dish of their fancy, choosing a couple ingredients out of a list of 8 - 10. For these carmelitas, I chose chocolate and cream.

Admittedly, Carmelitas are rich and gooey, so I wouldn't recommend making every day...But it's nice to treat yourself to some once in a while, especially during these polar vortex days. Northwestern doesn't believe in canceling school, even if it drops 20 degrees below zero and the high is zero. Frostbite shuttles are my new best friend.

Here's how you make the Carmelitas.

First, melt the butter. Add vanilla to it. Then add brown sugar. Then add flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.

Hand mix it all together nice and good until it's a crumbly mixture. It may be appear moist at first because of the melted butter, but after letting it sit, it'll take on a more crumbly texture.

Press half of the oatmeal cookie mixture onto the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan (I used a 9 inch circular cake pan, and it worked perfectly well.). While this bakes for 10 minutes, melt the caramel and heavy cream mixture. Alternatively, you may make homemade caramel sauce. I went the shortcut way because it's faster.

Here's the caramel sauce, all melted and ready. And just in time! The bottom layer of the Carmelitas is ready. See the nice and golden edges?

Get those chocolate chips ready. I used a combination of milk chocolate and semi-sweet.

Add the caramel sauce and sprinkle the remaining oatmeal cookie crumbs on top. Beautiful.

And here's the finished product. The hard part is waiting for it cool enough to slice.

Serve and enjoy at room temperature, with a tall glass of cold milk!





Adapted from Lulu the Baker
Yield: 12 servings | Time: 45 minutes


For Caramel Sauce:
32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Note: Alternatively, you may use 1 ¼ cup homemade or store-bought caramel sauce.

For the Oatmeal Cookie Layer:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

For the Oatmeal Cookie Layer:

Melt the butter, and then add vanilla to it. Then add brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix by hand until combined. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan. 9 inch circular pan works too. (If using a 9 x 13 inch pan, simply double the recipe and adjust the baking time.)

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

For Caramel Sauce:
Meanwhile, use microwave to heat caramels and heavy cream in 30-second intervals, stirring well after each interval until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you may combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel sauce over chocolate chips. Then crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel layer.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. Store in air-tight container, and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!


Here are the rest of the bloggers participating in January's Mystery Dish Challenge, if you're interested in checking them out!

1.  Carmelitas by Pass the Cocoa

2.  Strawberry Champagne Cupcake Trifles by The Dessert Chronicles

3.  Strawberry Orange Stuffed French Toast by I Dig Pinterest

4.  Strawberry Orange Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips by Joyful Healthy Eats

5.  Chocolate Strawberry Pudding by See Hubby Cook

6.  Chocolate Doughnuts with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing by Chez CateyLou

7.  Champorado (Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding) by The Pajama Chef

8.  Whole Wheat Orange Scones with Vanilla Cream Glaze by The Well Floured Kitchen

9.  Chocolate-Filled Cream Puffs with Strawberry Sauce by Culinary Couture

10.  Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes

by Yummy Healthy Easy

11.  Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milkshake by I Want Crazy

12.  Strawberry Rose Chocolate Verrines by Baking a Moment