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.