Banana Upside Down Cake is the perfect dessert when you want something impressive, fancy, even fussy looking. A nice change for what to do with those too-ripe bananas we all end up with at one time or another. Though this recipe for Carrot Zucchini Banana Bread is the best banana bread on the planet and Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread is beautiful and different, sometimes we want CAKE, not bread; and especially if we’re looking for a dessert. So, this cake is super special and gooey-delicious with a topping that’s caramel-banana-goodness and a moist substantial cake with a hint of chocolate.
The bananas in the topping become soft and creamy but not mushy, so if some of your bananas aren’t super blackened-ripe, all the better. And speaking of the topping, are you like me and always fearful/hopeful that your topping, that started out as the bottom, will end up staying on the cake and not sticking to the pan? I’ve seen recipes that advise letting the cake cool for several minutes on the rack before inverting and others that say to invert it immediately. Well, I’ve tried it all and for me, the no-fail way is to let the cake cool for only a few minutes before inverting onto the plate. But wait! Don’t lift that pan immediately after inverting. Leave the pan inverted on the cake for a few minutes so all the gooey topping can absorb onto the top of the cake. And THEN remove the pan for success every time.
The topping is certainly the star of Banana Upside Down Cake. But the cake itself is substantial and moist thanks to added tangy buttermilk (yes, you can make your own) and a little bit of grated zucchini. This cake is ALMOST thin enough to be more of a tart, so baking to the right doneness doesn’t take long. Test the very middle of the cake after it’s baked about 40 minutes and if just crumbs come out on your cake tester, it’s ready.
It looks very pretty served with some fresh whipped cream and extra banana slices, but it’s also amazing served with no extra toppings at all. I personally liked it better left unadorned. The edge of the cake gets almost crunchy from the glaze (best part!). This is one incredibly easy cake that will impress… incredibly.
- For the topping:
- 2-3 just ripe bananas
- ⅔ cvup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup rough-chopped walnuts (optional)
- For the cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 medium ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
- ⅓ cup finely grated zucchini (optional but awesome)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ¼-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter, place parchment in bottom of pan and grease the parchment.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix well with the ⅔ cup brown sugar. Pour this mixture into the bottom of the cake pan and spread to the edges. If including walnuts, sprinkle them over the brown sugar/butter mixture.
- Slice the just-ripe bananas in about ¼-inch slices and place them side-by-side evenly over the brown sugar and walnuts. Usually 2 bananas is enough for this depending on their size.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer place the 2 ripe bananas and grated zucchini, mix until creamy (or mash together by hand in a medium bowl).
- Add the egg while the mixer is on low speed, then add the sugars, vanilla, and melted butter. Continue to mix on low until the sugar fully incorporated and dissolved.
- Add the buttermilk and turn up the speed to mix on medium for another 30 seconds.
- Turn the mixer back to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Turn off the mixer and add desired amount of chocolate chips (I highly suggest using the mini chips) and fold them into the batter until evenly distributed.
- Pour the batter over the bananas in the cake pan. Spread to edges.
- Bake for 42-45 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out barely clean.
- Place cake pan on a rack and cool for just 5 minutes. Then invert onto serving platter and do not remove the pan for about a minute, allowing the glaze to completely absorb onto the cake.
- Remove pan and serve warm or at room temperature. Freshly whipped cream and extra banana slice can be used to top the cake but it's fabulous (fabulous!) with no toppings at all.
- Wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap, can be left at room temperature overnight.
- Recommend eating within 24 hours of baking.