Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

I love caramelized bananas. The depth of flavor is like no other.

Browned butter, brown sugar, and the natural banana sugars create the best tasting bananas ever.

CCaramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake - Have ripe bananas? This cake has their name all over it! Dripping with rich, buttery, caramel sauce!

I wanted to pluck each and every one of the bananas off the cake. I used restraint while I served the cake at a party, but it wasn’t easy.

I had never had a banana upside-down cake but figured why not. The cake is a spinoff on the The Best Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, which is one of my all-time favorites. It’s like having bananas foster, one of my favorite desserts, baked onto the cake.

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake - Have ripe bananas? This cake has their name all over it! Dripping with rich, buttery, caramel sauce!

The cake base is adapted from my favorite buttermilk coffee cake that I’ve used for Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes CakeCranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss CakePeaches and Cream Fluffy Muffin CakeCream Cheese-Swirled Cherry and Mixed Berries Cake, and more.

I love this easy, no-mixer base because cakes always turn out supremely moist, springy, and fluffy thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. That trifecta of moisturizing and tenderizing ingredients makes it impossible to have a dry cake.

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake - Have ripe bananas? This cake has their name all over it! Dripping with rich, buttery, caramel sauce!

While baking, the bananas caramelize in a butter and brown sugar bath giving the cake it’s signature glistening top. There’s so much rich browed butter and alluring caramel flavor which makes the cake irresistible.

Interestingly, there are no bananas in the cake base itself, just on top, adding a perfect amount of banana flavor that goes so well with the caramel.

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake - Have ripe bananas? This cake has their name all over it! Dripping with rich, buttery, caramel sauce!

The buttery caramel sauce seeps down into the cake after inverting, which adds even more moisture to an already very tender and supremely soft cake.

Take the cake to the next level by drizzling salted caramel sauce over the top. May as well go all out.

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake - Have ripe bananas? This cake has their name all over it! Dripping with rich, buttery, caramel sauce!

I find that banana bread gets better on the second day after the flavors marry and this cake was no exception.

If you have a few ripe bananas to use no one will complain when they see this come out of the oven.

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake - Have ripe bananas? This cake has their name all over it! Dripping with rich, buttery, caramel sauce!

Print Print Recipe

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

Browned butter, brown sugar, and natural banana sugars create the best tasting bananas ever. The cake is moist, springy, and fluffy thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. While baking, the bananas caramelize in a butter and brown sugar bath giving the cake it’s signature glistening top. There’s so much rich browed butter and alluring caramel flavor making the cake irresistible. The buttery caramel sauce seeps down into the cake after inverting, adding more moisture to an already very tender and supremely soft cake. Optionally drizzle with salted caramel before serving.

Yield: one 9-inch round cake, 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: about 38 to 40 minutes

Total Time: about 2 hours, for cooling

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
about 3 extra-large ripe bananas or 4 small/medium, sliced in half horizontally and then sliced in vertically (if banana is 'fat', slice each half into 3 or 4 long vertical pieces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (or Powdered Buttermilk, use 2 tablespoons with the dry ingredients + 1/2 cup water added with the wet)
1/3 cup sour cream (lite okay, or plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
salted caramel sauce for drizzling, optional (homemade or storebought)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch springform cake pan with cooking spray; set aside. A regular 9-inch round cake pan is likely going to be too shallow and is not recommended.
  2. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Pour the butter into the cake pan. Use your finger to run a bit of butter around the side of the pan to ensure it's well-greased.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.
  5. Fan banana slices (cut side down) out from center of pan like the spokes of a wheel covering the entire pan with banana slices. The less gaps and space between bananas, the better. Use short pieces to fill in gaps.
  6. Add 8 to 10 short banana pieces around sides of pan (cut side down), spaced uniformly; set pan aside.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt; set aside.
  8. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
  9. Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don't overmix or try to stir them smooth.
  10. Gently turn batter out into prepared pan, being careful to not disturb the banana slices on the bottom or sides of pan. Fill pan to about 3/4-full. If you have a little extra batter, discard it rather than overfilling your pan (was not a problem for me but pan sizes and depths vary).
  11. Place pan on a cookie sheet as insurance to catch anything that may leak from springform pan and bake for about 38 to 40 minutes, or until center is set, not jiggly, lightly golden browned, and springy to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Only go down about 1-inch with the toothpick, not all the way to the bottom where you'll hit gooey caramelized bananas.
  12. Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool for at least 1 hour before inverting, slicing, and serving. Optionally before serving, drizzle with salted caramel sauce. Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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61 Responses to “Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake”

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    1
    Belinda@themooblushbaker — July 19, 2014 at 2:13 am

    LOVE IT! The pictures here are maing me hungry for cake at, even after dinner! I have always caramel bananas before putting them in any thing; caramel and me are dangerous pair. Would love some coconut whip to go with this too.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 3:43 am

      Oh coconut whip would be most excellent with this! Thanks for saying hi, Belinda :)

      Reply

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    Maryea {happy healthy mama} — July 19, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Caramelized bananas=heaven in my book. This looks fabulous. I would have totally wanted to pick all the gooey bananas off of the top, too.

    Reply

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    lisatberry — July 19, 2014 at 4:29 am

    One of my favorite restaurants in town to go to for special occasions does Bananas Foster flambe table side and this cake totally reminds me of that, but I can do it at home. I made your pineapple upside cake and that was a huge hit…can’t wait to make this one. You’re brilliant!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      I didn’t know you made the pineapple cake – thanks for LMK you tried it and that it was a huge hit!

      This cake is totally like bananas foster on top of a cake! If you like bananas foster, you’re going to love this! Flambe tableside is the BEST. The presentations are always so flashy and showy – love it!

      Reply

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    Paula — July 19, 2014 at 5:44 am

    I have fond memories of your caramelized banana PB upside down choc cake I made last year for my birthday–and it just so happens I have another one coming in less than 2 weeks. This cake has given me a delicious idea…it reminds me of bananas foster so maybe some coconut vanilla bean ice cream would go nicely with it too!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Wow, that’s some interesting timing, isn’t it! And I had forgotten about thatcaramelized banana PB upside down choc cake – that’s what happens when you make a lot of cakes I guess! Thanks for reminding me of my own recipe…LOL :) And I DO remember you making it for your bday and I remember you sort of debating about it and deciding about it for awhile and I remember thinking, gosh, I hope it lives up to expectations and glad it did! And glad that this cake has given you some ideas.

      This is bananas foster on top of a cake – yes! And some coconut vanilla ice cream or whipped full fat coconut cream even would be lovely!

      Reply

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — July 19, 2014 at 5:51 am

    This upside down cake sounds so good!! I love caramelized bananas so much. Can’t wait to try this!

    Reply

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    Medha @ Whisk & Shout — July 19, 2014 at 7:10 am

    I’ve never had caramelized bananas OR upside-down cake, and this looks to pretty not to try! :)

    Reply

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    Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice — July 19, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I wish I could just dive right into this cake, Averie! It loosk gorgeous! To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of pineapple upside down cakes, so I’m thrilled that you created a banana one! Pinned!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for pinning and glad you’re a bigger banana fan than pineapple – perfect for this recipe!

      Reply

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    Mary Frances — July 19, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Caramelized bananas … I didn’t think I would ever say something would look better than pineapple on an upside down cake! I have so many bananas on hand and banana bread is getting a little repetitive. Pinning!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for pinning and yes to mixing things up with your ripe bananas!

      Reply

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    Ashton — July 19, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Holy smokes girl!! This cake is genius, and I am completely in love!! I mean, just look at that ooey, gooey goodness! I’m just dying. Pinned :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for pinning and hope your weekend is relaxing! :)

      Reply

  10. #
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    Layla @Brunchtime Baker — July 19, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Oh dear heavens this looks way too good! Genius idea!

    Reply

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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — July 19, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Bananas and caramel are made to be together in a dessert! LOVE this cake! Pinned!

    Reply

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    Paula — July 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Love this, Averie, reminds me of Bananas Foster that’s so popular where I live. Caramelized bananas paired with a tender cake, it’s a def winner! I bet your guests where fighting over the last slice! Pinning.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Bananas foster on top of a cake, yes :)

      Reply

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    Ala — July 19, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Forget self-restraint, Averie–if that cake had been sitting in my kitchen, the bananas would have been picked off a long time ago! (I’m notorious for “picking”–i.e. a dozen Asian pastries get back to my home and they are all missing the crispy edges and the decorative fruit. Whoops.) I’ve never tried an upside-down cake either but was intrigued by the pineapple–and now by the banana–yum!

    Reply

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    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — July 19, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Bananas, caramel, and cake?? I wish I could’ve been at that party — I would’ve eaten half the cake by myself! Especially since I know how incredible your cakes are after sneaking half of the samples at BHF. ;) I’ve actually never made a true traditional pineapple upside down cake. My first upside down cake was blueberry, and I loved it so much that I never bothered to try the pineapple version!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      This cake blows those samples away :) For me to say this is my favorite cake base, it’s truly a special one! I know you’d love it! And blueberry upside down sounds amazing!

      Reply

      • Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        Ohmygosh, then can I move down to SD and be your official taste tester?? I promise I’ll give everything an A++ and 5 gold stars! ;)

  15. #
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    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — July 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Bananas on bananas. This sounds amazing!

    Reply

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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — July 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    You had me at caramelized banana! Holy cow, I would have peeled the bananas off too! I need to try your coffee cake recipe. It looks SO good!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 19th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Dorothy this is my favorite cake base. This thing can do no wrong. I have relayed and parlayed it, tweaked it with everything from pineapples to cinnamon, and it always works!

      Reply

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    Katie — July 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Exception to my anti-banana stance: caramelized or grilled bananas. The heat brings out the delicious. I want this, in ice cream form, right now.

    Reply

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    Lisa | Mummy Made.It — July 19, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Banana and caramel are a match made in foodie heaven! They compliment each other so well.
    Your cake looks so beautiful…but not too beautiful that it would stop me devouring it!

    Reply

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    Rachel @ Bakerita — July 19, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    This looks so deliciously amazing!! Love those caramelized bananas, and the photos are gorgeous. Pinned!

    Reply

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    Julia @Vikalinka — July 20, 2014 at 2:50 am

    Those sugar glazed bananas look incredible, Averie! You self-control is pretty impressive considering how gorgeous the cake looks!

    Reply

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    Alice // Hip Foodie Mom — July 20, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Averie, seriously gorgeous gorgeous cake!!! The photos are stunning!!!

    Reply

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    amber — July 20, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Bonjour Averie!

    This recipe looks good. I’ve only ever had caramelized bananas once, which I made as a topping for crepes and my kids wouldn’t touch it (sensitive to how things look I guess?) which was bittersweet, because I made it for them, but more for me, haha!

    I really like your blog- you have some great recipes. I’m interested to try the caramelized banana upside down cake, as it looks way more appetizing and when my kids here the word “cake” they’ll come running. Also, I’ve never made a cake with buttermilk and would love to try it. The pineapple cake you previously posted seems more appropriate for summer… but both look delicious! Thanks for sharing both.

    I’m glad to have found your blog! You have A LOT of great baking recipes here :) (currently eyeing those carmelitas)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 20th, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks for finding me and glad you like what you see!

      Reply

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    Valerie — July 20, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Oh! What a scrumptious way to shake up the bread-y world of bananas!! :D

    Reply

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    marla — July 20, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Oh Averie…such a spectacular cake!!!!

    Reply

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    Lori — July 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    OMG, just when I thought an upside down cake could get any better, in walks the banana upside down cake with caramel!

    Reply

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    Jessica @ Sweet Menu — July 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    What a gorgeous looking cake! So moist and fluffy!
    How do you get your photos to always look so white, bright and crisp? Do you use a light box?

    Reply

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    Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen — July 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Averie you have outdone yourself with this gorgeous caramelized banana upside down cake – it looks like pure caramel banana gold and I can just imagine how wonderful it tastes!! :)

    Reply

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    Shelley Foerster — July 20, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Wow this looks delicious! I’ve never had the pineapple version but this one looks way better! It’s a bummer I just used up my two ripe bananas on banana cookies. I guess I’ll have to wait a week to make this :(

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 21st, 2014 at 9:26 am

      And they don’t have to be super ripe, not as ripe as what’s necessary for banana bread (which is almost too ripe for this recipe because they’ll fall apart when you try to slice them) so just a couple days is all you probably need to wait :)

      Reply

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    Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine — July 21, 2014 at 5:55 am

    yes, yes, yes. I love everything about this!

    Reply

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    marcie — July 21, 2014 at 8:10 am

    This cake is beautiful, and I love the caramelized banana topping…or bottom in this case. Pinning!

    Reply

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    Ciara (@My Fussy Eater) — July 21, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Caramelized bananas in an upside down cake? Genius! This looks so amazing!

    Reply

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    So gorgeous, love that caramel topping!

    Reply

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    Shikha @ Shikha la mode — July 22, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I actually find that pineapple upside down cake can be too sweet, so this is perfect!! I love bananas too.

    Reply

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    Laura Dembowski — July 22, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Caramelized bananas are super tasty! I bet they’re even better on top of this cake.

    Reply

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    Kerrie — July 24, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I just made this cake while visiting my boyfriends parents over the weekend. IT WAS AMAZING! I think it baked a tad too long, but because of how moist it was, it was perfectly ok. In fact, the edges were so crispy, I think it was a blessing in disguise! Now I want to make it in one of those lasagna or brownie pans that only makes edge pieces!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 24th, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Thanks for trying the cake and the first time you made it, it’s a little hard to gauge when it’s done but now you know you could maybe bake 5 mins less or so. Then again, sounds like you loved it as is! Thanks for trying the recipe & telling me you loved it!

      Reply

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    Christy @ My Invisible Crown — July 26, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I had the worst memory of upside down cakes growing up. My mom was a great cook but we always had the one with canned pineapple and those super red fake cherries…I was not a fan. I made a peach, raspberry upside-down last year and it changed my mind. Who knew it could be anything you wanted? This however looks incredible!!! I will make this cake very, very soon!

    Reply

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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — July 29, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Could this cake be any more gorgeous?! It’s 1AM and all I want is a slice of this cake along with your slushie!

    Reply

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    Silvia — August 1, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I took this cake to a friend’s house, she really liked it and so did I. The only minor issue is that it was a little too sweet for me. I might use a little less white sugar next time, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing! And I loved the consistency of the cake, great to use it as a base for other desserts. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply

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    Nicole — September 20, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I just made this for the first time and it is hands down
    my favorite upside down cake recipe.
    The cake turned out perfectly. Will definitely be trying out your other recipes!
    Thank you so much

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 20th, 2014 at 7:30 am

      Make sure to check out the pineapple upside down cake then too! It’s one of my fave cakes I’ve EVER MADE! It’s linked in this post. So glad you loved the banana one!! :) LMK if you try other recipes!

      Reply

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    Maria @ Maria Tiramisu — November 1, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    What a lovely cake! I’ve also had sweet buttery bananas on my mind lately. I was thinking of making banana fritters similar to the ones served in Thai restaurants. But I’m really tempted to make your cake too. I guess I’ll just have to make both. :-) I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Reply

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