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.
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.
The cake base is adapted from my favorite buttermilk coffee cake that I’ve used for Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes Cake, Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake, Peaches and Cream Fluffy Muffin Cake, Cream 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
- 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.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
- 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.
- Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.
- 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.
- Add 8 to 10 short banana pieces around sides of pan (cut side down), spaced uniformly; set pan aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Cake base adapted from Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes Cake
All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
40+ Banana Bread recipes – You can never have too many
The Best Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – So soft, moist and really is The Best! A cheery, happy cake that’s sure to put a smile on anyone’s face
Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread – Banana bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding – Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that’s so good!
Salted Caramel Buttermilk Brown Sugar Muffins – Soft, fluffy muffins that are dripping with salted caramel
Carmelitas – With a name like that, they have to be good. A reader favorite dripping with caramel
The Best and The Easiest Salted Caramel Sauce – Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could
Salted Caramel Sticky Buns – The easiest stickiest buns ever & ready in 30 minutes! Drenched in salted caramel for maximum sticky-ness
Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze – My all-around favorite banana bread recipe when you have 2-3 bananas. Moist and perfect every time
Spiced Apple Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – The glaze is my favorite glaze I have on my entire site. It’s crazy good. The easy banana-apple-based cake comes together in minutes with a whisk
Six-Banana Banana Bread – Yes, 6 bananas in 1 loaf means it’s super soft, moist & robust banana flavor! Now you know what to do with all your ripe bananas