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!

MY OTHER RECIPES

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!

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.

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.
Only Eats

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79 comments on “Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake”

  1. 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?

  2. 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!! :)

  3. 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 :(

    • 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 :)

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

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

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

  7. So gorgeous, love that caramel topping!

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

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

  10. 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!

    • 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!

  11. 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!

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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

    • 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!

  15. 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.

  16. Made this for my Christmas Eve dinner. Amazing! Gotta have the salted caramel sauce! Beware of lots of butter (possibly too much used in recipe?) leaking from bottom of springform pan while baking, so be sure to use foil-lined baking sheet under springform pan. Delicious! Highly recommended!

    • The butter (if it doesn’t leak) all turns into the most decadent caramel sauce so there’s not really too much (plus you can never have too much butter…haha!) but if your springform pan is on the leaky or finicky side, this recipe could drive you bonkers. I have used this recipe with an older leakprone springform pan and had a total mess – I can totally relate! But in the right pan, it’s great! Glad you found the cake delicious and highly recommended and how nice it was your Christmas Eve cake!

  17. I recently made this recipe, and the middle of the cake is a under-baked. I left it in longer than recommended, until the top was so dark it was almost black, but it’s still not as done as I’d like. Do you have any ideas on how to get it fully baked without it turning to charcoal? I’m definitely going to try it again, the bananas and edges of the cake were wonderful.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I would suggest using a little less buttermilk/oil/sour cream or wet ingredients, and/or bumping up the flour a bit more. Basically create a less-moist dough going into the oven and that should hopefully help the situation out. Thanks for wanting to try again!

  18. I just made the cake again and it turned out wonderful. I added a little more flour like you suggested and the resulting cake is golden, moist, and most importantly, fully baked. Everyone loved it, and I’m going to try it with peaches for my grandfather’s birthday in a few weeks. Thank you for the recipe and the help.

  19. Well, I’ve made the banana upside down cake again for a birthday, and considering the reactions, I think I’ll be making a lot in the next year.
    I also tried the recipe with peaches. I used frozen peaches due to a severe lack of fresh peaches in my area and so I had to bake it about 20 minutes longer. I did find the peaches turned to soft and limp putting them on the side of the cake was useless. Other than that it tuned out very wonderful and my grandfather in particular loved it!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and it’s fun to experiment with other fruits/variations and glad that overall the peaches worked for you. Fresh peaches stand up better to baking then frozen but I totally understand about it not being peach season! Glad that the cake was a hit judging by the reactions as you said!

  20. You always have the best recipes! I’ve made several of them and they’ve always come out great. I got a new cast iron skillet and wanted to bake something in it because I’ve never used a cast iron skillet for baking. I made your Pineapple Upside Down Cake in it and it came out beautiful and yummy! I have had people tell that the your Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread is the best banana bread they’ve ever had! I can’t wait to try the Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you in a cast iron skillet! And thanks for all the compliments! So glad that the c.c. banana bread has gotten such rave reviews, too! Wonderful to hear :)

  21. Great idea! I made it tonight and was so happy to be able to use an entire bunch of overripe bananas. I guess I needed to cook it longer, because the bananas were still very soft and goopy. I was hoping they’d be more like candy. Still, delicious. Thanks!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and it’s hard to tell with bananas sometimes how long to cook them, and in this case, they’re upside down and hidden from view so it’s a blind guess. When I make this cake I use ripe bananas, but not OVER ripe, because the softer they are, the trickier it can be baking with them without them being mushy but sounds like the cake was delicious and you’re happy :)

  22. Made this for Easter and everyone loved it! I had made the caramel sauce but no one thought it needed extra with all the caramelized banana flavors! I used gluten free flours and it worked great. Would have been good with whipped cream or ice-cream too. Definitely will make this again!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad you didn’t even need the extra caramel and yes would be great with ice cream or whipped topping. Great to hear it came out nicely as GF!

  23. Delicious! Very easy to make. It’s doesn’t look very appealing but tastes so good. Thanks for the easy step by step directions and the tip to place the cookie sheet under the spring form pan! Saved me a huge mess. The drippings from the pan were even good.

  24. Hi, I was wondering two things, first-I live at altitude. Should I use the usual fix which is adding an extra tbsp of flour? Also I was wondering if this can be made in a non-stick bundt pan? I just discovered your site and plan to spend some time here. Thanks!

    • I don’t live at altitude and have zero expertise in giving suggestions with that. I would add extra flour if that’s something you normally do.

      I have a feeling that the sticking issue in a Bundt pan could be a problem so I would make it flat in a pan and line with foil (or parchment at the very least). LMK how it goes!

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