Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake — This upside down cake is super moist thanks to the combination of sour cream, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. It’s so easy to make, and the caramelized banana flavor is impossible to resist! 

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

The Best 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. This upside down cake recipe is a spinoff on my 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 to make Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes 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 the combination of 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 banana cake was no exception. If you have a few ripe bananas to use up, no one will complain when they see this come out of the oven!

slice of Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake on white plate with fork

Banana Upside-Down Cake Ingredients

For this ooey, gooey banana cake, you’ll need the following basic ingredients: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Light brown sugar
  • Ripe bananas 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Egg 
  • Buttermilk
  • Sour cream
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla extract

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake on white platter

How to Make Banana Upside-Down Cake

Melt the butter in the microwave, then pour it into a 9-inch springform cake pan. Use your fingers to make sure the butter is in every crevice of that pan, then sprinkle with brown sugar. Lay the sliced bananas over the brown sugar, making sure bits of banana are covering every inch of that pan. 

Then, make the cake batter by combining the wet and dry ingredients in two separate bowls, then stir them together. Pour the batter over the bananas and bake the cake on a cookie sheet (just in case anything leaks from the springform pan). 

You’ll know the banana upside-down cake is finished baking when it’s golden on top and the center is set. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least an hour before inverting and serving. 

How Ripe Should My Bananas Be? 

You actually don’t want your bananas to be too ripe when using them for this upside down cake. If you use bananas that are overripe, they’ll fall apart in this cake. Your bananas should definitely be on the riper side, and just barely starting to get brown spots. 

Should I Line my Springform Pan with Foil? 

Maybe! Older pans may be prone to leaking, which means your banana upside-down cake won’t have as much caramelized sauce on top. If you’re nervous about your pan leaking, feel free to line the bottom with aluminum foil to be safe. 

slice of Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake topped with caramel sauce

Tips for Making Banana Upside-Down Cake

If you don’t have sour cream on hand, feel free to use plain Greek yogurt instead. And if you don’t have regular buttermilk, you can use powdered buttermilk in its place (just add water to the batter to even things out. I’ve given instructions in the recipe card below). 

Note that it’s so important that you let this cake cool in the pan for at least an hour before inverting it. If you try to invert this cake too quickly, it’ll likely fall apart and you’ll have a huge mess on your hands. 

Also, you should use a springform pan for this, not a regular 9-inch cake pan. A regular cake pan will likely be too shallow for this cake recipe, and you definitely do not want this cake to overflow in the oven! 

sliced Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

More Banana Desserts: 

  • Six-Banana Banana Chocolate Chip Cake – Yes, 6 bananas in 1 cake means it’s super SOFT, moist, and has robust banana flavor with chocolate chips in EVERY bite!! EASY and one bowl! 
  • Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies — These cookies are soft, moist, and oh-so chewy. They taste like banana bread and chocolate chip cookies rolled into one dessert!
  • Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze — Fudgy is the only word that describes these bars! They’re the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero trace of cakiness.
  • Six-Banana Banana Bread — Not sure what to do with overripe bananas you have on hand? Make this Six-Banana Banana Bread! This is the best banana bread recipe EVER — it’s so moist and flavorful! 
  • Upside-Down Banana Bread Cake — This is an easy recipe that’s baked in an 8×8-inch pan with banana slices and a heavenly butter and brown sugar topping that caramelizes as the cake bakes.
  • Pineapple Coconut Oil Banana Bread — This bread is incredibly moist and is ever so slightly coconut flavored thanks to the coconut oil in the batter. You’ll definitely want seconds of this easy banana bread recipe! 

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

This banana upside down cake is super moist thanks to the combo of sour cream, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. That caramelized banana flavor is so good!

Yield: 9-inch cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

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)

Instructions

  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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 443 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 64mg Sodium: 232mg Carbohydrates: 61g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 46g Protein: 7g

Even More Easy Cake Recipes: 

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting — This is the easiest, from-scratch yellow cake and it tastes like a million bucks. This yellow cake recipe always turns out supremely moist, springy, soft and fluffy cake thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil.

Strawberries and Cream Poke Cake — This Strawberry Poke Cake uses just four ingredients and is a hit at parties and potlucks! It’s a moist, refreshing dessert you’ll definitely want seconds of! 

Turtle Chocolate Poke Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It’s so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!

83 comments on “Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake”

  1. This is my absolute favourite cake recipe ever- it is SO GOOD!I’ve made it dozens of times and it’s always such a winner. Easy, perfectly moist, great texture and omg, all that toffee-banana goodness on top is just to die for!I keep emergency buttermilk and sour cream in the freezer now so i can just whip it up any time I’ve ever got old bananas sitting around in my fruit bowl …….which tends to happen a lot more than it used to now lol because damnit this recipe is way too awesome!!!! :D

    Rating: 5

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