I can't say that Upside down cakes are a staple around here. Though mind you, Mr. Hubby does love the pineapple version of it provided it's made from scratch.
But lately, I've been seeing versions of the banana upside-down cake quite a lot all over the blogosphere. So Afternoon Tea seemed like a perfect time to make one to go with Ham & Tarragon finger sandwiches.
I also found ripe red bananas that remind of smaller sweeter plantains that I decided to use. Mind you, if I have to make this again, I'll probably just end up using organic yellow bananas because Mr. Hubby buys them each week like they're going out of fashion, so I almost always have plenty of these lying around.
The whole thing takes no more than an hour to put together so it is perfect for a lazy Sunday.
As always, I'm using my staple cake recipe that never lets me down and I only ever use the thick pure Vanilla bean paste - none of that extract business for me. And you can forget about the imitation nonsense. Feel free to forgo the rum or Marsala.
I used some only because I had the Marsala lying around the house. I do however recommend using a cast-iron skillet. It retains all that excellent uniform heat and bakes the whole thing quicker and perfectly.
So if you're like me and are always looking for clever ways to use bananas, I think you'll like this one a lot.
Banana Upside Down Cake
For the banana topping:
4 tbs. butter, unsalted
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbs. packed brown suga
1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste 1 tbsp Marsala or rum 4-5 medium ripe bananas, (about 1-1/4 lbs) - red or yellow
For the cake:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted softened butter
3/4 cup regular granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F.
Banana: Peel and discard the threads. Also, cut away the ends. If using red bananas, they are small enough that you can slice lengthwise into 2 halves and set aside. If using long yellow bananas, cut into pieces and then slit lengthwise into halves.
Eggs: Crack into a bowl. Discard the shells and beat with a fork until homogeneous.
Dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, in a small bowl and set aside.
For the topping:
heat the butter, brown sugar, salt in a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the stovetop.
Stir until the butter and sugar are liquefied and start to bubble.
Remove from heat and stir in the Marsala or rum. Add the pure vanilla bean paste and set aside.
Arrange the bananas cut side down in the pan.
For the cake:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a medium bowl using a sturdy spatula, beat the butter with the granulated sugar & vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, stopping the mixer between the additions and scraping down the sides.
On slow speed, add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the milk , then 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk.
Mix only until they're just incorporated. Do not over mix.
It is easier to spread the batter over the bananas if you drop the batter in the four corners of the pan in quarters.
Empty the creamy batter over the bananas in the skillet in the four corners and smooth over with a spatula.
Bake the cake for approx. 35-40 minutes, until the cake feels done when you press it in the center. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out relatively clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
Run a knife around the outside of the cake to help it release from the pan, and turn it out onto a serving platter or cooling rack, wearing oven mitts and taking care to avoid drips from hot
caramel. Any caramel bits that may have stuck in the pan can be spooned back over the warm cake.
To serve: This cake is best served the day it's made, preferably while warm, but can be served at room temperature. Feel free to serve it with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.