I never seem to get tired of banana cake. Banana plays so well with any other flavors you might want in a cake…nuts, chocolate, rum, caramel, coconut. Bananas lend their sweetness and moisture to baked goods, making it easier to cut back on extra fat and sugar without compromising taste or texture. Whenever I see overripe bananas on sale at the market, I buy a big package and put it in the freezer. On a cold, snowy day, it’s nice to know I have everything on hand to bake something delicious on a whim.
This banana cake somehow manages to be both comforting and fancy, a little naughty, plenty nice. The warm caramelized banana topping seeps into a tender layer of banana cake, subtly spiced with a hint of rum. Multigrain flour (you can buy it or mix up your own) lends some complexity of flavor, while cake flour insures a lighter texture. Don’t wait for another snowy day to try it!
Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ripe bananas, sliced on the bias
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup multigrain flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. dark rum
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9″ square cake pan (a 10″ springform pan would also work), add the butter, brown sugar and salt for the topping. Put in the oven to melt while the oven is heating. When the butter and sugar have melted, remove the pan from the oven and whisk the mixture together. Arrange the banana slices on top of the caramel mixture and scatter the walnuts among the bananas. Set the pan aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, mashed banana, vanilla, melted butter, eggs and rum. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, just until completely incorporated. Pour the batter onto the filling and gently spread it to the edges of the pan, trying not to disturb the banana slices. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool slightly on a wire rack, and then with a thin knife or spatula, loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream as an accompaniment.
Melissa Jerves writes about food, family and 21st century home economics on her blog, Home Baked.