Monday, June 28, 2010


Baking an upside down cake is akin to cliff diving into an ocean because the same type of questions go through your head:

Cake: will the cake flip over properly? Leap: did I jump/dive correctly?
Cake: should I have spent time baking this if it ends up looking deformed? Leap: damn, I broke my arm/face planted in the water/am paralyzed. Was it worth the few seconds of adrenaline?

Okay, perhaps cliff diving is not quite as dramatic but to me, it's all the same! I made the upside down chocolate banana cake for a family BBQ and all I wanted was for the cake to look fabulous. I wasn't concerned with the taste. I knew the rich, chocolaty cake would pair well with the banana and that the caramel top would soak through the cake to make it super moist. However, I didn't know if the caramel would stick to the pan, which would cause the banana slices to not come out with the cake. When your whole family knows of your obsession with baking, you want whatever you present to them to be completely evident of your skill with said obsession. After all, you spend all this time talking about it so the least you could do is serve up something that is delicious.

When the cake was ready, I ignored my inner baker who said to wait a few more minutes for the cake to cool and conceded to the 12 year old in me who kept on shouting, FLIP IT, FLIP IT, LET'S SEE IF IT STICKS! With my breath held, I flipped the cake over, tapped it a few times and prayed to the upside down cake gods as I lifted up the cake pan. Success! I could now confidently present the cake looking like its gorgeous self to my family members. Taste wise, it was especially lovely when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Given how well this cake worked out, I now won't feel guilty when I ask every member of my immediate and extended family who know how to use a computer if she/he has been keeping up with my blog. I'm sure I'll still get a slight eye roll since I end up asking every single time so I'll just ask, do you remember the amazing cake that I made at the family BBQ? Just imagine how many more you will be eating. In my head though I'll be thinking, that's right, SIT DOWN.

Chocolate Caramel Banana Upside Down Cake
adapted from The Food Librarian
1 stick butter
3/4 c light brown sugar
3 ripe bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 c plus 2 T unbleached all-purpose flour
6 T (1/4 c plus 2T) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs (room temp)
2 t vanilla
2/3 c buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9″ x 2″ cake pan.
2. Topping: Heat butter over medium heat until melted and foamy. Whisk in brown sugar, turn heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, for two minutes or until the mixture is thick. Spread on the bottom of the 9″ cake pan.
3. Arrange the bananas in a circle on top of the sugar mixture. Set aside.
4. Sift together flour, cocoa, soda and salt.
5. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Stir in vanilla.
6. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk (3 flour and 2 milk additions).
7. Scrape down the sides and then beat batter on high for 30 seconds.
8. Pour batter over the bananas and smooth out.
9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit on wire rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully invert onto your serving tray. Let sit at least 20 minutes before diving in.


  1. your blog is making me hungry hun!

  2. YEAH i remember this amazing cake and hell yeah i want to eat more

    (im sitting)