In this Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake recipe, a moist, tender, rum-infused spice cake is topped with drippy caramel and sliced bananas to make the most delicious twist on the classic upside-down cake. One bite is all it takes to fall in love with this dessert mashup for life.
We’ve officially entered full-on cabin fever mode around these parts. The snow drifts cover the bottom third of our windows and the wind bends the pine trees outside just beyond our patio and all I can do is sit inside, clad in wool socks with a chunky blanket around my shoulders, and will it to be springtime already. I mean, the groundhog didn’t see his shadow this year, right? Spring has to be just around the corner. Unfortunately, the weather forecast says otherwise.
So instead of pouting about it, I bake. It keeps our home a little warmer, a little cozier, and we all seem to be a little less stir-crazy when dessert is around — especially if that dessert is this bananas foster upside-down cake.
HOW TO MAKE BANANAS FOSTER UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
When you break down this cake recipe into its components, it’s surprisingly simple. For instance, you start with a quick caramel sauce made with butter and brown sugar that comes together in less than five minutes. Once that’s poured into the cake pan, you top it with sliced banana halves. Finally, stir together the cake batter — a tender spice cake with cinnamon and walnuts and a hint of rum — and pour the batter over the bananas.
Once it’s baked, you let the cake rest for a few minutes, then flip it over to reveal that lovely caramelized banana-lined topping. The hardest part is letting it cool before digging in.
TIPS FOR BAKING THE BEST UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
For maximum success in baking this bananas foster upside-down cake, here are a few pro tips for ya:
1. Use barely-ripe bananas for the cake. If they’re too ripe, they might end up mushy once baked. Too unripe, and they’ll taste bland. Look for bananas that are mostly yellow but without any brown blemishes.
2. The walnuts in the cake are optional (though I do love the texture they offer), so feel free to leave them out or swap them for chocolate chips. FOR SURE doing that next time I make this cake.
3. To cut the cake into clean, even slices, use a very sharp knife and a gentle sawing motion when cutting through the top layer of bananas.
If you’ve never tried bananas foster, or baked an upside-down cake, let this recipe change all of that for you. If you love caramel and bananas and spice cake, you’ll love this dessert. I can’t promise it will cure cabin fever, but it sure does help.
- ¾ cup butter, room temperature, divided
- ½ cup plus ⅓ cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons dark rum, divided
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large bananas, halved lengthwise
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Heat oven to 350F. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt ¼ cup butter. Stir in ⅓ cup brown sugar and heavy cream; bring to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon rum and vanilla; cook for 1 minute. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Arrange halved bananas cut side-down on top of syrup mixture in bottom of pan.
- In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup butter on medium speed 3-4 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Stir in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 1½ teaspoons rum.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until just combined after each addition. Gently stir in walnuts and sour cream. Pour and spread batter over bananas in pan.
- Bake 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Top cake pan with parchment paper and an upside-down cooling rack; carefully but quickly invert cake pan onto paper-topped rack. Remove pan to reveal cake. Cool completely before slicing.
- Store covered tightly in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.