I have been desperate to make an upside-down cake calling for fruit and marshmallows (yes, marshmallows) for some time now. Months ago, I read about such a cake, using rhubarb, on Edible Living, and although I had a bag of frozen rhubarb in my freezer just waiting to be combined with marshmallows (okay, maybe not exactly), I was trying to think outside the rhubarb box. I mused for a while about a cake made with berries and marshmallows, but became fixated with the brown speckled bananas on my counter, instead.
I kept thinking about a banana cream pudding I had at a school potluck last year and how amazingly creamy and delish the pudding was with the softened vanilla wafers and the chunks of bananas. Not to mention the fact that the banana rum icebox cake I developed for Icebox Cakes isn’t half bad either . . . but I digress. Essentially, I saw the bananas on the counter and wondered what a banana marshmallow upside-down cake might taste like, and decided to find out. I added brown sugar to the bananas for a caramel-y note, substituted some rum for the vanilla that I’d normally add to the cake, and combined a generous amount of sliced banana coins with an equally generous amount of mini marshmallows.
I covered the bottom of a baking pan with the bananas and marshmallows (this was going to be an upside-down cake after all) and topped that with a pale-yellow (oil-based) cake batter (I love an uber moist, oil-based cake). I popped it in a hot oven for almost an hour, and I could not have been happier with the results. The cake was as fluffy and moist as I had hoped, with pockets of crispy caramelization from the marshmallows. The bananas were jammy and sweet, flavoring the cake with the most wonderful caramel banana essence. I served pieces of the cake fruit-side up, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. umh . . . yum?
Truth be told, I did not give up on the berry marshmallow upside-down cake concept either. Instead, I gave that version of the cake a whirl as well. Honestly, it turned out to be SO damned good (I made it with raspberries), that i had to post my recipe for that one too. I’d say it’s a win/win all round. The more marshmallow upside-down cakes, the merrier. At least in my world.
Banana Marshmallow Upside Down Cake
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup 2 tbsp, oil (i use a mild olive oil)
- 2 tsp rum optional, you can use a tsp of pure vanilla extract instead
- 1 large egg
- 1 yolk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups sliced bananas sliced into 1/2 inch coins, preferably from brown freckled bananas
- A generous 1 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows and a few more for scattering on the cake before baking, optional
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-by-8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, and salt together, whisk briefly to ensure the leavener is well incorporated. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, and rum, if using, vigorously, until well combined. Add the egg and yolk, and whisk again. Add the sour cream and whisk again.
- Using a rubber spatula, add the dry ingredients and gently fold the dry into the wet, until no streaks of flour remain.
- Combine the bananas, marshmallows, and brown sugar in a small bowl, stir together, and place in the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour/scrape the cake batter over the bananas and marshmallows, spreading it with a small offset spatula if necessary. Sprinkle the top with a few extra marshmallows, if using, and place the pan in the oven.
- Bake for about 50 minutes or so, rotating the pan after 25 minutes. Begin to check on the cake with a wooden cake tester after about 40 minutes. The cake is done when the tester comes out clean or with a moist crumb or two.
- Let the cake cool briefly on a wire rack, and then use a serving spoon to scoop out pieces, flipping the pieces over on the serving plates, so that the fruit is facing up. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dribble of heavy cream.
- The cake will keep covered in plastic wrap for a few days on the counter, but is best served the day it is made.