Banana Upside Down Cake

This recipe combines deeply caramelized bananas with tender vanilla cake perfectly.

I’m relatively new to the world of upside down cakes (preferably baked in cast iron skillets) and I am desperately trying to make up for lost time. I started the fall with a pear upside down cake, and now have moved on to one of the banana variety from Naomi Robinson’s gorgeous new book, Baker’s Royale: 75 Twists on All Your Favorite Sweets. Not sure what my next one will be, but I’m open to suggestions.Banana Upside Down Cake | Jessie Sheehan BakesNow, Naomi’s recipe does not call for baking this beauty in a cast iron skillet, but in a 13x9x2-inch pan instead – and I love her photo of it in all its rectangular glory. But my skillet thing is big right now, so I went with circular for mine. I also tweaked the recipe a tad to avoid calling for a stand mixer. My other “thing” (besides skillets) is oil-based cakes made in bowls with whisks. I also added a yolk, and a bit more salt and vanilla because I basically just can’t help myself. Bottom line, the cake is the perfect combo of deeply caramelized bananas, topping the most tender of vanilla cakes. In other words, it’s a winner, peeps, no doubt.

Banana Upside Down Cake | Jessie Sheehan Bakes
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Banana Upside Down Cake

This recipe combines deeply caramelized bananas with tender vanilla cake perfectly.
Recipe Author Jessie Sheehan


For the Caramelized Bananas

  • 1/4 cup 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large bananas just ripe (not brown and spotty), each one sliced the long way into two pieces
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

For the Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 yolk
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and cook until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and decoratively press the bananas (flat side down, rounded side up) into the caramel, until all of the caramel is topped with bananas. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside.
  • Place the oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the egg and yolk, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the buttermilk and whisk again. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine. Do not over mix. Scrape the batter over the bananas and gently smooth the top.
  • Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until a cake tester comes out with a moist crumb or two. Immediately run a paring knife around the edge of the pan . Let sit for 5 minutes and then carefully invert the cake onto a serving platter. If bits of caramel or banana stick to the bottom of the pan, scrape them off and place them back onto the cake.
  • Let cool until the caramel sets a bit, about 20 minutes, or cool to room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
  • The cake will keep wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days, but it is best the day it is made.

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