Upside-Down Banana Cake Recipe

Upside-down cakes have been around a lot longer than you might think. What's Cooking America says they were known to 19th century cooks, although centuries before that people were flipping cakes over so that the bottoms became the tops. One of the best-known types of upside-down cake is made with pineapple, and is cooked in a skillet, too. This cake, however, is made with bananas and is baked in an oven, instead.

According to recipe developer Ting Dalton, this cake makes for "a great way to use up leftover bananas," so it's a recipe to hang on to if you're trying to cut down on the amount of food you waste. After all, there's only so much banana bread you can bake, isn't there? Dalton describes the flavor of this upside-down cake as "sweet caramel and bananas," and suggests that you might enjoy serving it with whipped cream or ice cream. Move over, banana bread — there's a new and improved banana-based dessert in town!

Gather the ingredients for upside-down banana cake

To make this cake, Dalton uses unsalted butter and muscovado sugar, but you can use dark brown sugar instead, if that is what you have on hand. Or even light brown sugar, if you prefer a less molasses-y flavor. For the topping, you'll also need a little vanilla extract and, of course, some bananas. To make the cake batter, you'll need more butter plus granulated sugar, eggs, flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, and sour cream.

Start assembling the cake

Melt 1 cup (two sticks) of butter with the brown sugar over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Leave the other stick of butter out on the counter to soften up a bit. Once the butter in the pan has melted, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Now, grease up a large round cake pan — Dalton's is 11 inches, which is kind of a non-standard size, but you might be able to use a 10-inch or 12-inch springform pan. Pour the caramel-like mixture into the pan and arrange the banana slices on top. Also, be sure to get your oven preheating to 300 F.

Make the cake batter

Beat the remaining butter, which should have softened up somewhat, with the granulated sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and the remaining vanilla, then stir in the flour, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon until thoroughly combined. As a final touch, stir in the sour cream.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. As Dalton warns, "You may find the caramel will bubble up while the cake is cooking in the oven," so she advises putting a sheet pan under the cake pan.

Bake and flip the cake

Bake the cake for 1 hour. Dalton advises that at the halfway point, you should "check [to see that] the cake isn't browning too much on the top," and says that if it is starting to brown, you should cover the pan with foil.

After an hour, test the cake for doneness by inserting a skewer, toothpick, knife, fork, etc. in the center. If your chosen implement comes out clean, you can take the cake out of the oven. Let it sit and cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip the pan over onto a plate so that the bananas that were on the bottom are now on top of the cake.

Dalton says that the cake should stay fresh for three days if you keep it in an airtight container, but it can also be frozen. If you do freeze it, though, she says that, once it's defrosted, you should "warm [it] through in the oven" before serving. Unless you like it cold, in which case, just eat it as is!

Upside-Down Banana Cake Recipe
5 from 54 ratings
You've heard of a pineapple upside-down cake, but have you ever heard of an upside-down banana cake? Well, now you have!
Prep Time
Cook Time
banana cake on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter, divided
  • ¾ cup light muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 large bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  2. Melt 1 cup of butter with the muscovado (or brown) sugar over medium heat, stirring. Mix 1 teaspoon of vanilla into the melted butter/sugar mixture.
  3. Grease a large round cake pan. Pour the butter/sugar caramel mixture into the cake pan and spread it evenly over the bottom. Arrange the bananas on top of the caramel mixture.
  4. Now, it's time to make the cake batter. Beat the remaining butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and remaining vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the flour, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon. Add the sour cream to the cake batter and beat until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter over the bananas and smooth it out.
  6. Bake the cake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  8. Flip the cake over onto a plate, slice, and serve.
Calories per Serving 522
Total Fat 33.9 g
Saturated Fat 20.7 g
Trans Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 141.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 51.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 29.7 g
Sodium 112.6 mg
Protein 5.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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