Upside-down Banana Cake

Cook’s Note: I’m not a measuring type of person when it comes to the kitchen so the measurements mentioned in this recipe are all approximate. I also do not claim to be any expert or professional. I’m just a plain ol’ housewife who watches too many cooking shows.

What do you do with overly ripe bananas? Make banana cake, of course! This recipe adds a few twists to the usual banana cake. It’s tangy, it’s sticky, it’s quick!

In our household, we end up having banana cake when we have stacks of bananas that have gone beyond ripe. They’re squishy, doesn’t feel nice in your mouth, and pratically comes out of it’s skin already mashed. Absolutely perfect for banana cake!

I don’t know about you but the banana cake is just one of those dishes I can never get “perfect” twice in a row. I always somehow find fault with each batch of banana cake I make.

It’s probably because I don’t measure my ingredients or follow a recipe. However, my husband and children always gives back to me an empty “licked-clean” plate. So in the end, I just accepted the fact that I will never get the “perfect” recipe and that it’s okay not to get it right.

This recipe was born from endless experimentations and trial-and-errors over the years. This recipe produces an almost pudding-like consistency that first hits you with a lemony tang and continues with a sticky salty-sweet flavour.


Before starting on the cake batter, it’s a good idea to make the caramel sauce first since it goes in the bottom of your cake pan and should not be hot when you pour in your batter.

You’ll need about 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1/3 cup water (or cream), and a pinch of salt.

In one pot, put all the ingredients together and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat and keep simmering for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Once it has started to thicken, pour into your cake pan making sure it covers all the bottom of the cake pan. In this photo I’m using a 10-inch rectangular loaf pan, but you can use any shape and size cake pan.

Just keep in mind that using a bigger cake pan will make a thinner cake and thus your cake will need less baking time in the oven. On the other hand, using a smaller cake pan will make a taller cake and thus your cake will need more baking time in the oven.

Lastly, crack or sprinkle some salt all over the caramel sauce (just a pinch will do) and set aside to cool.

TIP: When you pour your cake batter on top of the sauce, the weight of the batter will push the caramel up the sides of the cake pan. If your  caramel is too hot, it will be too runny and will very easily go up the sides. Letting it cool completely or cooling it down in the fridge will help the caramel to be thick and stay put while you’re pouring the cake batter into the cake pan.

The Cake

For the cake batter, you will need:

  • 4 to 5 overripe peeled bananas,
  • the juice of one lemon,
  • a tablespoon of cinnamon,
  • a dash of vanilla extract,
  • a pinch of salt,
  • a pinch of baking soda,
  • half a cup of softened or melted butter or vegetable oil (I used half butter, half mild olive oil),
  • a cup-and-a-half of self-raising flour (or if you only have plain alll-purpose flour, just add a pinch of baking powder to it), and
  • 3 tablespoons of any kind of sugar or sweetener you like (liquid sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup will make your cake more pudding-like).

I used a food processor in this recipe; however, your can use any mixing bowl and mix it all by hand with a whisk or use a handheld mixer or stick blender.

Combine all ingredients in your bowl or food processor except the flour and mix away until you reach the consistency you like. If you like chunks of bananas in your cake, just pulse your food processor or do not pre-mash the bananas if mixing by hand.

Next, add in your flour half-a-cup at a time and switch to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and gently fold in the flour as we don’t want the gluten to develop too much. Mix only just until there’s no more flour visible.

TIP: If you want a “lighter” batter, you can fold in egg whites beaten until soft peaks to add more air and lightness to your cake batter.

Pour your cake batter into your cake pan with the cooled caramel sauce very gently to avoid displacing the caramel. I suggest doing it one scoop at a time.

Then bake in a pre-heated oven at 170’C-180’C for about 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean or with moist crumbs.

In my fan-forced electric oven and 10-inch rectangular cake pan, it took 35 minutes. Again, baking times will be affected by the size of your cake pan and whether you have remembered to pre-heat your oven (which I forget to do all the time).

In the meantime, while waiting for your cake to cook, you can call in the crew to do some “cleaning up” with you.

When your cake is done, take it out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. (We just waited 3 minutes.) Run a knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Then take a serving plate large enough to accommodate your cake, place it on top of the cake pan.

Place your thumbs firmly on the plate and the rest of your fingers firmly on the cake pan (use an oven mitt, it’s hot!), and in one fluid motion, flip it upside-down towards you and very awkwardly try to put the plate down onto the kitchen bench.

It may happen that the cake gets stuck to the pan. Don’t worry. This is normal. Just give the bottom of your cake pan a tap and the cake should come loose onto the plate.

Now as you will see in the finished product photo below, the middle of my cake doesn’t have the caramel sauce on it, and this is a prime example of what happens when you don’t wait for the caramel to cool completely before you pour in your cake batter.

Nevertheless, this banana cake only lasted for about 30 minutes. It took me longer to make it than for my hungry crew to devour it. But it was worth it!