The cake is made with cake flour for tenderness, cocoa powder for rich chocolate depth and a pinch of cinnamon for a slight taste of spice. It’s an oil-based cake with a good ratio of brown sugar so it will stay moist if you happen to have leftovers.
Needless to say, this cake satisfies a winter urge for chocolate and the gooey caramelized bananas are the crowning touch. If you're like me and hate to see good fruit ripen without a plan, put your bananas to work in this simple dessert.
- It’s important to use cake flour, which has less protein than all-purpose flour and therefore produces less gluten for a lighter, more tender crumb. If you can’t locate cake flour, you can make your own: For 1 1/2 cups of cake flour, measure out 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and remove 3 tablespoons. Add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and sift several times to be sure it’s completely blended. (Cornstarch inhibits the formation of gluten.)
- The cocoa powder is "bloomed" in hot water to intensify and deepen the flavor. You can substitute hot coffee if you'd like.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then turn it out. It should still be fairly warm so when you turn it upside down to remove it the topping doesn’t stick to the bottom. I place a platter on top of the pan, invert quickly and then while still holding the plate and cake pan, give them a firm tap on the counter top. Voila!
- I think this tastes even better the next day.
- For something a bit fancier, serve with a scoop of vanilla, cinnamon or caramel ice cream.
Chocolate Banana Upside Down Cake
2 oz (4 T) butter
1/4 C + 2 T dark brown sugar, packed
2 - 3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 C cake flour
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 C + 2 T cocoa powder
1/2 C + 2 T hot water
1/3 C buttermilk @ room temperature
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 C + 2 T canola oil
3/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs @ room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the sides of a 9-inch square pan.
For the topping, melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook for a minute until blended. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and distribute it evenly across the entire bottom of the pan. Slice the bananas about 1/4” thick and arrange on top of the butter sugar mixture. Set aside.
Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until thoroughly blended and smooth.
Mix the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
Combine the oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. The mixture will look like wet sand. Add the eggs and blend well. Whisk in the cocoa mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until well blended. Pour into the prepared pan over the bananas and gently tap the bottom of the pan on the work surface a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for about 33 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick tests with a few moist crumbs adhering. Cool 15 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the edges. Place a platter over the cake and invert. Cool completely.