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Banana Upside-Down Cake

I’ve always been a fan of upside-down cakes. Mostly on account of all that caramel, but I admit the grown-up me appreciates that an upside down cake has no need for frosting – it looks fantastic straight out of the pan. And if some of the pieces of fruit stick, you can easily ply them off with your fingers and put them back where they belong. Traditionally, pineapple and peaches have made their mark in upside-down cakes. But why not bananas? This cake reminds me of the bananas sauteed with butter and brown sugar that my grandad used to eat over vanilla ice cream.

This cake makes great use of over-ripe bananas, when you can’t face another loaf. But you need not wait for ripe bananas, either. It’s made with a basic, dense white cake batter, but try it with whatever batter you like chocolate would be pretty fab – enough for a single layer, or double the topping and bake two.

If at all possible, serve this cake warm, with vanilla ice cream.

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Topping:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large bananas

Cake:
1/4 cup butter, softened, or canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter an 8”³ or 9”³ round or 8”³ square cake pan. Put the butter into the pan and put it into the oven as it heats; once melted pull it out and stir in the brown sugar. Slice the bananas and lay them over the bottom.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes, until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

By hand or with the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing each time until just combined.

Spread the batter into the pan, over the bananas. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack or plate, or eat warm, straight from the pan.

Dessert for Breakfast: Banana Split Pancakes!

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