Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

Last modified on January 25th, 2019 at 11:41 pm

A cake worth licking your fingers over, our Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake is an upscale version of the traditional banana bread and a scrumptious treat made decadent with the addition of cocoa. 

Growing up, did you ever convince yourself you hated a certain food? For me it was oatmeal, and even into adulthood, it’s still a dish I love to hate and honestly, hate to love. But for Philip, not only did he convince himself he hated bananas, as a child he convinced himself he was allergic to them, that is until he became an adult. While he’d never pick up a banana, peel it and eat it, it’s become a favourite of his in many different forms; banana bread, banana nice cream and most recently, Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake.

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake cut in squares and a bite taken from one

An upscale version of a traditional banana bread, our Caramelized Banana Cake is ooey and gooey, and made sweeter with the addition of a warm caramel base that when flipped over creates a scrumptious sauce atop the moist cake. And with the mix of raw cocoa into the batter, it’s easily become a cake worthy of an afternoon snack, to a dessert topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or when doubled, a decadent yet humble birthday cake.

Ingredient for caramelized banana upside down cake

A slice of chocolate banana cake with ice cream and partially eaten

A quick and delicious recipe, our Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake is as simple as three steps: making the caramel sauce, making the batter and assembling. So easy, even I can master this recipe (with the watchful eye of Philip, of course) it’s a special recipe that’s warmed it’s way into our repertoire and has quickly climbed the charts as a new favourite of Philip’s (even though he’s allergic, wink.)

Brown sugar and butter melting in a white skillet

Process of assembling a caramelized banana upside down cake

Unlike the loaf-shaped banana bread, our square cake version has a thick batter banana base topped with whole bananas and a homemade caramel sauce. What we love about cooking with bananas is the natural sweetness they take on as they ripen, all adding to the flavour and moistness of the cake. But of course, most markets and grocery stores don’t sell post-prime bananas. If you’re out of luck with green bananas only, we’ve shared a few tips to help ripen bananas c/o Epicurious.

On a traffic light green means go and yellow means yield, but on a banana it’s just the opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead. – Mitch Hedberg

The upside down chocolate banana cake sliced into squares

Oven Method: Set your oven to 250°F and bake your bananas for roughly 15-20 minutes. What you’ll get are warm, sweetened and mushy bananas perfect for cakes. The only caveat is the skins will turn black, don’t be frightened. Underneath the skins will be the most succulent bananas.

Over the Fridge Method: Because the refrigerator gives off warmth, placing the bananas above the fridge warms the bananas at a more consistent pace and can help ripen them within a few days.

Brown Paper Bag Method: Our go-to method involves placing our bananas in a dark brown bag, rolling the bag shut. The darkness and stifling allows the gasses to emit and stay within the bag helping to ripen the bananas.

Taking a bite from the chocolate banana cake

The best part about this recipe is its versatility. Coming straight out of the oven our Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake is warm, moist and dripping with caramel sauce. Serve on its own or with a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream for a classic warm and cool tonal dessert. BUT, both mine and Philip’s favourite way to eat this cake is straight out of the refrigerator. When cooled overnight, the caramel hardens and creates a crispy and chewy with a taffy consistency. Trust us, the options are endless and the possibilities scrumptious.

Square of upside down chocolate banana cake

How to Make Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

1. Make the Caramel Sauce – Melt the butter and sugar together in a skillet until it starts to bubble and creates a caramel sauce. Pour this into the bottom of a cake pan and set the halved bananas, cut-side down, into the caramel sauce.

2. Make the Batter and Bake – Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and eggs together then stir in the bananas and vanilla. Alternating between the dry ingredients and sour cream, add them into the wet ingredients until a thick batter forms. Pour the batter directly on top of the bananas and caramel in the cake pan and smooth out. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes.

3. Turn Out the Cake – Once the cake is baked, you want to let it cool for 10-20 minutes before turning it out onto a plate. You want the cake to be cool enough to not fall apart, but warm enough that the caramel is still soft enough to release from the pan. To turn the cake out, cut along the edges of the cake to release any bits that may be stuck to the side of the pan. Place a plate upside down on top of the cake pan. Firmly hold the plate and pan together then flip the cake dish over. Give it a little shake to make sure the cake has released. Serve the cake warm with a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream.


Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake on wax paper

A cake worth licking your fingers over, our Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake is an upscale version of the traditional banana bread and a scrumptious treat made decadent with the addition of cocoa. 

  • Author: Chef Sous Chef
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Food and Drink, Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: North American


Caramelized Bananas

  • 3 bananas, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed


  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


No. 1 | Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 9 cake pan with butter.

No. 2 | Place a pan on medium heat and add 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves and the mixer begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Pour the caramel into the greased cake pan, making an even layer along the bottom of the pan. Place the banana halves in the caramel, cut side down.

No. 3 | Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a medium sized bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the 1/3 cup butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in the mashed banana and vanilla.

No. 4 | Add 1/2 the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until combined. Stir in half the sour cream, then the rest of the dry ingredients and finish by mixing in the rest of the sour cream.

No. 5 | Pour the batter on top of the bananas in the cake pan and spread it out evenly.

No. 6 | Place the cake pan in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. Test the doneness by inserting a knife in the centre and ensuring it comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes, but no more than 20 minutes, before turning it out onto a plate.

No. 7 | Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.


  • For best results, use over ripe bananas for the batter and yellow bananas for the bottom of the cake.
  • When turning the cake out, if the caramel has set too much, then place the cake in the oven to warm and loosen the caramel sauce.

Keywords: upside down cake, caramelized banana recipes, banana cake


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  • Reply
    sheenam |
    September 25, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Oh my!! This upside down cake looks amazing!!!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    This cake is almost too pretty to eat…. almost, but honestly it tastes as good or even better than it looks.

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      December 6, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      LOL… Thanks Jordan. So happy you enjoyed the cake.

  • Reply
    marilyn @family food around the clock
    March 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    love the photos, you make it so easy!Thanks for sharing 😉 I’m pinning this one for later!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    I’ve heard of the baking method for bananas…I’ll need to try it one day! This cake looks absolutely scrumptious and styled so prettily too!

  • Reply
    Leanne | Crumb Top Baking
    March 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    I love this spin on traditional banana bread! Those caramelized bananas are just calling my name, and the presentation is so lovely! Pinning to make later!

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