Everyone needs a go-to homemade cake in their recipe box. Fruit and dessert are one of those magical pairings, and bananas always add sweetness and texture to baked goods. Look at just how many banana bread recipes came out of the quarantine period. Oh my, there were so many.
Depending on the sweetness level, banana bread is essentially cake. The batter is baked in a bread pan, but it is a simple loaf cake. This upside-down gluten-free banana cake is much, much different than that.
The cake is baked inside of a cast-iron pan because the round shape adds to its intrigue. The sliced bananas are caramelized in melted butter before the batter is poured on top. Then, this cake is baked until the outside is caramelized and the inside is tender and fluffy. Turn it out onto a plate, and you have a stunning dessert that everyone will want a piece of!
And everyone can have a piece because the batter uses gluten-free flour. People with wheat sensitivities can enjoy this cake just as much as everyone else. Even those who are not gluten-free will think this is an everyday cake made with traditional wheat flour.
The cake batter is a fairly standard recipe, with the addition of almond milk to add moisture. That also means that this cake is milk-free. For the flour, you can use any blend of gluten-free flours the you enjoy, but do make sure that you have a gluten-free self-rising flour. The rise adds to the cake’s airyness when it comes out of the oven in addition to baking soda.
When the cake is removed from the oven, that’s when the magic happens. Upside-down cakes are baked upside-down. This way, the sugars and bananas caramelize on the bottom during the baking process. The cast-iron pan works wonders here, allowing the sugars to toast to a deep brown color.
Once the cake is baked, you invert the cake onto a platter or board to serve. So the bottom of the cake turns out to be the top of the cake, with a beautiful pattern of caramelized bananas on top. You can then top with roasted nuts if you like for an added crunch.
Upside-down banana cake is the perfect dessert to bring to a party. The top of the cake gets super dark and sticky from the bananas, so this cake is a true show-stopper. Friends will ask how you made such a gorgeous and delicious cake!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mash your bananas with a fork. In in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together your butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
Add the bananas to the mixer and allow to incorporate fully.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Allow each egg to mix in completely before adding the next. Then add the vanilla and milk and mix again.
Remove from the mixer and fold in the flour and baking soda with a spatula until just combined.
Allow the batter to set while you slice your bananas.
Heat the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Swirl to coat the entire pan. Add the bananas evenly across the skillet. This is eventually be the top of your cake. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bananas.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cake batter across the bottom of the pan, covering all the banana slices.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before place a plate over the skillet and carefully inverting it, allowing the cake to release from the pan. Serve warm.