Food, Summer

Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake

Friends, your kitchen is about to be heady with the scent of caramelizing bananas, brown sugar, and rum… Caribbean alchemy. It’s an island-y flavor combo that creates a perfect but not-cliché summer sweet: Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake. You’re going to love this!

Back in the Day

Growing up did your grandma make upside-down cake to top off Sunday dinner? Or maybe it was a mainstay at that little cafeteria-style restaurant a couple towns over? However you slice it, this old-fashioned cake evokes a comfortable nostalgia. Never highfalutin but always fun and delicious, even foodie types can’t deny enjoying this retro cake!

Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake with silver fork

Although we associate the upside down cake with its mid-century popularity, they were actually baked as far back as the Middle Ages. During that time they were called “skillet cakes” and made with apples, berries, or whatever fruit was in season.

We Have a Winner

It wasn’t until the 1920’s when the Dole Pineapple Company held a recipe contest to promote their new canned pineapple that the tropical fruit version started popping up. (Why don’t we have more recipe contests these days? So fun!) Over half of the 7,000 recipe submissions was some form of pineapple upside down cake! Mr. Dole knew a good thing when he saw it and jumped to include this winning idea on his product label. A classic was born!

Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake, island, tropical, summer, kitchen, hands slicing cake, dessert, baking, rum, spice, easy, simple

(For the traditional pineapple version- and some adorable vintage advertisements- check out this post by Quaint Cooking!)

For our cake we’ve shaken things up a bit! I love pineapple but A) didn’t have any, and B) wanted to make up something new. Bananas were swapped in for pineapple. Cinnamon and rum were added to warm things up. A tender vanilla cake holds up all that gooey, golden deliciousness for a dessert that not only comes together quickly, but also travels well! What’s not to love?

Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake

Outstanding served slightly warm with vanilla bean ice cream, but equally tasty chilled and packed into a picnic basket. Honestly though, a thick wedge with morning coffee has my vote! Whatever your choice, enjoy this summery simple pleasure!

For more warm-weather treats try these crowd-pleasing Oreo Cheesecake Bars or my deeply refreshing Easy Basil Lemonade!

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Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake

The scent of caramelizing bananas, brown sugar, and rum are Caribbean kitchen alchemy! A tender vanilla cake holds up all the gooey deliciousness for an easy dessert that wows.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 9-inch Springform Pan (This is just to prevent bubbling over during baking. If you have a deep 9-inch cake pan that will also work well.)
  • Parchment Paper


Banana Topping

  • 3-4 large Bananas, brown or soft (Sliced in half, then in thirds longways)
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 6 TBSP Unsalted Butter
  • 2 1/2 TBSP Rum
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • pinch Sea Salt


  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 8 oz. Plain Greek Yogurt (Substitute sour cream if desired)
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Banana Topping

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine butter, brown sugar, rum, cinnamon, and salt. Stirring regularly, bring to a light bubble then cook a couple minutes longer to dissolve sugar and develop a deeper golden color. Remove from heat.
  • Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour brown sugar mixture into bottom of pan. Arrange banana pieces in a spiral pattern in the bottom of pan.


  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside.
  • In large bowl or stand mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one.
  • Starting and ending with the dry ingredient mixture, alternate adding dry mixture and yogurt, beating after every addition. Pour batter into pan gently so as not to shift your banana pattern.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool at least 15 minutes before inverting cake onto plate or cake stand.
  • Serve slightly warm and topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!
Keyword banana, dessert, easy, fruit, rum, simple, summer, tropical

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