Bananas are easy to find and available year-round, so everyone should have an awesome banana bread recipe up his sleeve. While I’ve yet to find THE perfect recipe for a basic loaf, I can tell you this caramelized banana loaf cake is a great way to put bananas to use.
This is definitely not “just” banana bread. This is a gorgeous self-saucing, upside-down banana cake scented with vanilla and cinnamon.
Making caramel on the stove top seems intimidating, but all you have to do is heat water with sugar and keep an eye on its color. When it turns amber, take it off the stove and swirl in the butter. The butter will foam up as it melts, completing the beautiful process.
After briefly cooking the bananas in the caramel, you’ll arrange the slices neatly in the bottom of the loaf pan. Stir together the batter and gently pour it on top of the caramelized bananas before baking it in the oven.
Some of the caramel will bubble up around the edges as it bakes, but this is just a preview of the lovely cake that appears once you’ve inverted it onto a serving plate.
My ice cream pairing (an art in itself for those of us who a la mode any and everything) was Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack. This delvious new flavor of creamy vanilla bean ice cream with salted caramel swirls and chocolate covered potato chip clusters was the perfect accompaniment to this scrumptious dessert.
Caramelized Banana Loaf Cake
Adapted from Shutterbean and Rachael Ray Magazine
Prep time + Bake time = 20 min + 55 min
4 medium or 3 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tbsp salted butter
1 large egg, plus 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. Peel the bananas and trim off both ends (reserve for later). Cut the middle length of each banana such that it will fit crosswise in the pan. Halve each of these pieces lengthwise for 6 to 8 total pieces.
3. In a medium skillet, bring 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of water to a boil over medium-high heat, without stirring. Cook until the water has evaporated and the mixture starts turning amber in color. Remove from the heat and add the butter, swirling with a fork until melted.
4. Add the long banana pieces, cut side down, and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Transfer the slices, cut side down, to the prepared loaf pan, arranging them crosswise. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top.
5. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
6. In a large bowl, mash the extra banana pieces to equal 1 cup. Mash in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk in the egg and the egg white as well as the vanilla, followed by the vegetable oil.
7. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter over the bananas in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out dry, about 50-55 minutes.
8. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, and carefully invert the cake onto a platter to cool completely before serving.
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