I discovered something magical.

Upside Down Caramelized Banana Bread Skillet Cake I howsweeteats.com

It’s this little cart, hidden in a tiny nook in my (pitiful) local grocery store. It holds discount produce, and truth be told: most of it looks like it should have been throw out three days ago. It’s gross. It’s disgusting. And I’m not only saying that because it’s like, 100% vegetables. Which is gross and disgusting in it’s own right.


One morning I came across those bags of bananas. Do you know what bags of bananas I’m talking about? Apparently they are a thing – not selective to my own store. I was clueless. A tiny white paper bag stuffed with a ton of bananas and sold for some insanely cheap price… which I can’t remember. But it was seriously cheap. Like buy-this-boatload-of-bananas-for-pennies cheap. Not omg-this-$1475-purse-is-20%-off kind of cheap.

[Which BTW, is an excellent deal and an INVESTMENT. Much to my husband’s dismay.]

Upside Down Caramelized Banana Bread Skillet Cake I howsweeteats.com

I got so excited! I eat bananas every day. I freakishly adore them. I mash them and put them inside things. Um – food-type things people. Stop it right there.

I spread them with chocolate peanut butter and cookie butter and all these other ridiculous butters that our world has created. I freeze them and whip them in the food processor or throw them in smoothies. I slice them and cover them in chocolate and drop a few fingerfuls of coconut or salted peanuts on top and stick them in the freezer for what should be like, an hour… but ends up being about four minutes because I have the patience of a sleep-deprived toddler.

I like them. I really like them!

So I bought three bags. [Bananas… not $1475 purses.]

Upside Down Caramelized Banana Bread Skillet Cake I howsweeteats.com

Yeah. Three bags. Like over 30 bananas or some wackadoodle number like that. Sometiiiiiimes… I just get realllllly carried away. Two people live in my house. One person is really weird, and only eats bananas if they are a CERTAIN SHADE of green. They can’t be too green. But not green enough. They have to be perfect. So there’s like a 45-second good banana window.

I froze a lot. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Please come over immediately and I will make you four thousand smoothies. That should end well.

I left some sitting out, and considered a three-a-day banana diet. That couldn’t end well.

My world became inundated with fruit flies. That didn’t end well.

I did the next best thing, which was turn them into bread. I mean cake! I mean bread. I mean cake bread. Or something like it.

The only thing was? I made this bread slash cake slash cake slash bread right before we left on vacation. So I had to like, eat a lot of it so it wouldn’t go to waste. And about halfway through, I just started scraping at the bottom with a fork, devouring all of the caramely and sugar-crusted bananas.

This was a wise, wise choice my friends. For once, I did something right.

Upside Down Caramelized Banana Bread Skillet Cake I howsweeteats.com


Upside Down Caramelized Banana Bread Skillet Cake

Yield: serves 6-8, made in a 12-inch skillet


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled + 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar + 1/3 cup
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 cups) + 2 bananas, sliced
1/3 cup milk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet (min was 12 inch) over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, and let sizzle and melt, then whisk in 1/3 cup brown sugar and add in the sliced bananas in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside while making batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugars. Once combined, whisk in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add in dry ingredients, stirring to bring together, then add in mashed bananas and mix. Add in milk and mix until combined. Pour batter over bananas in skillet and spread evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake is golden and set in the middle. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve hot with ice cream.

Note: this same recipe will most likely work in a 10-inch skillet and just yield a taller cake. I would begin by baking for 30 minutes and check the cake. If you are using a smaller skillet, I would cut the recipe in half and start by baking at 20 minutes.

Upside Down Caramelized Banana Bread Skillet Cake I howsweeteats.com

Almost better than a purse investment.

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137 Responses to “Upside Down Caramelized Banana Bread Skillet Cake.”

  1. #
    farmerswife518 — August 1, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    Made this last night….so delish!!!! I served it with vanilla ice cream & this amazing caramel sauce http://consumer.darigold.com/Buttery-Caramel-Syrup.html . Thanks for another keeper recipe!


  2. #
    Lucia — August 1, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

    It looks wonderful! I also like banana cakes, I have just made one, this will be the next! :)


  3. #
    Heaher — August 1, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    This is a wonderful recipe! I made a note to remember this as banana bread is my boyfriends favorite, and not a few days later I noticed the bananas in our house were pretty much past their prime, so I was excited to try it out! One day later it’s half gone between the two of us, oops, thank goodness for the gym!


  4. #
    Kavey — August 2, 2012 @ 6:53 am

    This post made me giggle and salivate. That means it’s gotta be good, right? Looks delish!


  5. #
    MelanieL — August 2, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    I made this last night in my new cast iron skillet! It was so good and the ice cream sent it over the top! I took almost half of it to the neighbors though, I could not be trusted with the entire skillet. As a result, I’ll probably make another one this weekend:)


    • katelyn — September 4th, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

      same exact thing happened to me! new skillet, neighbors, and all. i saw this recipe and knew it was the first thing i wanted to make in it.


  6. #
    Carolyn — August 2, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Looks delish! At what point do you turn it upside down?


    • Kat — August 3rd, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

      Most upside down cakes you turn over to serve…
      You make the caramel in the skillet first, then add the cake batter, and the bananas are the last thing. So, you would think the bananas would be on top, but you flip the pan over onto a large plate so that the bananas are on the bottom and the caramel is on top.


  7. #
    Tasha Z — August 2, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

    I am dying like right now…. this is fantasticooooooo! I must make this like tonight! Thanks for sharing!


  8. #
    Marcie — August 22, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

    I feel like we’re constantly plagued with fruit flies and the best way I’ve found to get rid of them is to put about 1/2 inch of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap into a glass. It works like a charm, and is kind of gross because then you end up with a million fruit flies in a glass. Anyway, I love your recipes, they’re delicious and your blogs always make me laugh. Thanks:)


  9. #
    Lindsay — November 24, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    Does this have to be served warm or can it be left out for a few hours before serving?


  10. #
    Hannah — December 29, 2012 @ 12:19 am

    I made this today. What a hit!! Very good middle between banana bread and cake.


  11. #
    Kelly — February 2, 2013 @ 7:50 am

    This was AMAZING. Honestly, one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever had. My sister-in-law, who is the manager of a high end resort restaurant and been in the food industry for 20 years, took one bite and gasped at how good it was. Will be saving this recipe in my “impress people” folder! :)


  12. #
    JJ - 84thand3rd — February 13, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

    I’m one of those people who scours the discount fruit and veg table for over-ripe bananas because those are the only ones I’ll eat! The cake sounds spectacular. Like the the entire thing, don’t share, probably best that I don’t make it spectacular.


  13. #
    Jessica @ Peoplelikefood.com — March 4, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

    Oh my!!! That looks amazing! It’s all caramely on top! I’m definitely making this tonight!! Sorry for the excessive exclamation points ;-)


  14. #
    Lisa — March 20, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    I dont have a skillet. Can this just be baked like a cake?


    • Izzy — May 26th, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

      I caramelized the bananas and then lined the bottom of a ceramic casserole dish. For the rest, i baked it at 400 for 20-30 min and then lowered the heat to 375 until the center was finished (a knife stuck in it came out clean)


  15. #
    Carly — August 13, 2013 @ 10:03 am

    This looks fantastic! I do not eat dairy though. Could I substitute soy or almond milk for the regular milk in this recipe?



  16. #
    Juliana — February 25, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

    I’m in loooove with this cake…….is really really delicious


  17. #
    Izzy — May 26, 2014 @ 3:26 pm

    This recipe was wonderful and came out great, but i had to lower the heat to 375 to bake the inside fully without the burning the outside


  18. #
    K.Stanton — July 2, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

    This came out BEAUTIFUL!!! I used coconut oil in place of butter, walnuts, and almond coconut milk. I have a 10″ cast iron skillet, so I didn’t put all of the batter in. The remainder of the batter I simply poured into a glass pie pan, and cooked it, keeping an eye on it. When It came out, I let it cool, then put semi-sweet chocolate chips on top. As they melted, i spread them over the cake, then cut it into slices. Can’t wait for my husband to come home to this wonderful dessert!


  19. #
    Robin — September 25, 2014 @ 5:10 am

    I made this a few days ago, and it was delicious! DEFINITELY will make again. It was easy to make, only tweak was I added a box of instant vanilla pudding mix. Very moist and tasty inside, and I loved how the brown sugar crystallizes when baking, making for an amazing “crust” almost like the top of a creme brulee. My boyfriend and son loved it. I usually add chocolate chips to banana bread, but didn’t add to this, and it was perfect as it was. It was amazing paired with vanilla ice cream ( or frozen yogurt). I didn’t add caramel sauce, but I am sure that would be great too. Look for my photos on instag am under robinmommy.


  20. #
    Jacque — March 14, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

    I was searching for a skillet recipe to use with the pyroceram, get a little experience with that and landed here. The title, what you had to say about bananas, scraping the bottom with a fork. Okay, that hooked me. I set immediately to pulling this one together, using the almost 10″ square A-10-B.
    After 25 minutes, reduced oven to 375* for 13 minutes, pulled it out and let it sit in the corning for 10 more minutes. Released the sides with the silicon blade type of spatula, turned it out on the wire rack, placed wax paper sheet on bottom, flipped back over.
    Georgeous caramelized look to the top of the cake, slightly moist center and lovely stick of caramel chew to edges of cake. A bit different from cast iron, the sliced bananas had a deep cranberry color to them but oooohhhhh so heavenly. The aroma while baking was a slice of nirvana anticipating the first bite.
    So worth every second of waiting for those bananas to get just ripe :)
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe!!!



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