I discovered something magical.
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.]
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.]
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
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.
Almost better than a purse investment.