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Going Bananas for Banana Upside Down Cake

Michelle had asked me what I wanted for a Father’s Day dinner last week and I knew what I wanted for dessert right away. I love desserts that make use of bananas (see the Bananas Foster cake Michelle made for my past birthday) and I had just recently seen this recipe on the Food Republic website for an awesome looking banana upside down cake. I have tried pineapple upside down cake and peach upside down cake so this one seemed like it would be just as good and was not going to be hard to make. I was really looking forward to it and was not disappointed with the results.

Banana Upside Down Cake

For the Banana Caramel:

1 1/2 cups sugar

4-5 bananas, ripened

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Cake:

2/3 cup butter, plus extra for greasing

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 eggs, separated

3/4 cup sugar

2 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch diameter springform cake pan then line the pan with parchment paper.

To make the banana caramel, put the sugar and 2/3 cup of water in a heavy saucepan and cook the mixture over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture boil until it has thickened to a golden-brown caramel, taking care not to burn it. Remove the caramel immediately from the stove and pour it into the prepared cake pan, tipping the pan slightly from side to side until the pan is evenly coated. Peel the bananas and halve them lengthwise. Arrange the bananas over the caramel in a neat pattern, trimming the bananas as necessary, then dust the bananas with the ground cinnamon.

For the cake batter, sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Put the egg whites in a separate clean bowl and whisk the egg whites using an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks have formed. Put the butter and the sugar in another large bowl and whisk them together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the egg yolks into the butter-sugar mixture one at a time until combined. Fold in the mashed bananas, followed by the dry ingredients in the flour mixture. Fold in the egg whites into the entire mixture and gently mix to form the batter.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and spread the batter evenly with a spatula. Bake the cake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before unmolding it. The cake is easier to unmold while it is still warm before the caramel has had a chance to cool and harden. Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan. Put a large flat plate over the top of the cake pan and, holding the pan and the plate, invert it and gently lift off the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Serve the cake warm.

Wow, this cake tasted really good! It was kind of a mix of really moist banana bread with the caramel you have on a typical upside down cake except it is chock full of banana flavor. Put some homemade whipped cream on top of the cake and you have yourself a masterpiece. I loved every bite of it and the cake stayed moist for a couple of days afterward to provide a wonderful snack each night. We will definitely be making this one again and I think it would be great to make to bring to a party, housewarming or summer barbecue.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert

 

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Getting Peachy – Upside Down Peach Bourbon Cake

I had a slow work day a few days ago and took the opportunity to try out a bunch of recipes all in one day. I made a great entrée and some good side dishes too that day that I will be sharing soon, but I think the star of that day was actually the dessert. I had seen this recipe from Kitchen Daily in my e-mail a few days before I wanted to try it  and the way it looked and sounded I knew it was going to be good. It is for an upside down peach bourbon cake. I love pineapple upside down cake, so I just had a feeling this was going to be a winner. While it is not the season for good fresh peaches around here by a long shot, I did have some nice looking jarred peaches that I was trying to figure out what to do with and this worked out perfectly for those.

Upside Down Peach Bourbon Cake

To Make the Topping:

3 medium peaches, cut into medium slices, or two jars of peaches, drained
1 stick butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar

To Make the Batter:

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup bourbon

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch cake pan.
To make the topping, lay the peach slices over the bottom of the baking pan. Melt the one stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and simmer the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the sugar is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the mixture over the peaches in the cake pan.
To make the batter, Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is soft, then add the granulated sugar and mix the two together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and the bourbon and mix well for 1 minute. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix on low-speed just until the mixture is blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix again on low-speed just until everything is blended.. The batter may appear to be slightly curdled, but that is how it should look. Spoon the batter over the peach slices and spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Bake the cake on a middle rack in the oven until the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let the cake stand for 5 minutes in the pan after taking it out of the oven. Invert a clean plate over the top of the pan and invert the cake onto the plate. Slice and serve.

I think this cake turned out great and would be even better with fresh peaches, but if you have some good jarred peaches it will certainly work well for you. The taste of the peaches in the sugar is wonderful as it glazes and crusts on the cake and you can get a hint of the bourbon flavor through the cake as well. If you did not want to use bourbon, Kitchen Daily notes that they have used milk in the recipe instead and achieved good results too. I’ll have to keep this one in mind as it would be great for the early summer in peach season to bring to someone’s home or to a party.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert

 

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A Throwback Dessert for the Holidays: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple upside-down cake is not something I would think of making very often. Let’s be honest – most of us who are old enough probably associate it with seeing it at parties our parents had when we were growing up in the seventies. You may not even have a good memory of it thanks to the tinny taste of the pineapple from the can and the super-sweet juice that came with it. All of that being said, Michelle had said to me not the long ago that she might want to give the dessert a try. As fate would have, when I walked into the grocery store last week fresh pineapples were on sale. I bought one and set about finding a recipe, and this one from Cook’s Illustrated seemed to be the best to use and the easiest to make.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Topping:

1 medium fresh pineapple (about 4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs at room temperature

1 egg white at room temperature

1/3 cup milk at room temperature

Lightly spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside.

For the pineapple topping, combine the pineapple and brown sugar in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally during the first five minutes until the pineapple is translucent and has a light brown hue, about 15 to 18 minutes. Empty the fruit and the juices into a mesh strainer or colander set over a medium bowl. Return the juices to the skillet, leaving the pineapple in the strainer. You should have about 2 cups of cooked fruit. Simmer the juices over medium heat until it is thickened and beginning to darken and the mixture forms large bubbles, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding any more juices released by the fruit to the skillet after about 4 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and the vanilla. Pour the caramel mixture into the prepared cake pan. Set it aside while preparing the cake batter.

For the cake, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set it aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a flat beater, cream the butter and the sugar at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, add the vanilla and beat to combine. One at a time, add the whole eggs and then the egg white, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Reduce the speed to low; add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until it is incorporated. Add half of the milk and beat until it is incorporated; repeat the process, adding half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining milk, and finish with the remaining flour. Give a final stir with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure that the batter is combined. The batter will be thick.

To bake the cake, working quickly, distribute the cooked pineapple in the cake pan in an even layer, gently pressing the fruit into the caramel. Using a rubber spatula, drop mounds of the batter over the fruit, then spread the batter over the fruit and to the sides of the pan. Tap the pan lightly against the work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then place an inverted serving platter over the cake pan. Invert the cake pan and platter together and lift off the cake pan to release the cake. Cool the cake to room temperature for about 2 hours, then cut into pieces and serve.

Taking the time to peel, core and chop a fresh pineapple is very worth it for this recipe and makes all the difference. The fresh pineapple taste and smell, to me, is so much better than what you get from a can and preparing the pineapple only takes a few minutes. The rest of the recipe is very easy and produces great results. You get the nice caramelized pineapple with a light cake and it was much better than any of us remembered it. I actually did the whole recipe in my trusty cast iron skillet. I cooked the pineapple and the caramel in it, cooled the pan with the caramel, pressed in the pineapple and poured in the batter. I think it came out just as well as it would in a cake pan, saved me a little cleaning and came out of the pan just as easily as it would a cake pan.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I tried out a couple of more Thanksgiving recipes yesterday, so I will post those before the big day on Thursday. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert

 

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