Banana upside-down cake

Banana upside-down cake

Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

In Brasil, there are many types of banana cakes: cuca, a German cake with a rich, crumbly topping; banana bread; bolo cakes, which are sometimes made in a ring shape and often spread with cinnamon; and our favourite, the upside-down cake. Like the French tarte tatin, this indulgent cake is cooked with a layer of caramelised bananas at the bottom, then turned upside-down to show its sticky-sweet banana topping. Perfect as a teatime treat.

For the banana caramel


Quantity Ingredient
300g caster sugar
4-5 ripe bananas
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cake batter

Quantity Ingredient
140g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
180g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
140g golden caster sugar
2 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Generously butter the base and sides of a heavy-based 23 cm diameter springform cake tin, then line it with baking parchment.
  2. To make the banana caramel, put the sugar and 150 ml water in a heavy-based saucepan and cook over a high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let it boil until thickened to a golden-brown caramel, taking care not to burn it. Remove and immediately pour it into the cake tin, tipping the tin slightly from side to side until evenly coated. Peel the bananas and halve them lengthways. Arrange them over the caramel in a neat pattern, trimming as necessary, then dust with the ground cinnamon.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl. Put the egg whites in a separate clean bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. Put the butter and sugar in another large bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Fold in the mashed bananas, followed by the dry ingredients. Finally, fold in the egg whites.
  4. Pour the batter into the tin and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove and leave to cool for a few minutes before unmoulding. (It is easier to unmould while it is still warm, before the caramel base hardens). Run a thin knife around the inside of the tin. Put a large flat plate over the top and, holding the tin and the plate, invert it, gently lift off the tin and peel off the baking parchment. Serve warm.
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