Banana Upside-Down Cake

Growing up, I never considered myself to be so much of a baker. It was always too stressful to make sure I had all the ingredients, plus it always got messy. But over time, I have started to experiment and developed this creative but strange excitement in baking. Today I want to share a recipe called, Banana Upside-Down Cake, paired with creamy chocolate chips and sweet meringue frosting. 

Sometimes the simplest ingredients can be put together to create a mouthful of excitement. This recipe brings together three of my favorite sweet cravings, including caramelized bananas, warm chocolate chips, and chewy torched meringue. Although it may sound like a lot of work, it is nothing more than an upside down banana cake with some icing on the top.

 

I absolutely love the marshmellowey texture of the torched meringues. However, a lot of people are hesitant about meringue icing essentially because it is made of raw egg whites. But there is a solution that will slightly cook the egg whites, while still keeping its’ light and airy form. I’ve tried many variations of this, but the best results come from using a bain marie.

A bain marie is when you cook something over a hot water bath. Essentially you mix your ingredients in a bowl, which is resting on top of a pot of simmering water. This process prevents the heat from directly reaching the eggs, and therefore very slowly cook the eggs using the steam from the water. I also like this because it allows me to have control over the bowl and this way I can take it off the heat at any time.

For me, dessert is always about looks. The prettier it looks, but more satisfying it will be to eat! However, balance is key. Every baker in this world will tell you when it comes to baking, precision is a must. Although I will never measure a cup of flour to the tee, it is important to not mess around much when it comes to baking. The reason behind this is mainly because you can’t make any changes once the cake is actually baking. But needless to say, baking is all about having fun, so don’t hesitate to add a few extra chocolate chips, and Make It Your Way! 

Cake Batter
2 cups of Almond Flour
1/3 cup of Polenta (Cornmeal)
1 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 cup of Sugar
4 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Pinch of Salt

Caramelized Bananas
1/2 cup of Brown Sugar
4 tbsps of Butter (chopped in cubes)
1-2 Banana sliced into 1/2 inch circles

Meringue Frosting
90g (1/3 cup and 2 tbsps) Caster Sugar
1 Egg White
2 tbsps Corn Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Water
Pinch of Salt
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar

STEPS
First, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For my cake, I used two  4×1 3/4 inch round baking tins, but for this recipe, you could alternatively use an 8 inch round baking dish as well. Once you are ready, butter your baking dishes and set aside. Next, in one bowl, mix all dry ingredients and set aside.

The first part is to complete the caramelized bananas, so chop your bananas into even circles and set aside. Next, in a pot heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat. Once the sugar and butter have melted, use a whisk or spatula to mix till the butter is well incorporated with the sugar. Once completed, quickly pour in your brown sugar mixture into your mold/s, and place your bananas into the cake mold right away. The reason we need to be fast for this step is to avoid the sugar from hardening, which would make it harder for the bananas to sit in the pan. 

Next in a bowl whip together egg whites and cream of tartar till it becomes nice and frothy (1minute). At this point, gradually add in the white sugar and whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Your mixture should double in quantity but still be quite loose. Add in the vanilla essence and give it one last mix.

Now with the mixer on, add one egg yolk at a time and mix together till well incorporated. Next, we want to fold in the dry ingredients a quarter cup at a time to the wet mixture. Remember to gently fold in the mixture, because you don’t want to knock out all the beautiful air we get from the egg whites. 

Finally, mix in the chocolate chips (optional) and pour your mixture evenly into the molds with 1cm to spare on the top of the pan. Place into the oven. If you are using two 4in spring form cake molds, then 30min should be good. However, if you are baking one big cake in an 8in pan, I would give it 40 min, but keep an eye on it.

While your cake is baking, in a glass or heatproof bowl, place sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, a pinch of salt, vanilla essence, egg whites and a tablespoon of water. Place it on top of a pot of simmering water, but make sure the bowl is not touching the water. Using an electric whisk, whisk the mixture for 10 minutes till nice and glossy. Remove from heat after 10 min and keep mixing for another couple of minutes till stiff peaks form. Once your icing is ready, place it in a cool place to rest till your cakes are baked. 

After your cakes are baked, take it out of the baking dish onto a plate, and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. This cake is meant to be warm when eaten, so the chocolate chips should still be melting on the inside. So once your cakes have slightly cooled, using a spatula or spoon, just layer the top of the cake, and the middle of the cake, with some icing. Then with a blowtorch, gently torch meringue till beautifully nutty and brown. Alternatively, if you don’t have a blow torch, you can place the cake under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes. Serve on its own, or with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream!

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