Banana bread had its time in the limelight in 2020, with a lockdown craze that hit just about everyone. This week’s recipe is a much more tempting way to use up your bananas, and it combines some of my favourite flavours.
When I end up with a few sad-looking bananas left in my fruit bowl at the end of the week, I either pop them into the freezer for smoothies, or use them to make a dessert. This upside-down caramelised banana and rum cake is a complete banana bread upgrade. It has caramel, bananas, soft spiced sponge and a sweet rum syrup, and these flavours together are magic. All you need is a dollop of pillowy cream or crème fraiche to finish it off.
The great thing about this cake is that you don’t need to wait for your bananas to become overly ripe; if you have perfect or slightly under-ripe bananas, it will still work. Once baked, the bananas become beautifully soft and fluffy.
While it looks as if this dessert may be a bit of work, it really isn’t. The first layer of the cake is a quick caramel, made by melting sugar and adding butter, and pouring straight into your cake tin. Bananas are halved lengthways and placed cut side down into the caramel, and a brown sugar and cinnamon spiked sponge spread on top. Once baked, all the elements of the cake bind and meld together, to give three gorgeous layers in a delectable cake.
When the cake is still warm from the oven, I pour a dark rum syrup on top before turning it out. This ensures all of the liquid is soaked up by the sponge, gives the cake a warm note and keeps it beautifully moist.
I reserve a little syrup to pour over the cake just before serving, which adds a gorgeous shine to the caramelised bananas. The cake will keep well for a few days covered but, after a day or two, the caramel will start to lose its shine.
Recipe: Caramelised banana and rum cake