I couldn’t take it anymore. After two carb-free days to lose the 2 pounds I had gained after an indulgent week, I had to have CARBS. A few days ago I was back down to my desired weight and I approached the day with a smile on my face. An almost intoxicated giddiness set in. Rubbing my hands together – “I can eat carbs today!” I ended up going the majority of the day without carbs again, though the avoidance wasn’t deliberate this time, it just worked out that way. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and here in WA you learn not to take those days for granted. I loaded the kids up in the car and we headed down toward Mt. Rainier to Alder Lake Park.
A breathtakingly serene lake in an idyllic setting. Such a beautiful day – must have been in the high 70’s – and get this, we were the only ones there! Really strange. We had run of the park, the playground, the shoreline. …Where was I going with this? Oh yes, no carbs. I had just grabbed some fruits and veggies to take along and a few extra things for the kids, so it wasn’t until I got home later that afternoon that I allowed myself to indulge. And oh what a sweet indulgence it was!
The kids were both tuckered out from a day of play and took a nap as soon as we got home. In fact, this was the first time ever that Liam fell asleep on the floor while playing with his toys. He had been making his usual choo-choo train sound effects and suddenly all went silent. I peeked in his room and there he was – fast asleep. Emily fell asleep five minutes later and so I headed off to the kitchen to create something to satisfy my craving for carbs.
This creation wasn’t planned. I was just craving something cakey…something caramelly (like that truly magnificent Whole Wheat Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce) I noticed the stash of bananas in my fruit basket and thought about making some kind of caramelly, carby banana thing. Some kind of twist on your standard ol’ banana bread. Then the upside-down concept occurred to me. Ohhhh, it was wunderbar!
Once again, I chose whole wheat flour (complex carbs = much better for you). But health benefits aside, I just think whole wheat tends to pair better with caramelly stuff. The richer, earthier, nuttier flavor really complements the sweet caramel. But feel free to substitute white flour if you prefer. Just cut the baking powder in half, increase the oven temperature to 350 and bake for about 45 minutes instead.
What a fabulous day it was! Beautiful drive, beautiful lake and surroundings, play time with the two cutest and happiest little kids in the world, and a deliciously moist, caramelly banana bread cake. Once you’ve tried this you may never go back to the original way of making banana bread again!
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Okay, lets get started on that recipe!
Mash the bananas. (The more over-ripe the bananas are the more flavor they will yield.)
Spread the brown sugar out on the bottom of a 9X5 inch loaf pan (I used and like Fat Daddio’s).
Evenly place the butter pieces on top of the brown sugar. Place the loaf pan in the oven preheated to 325 degrees F and leave in for 8 minutes.
In the meantime, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
I decided to add a little cinnamon too.
Take the loaf pan out of the oven.
Stir to combine the sugar and butter and spread the mixture evenly along the bottom of the pan.
Slice a couple of bananas in 1/4 inch rounds and layer them on top of the sugar mixture.
Add all remaining ingredients to the flour mixture.
Beat on medium-high speed just until combined.
Pour the batter over the bananas in the loaf pan.
Bake in the oven preheated to 325 degrees F for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out moist but clean. Let the bread sit in the pan for about 20 minutes before inverting it onto a cake platter.
Make the caramel syrup (see instructions in recipe box) and pour and spread evenly over the banana bread. Serve immediately or wait until cooled. Note: The caramel glaze will firm up and discolor, so you may want to wait until you’re ready to eat it to spread on the glaze.
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
- About 2 bananas, sliced in ¼ inch rounds
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
- 1½ cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup mashed overripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup coconut or vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the Caramel Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
- Spread the brown sugar on the bottom of the loaf pan. If using nuts, sprinkle them evenly over the sugar. Dot with the butter. Put it in the oven for about 8 minutes. Stir the mixture until dissolved and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of the banana slices on top of the sugar mixture along the entire bottom of the pan.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add all the remaining wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Do not over-beat.
- Pour the batter over the sliced bananas in the pan.
- In an oven preheated to 325 degrees F, bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean but moist.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it on a cake platter.
- To prepare the Caramel Glaze, place the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream in a small saucepan (you can also microwave the ingredients for a minute). Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit for a minute. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake (on the upside down side with the bananas on top).