There’s some seriously sticky humid weather going on here this week, wow. We haven’t had to have the air conditioning on more than the odd day or so pretty much all summer (which tells you how ‘summer’ has been for us up here) but this week it’s necessary. It’s been a scorcher of a season all over the place this year with heat waves killing people and forest fires torching homes, but we’ve managed to steer clear of the burn in Toronto. I’m not a huge fan of super hot weather and never have been, and while everyone else is so excited for summer I’m the one looking forward to autumn.
I’m very sensitive to smells and I feel spring and autumn bring a bounty of delicious and comforting scents, while summer brings the smell of blistering pavement and sweat. Autumn in particular smells like the earthiness of decaying leaves, the faint whisps of wood burning fireplaces, and slow cooked stews and soups. How can you yearn for summer when fall smells that good?!
On my list for fall makes’n’bakes to share on the blog, are: more upside down cakes, more savory breads, and probably some more pickled things!
Any suggestions? Something you want to see posted?
Banana Upside Down Cake: yields one 8 or 9 inch square pan
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 TB soft butter
1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1+1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, your choice
-Prepare a cake pan with grease and parchment paper, and preheat your oven to 350F.
-Take the first measurement of butter and smear it thinly on the bottom of your prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the first measurement of brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan on top of the thin layer of butter. Slice 2 of the bananas lengthwise (or crosswise if you want) and lay them flat on top of the brown sugar layer. Set the pan aside and make your cake batter.
-Smash the two remaining bananas with a fork or beat them with the paddle attachment in your stand mixer. If you’ve used your mixer: remove the banana into a small bowl and reserve. Cream together the butter and the sugar, whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk together eggs, vanilla, yogurt, and smashed bananas in yet another separate bowl.
-Add the wet ingredients to the creaming butter and sugar, then add your dry ingredients and paddle on low speed until the batter just comes together nicely with no lumps of dry flour. Do not overmix, think of this like a muffin batter.
-Pour the batter into your banana layered pan, and then use a small offset spatula to spread it evenly around the pan. Bang the pan on the counter 3 or 4 times to ensure the mix is surrounding those bananas nicely at the bottom, and toss into the oven.
-Bake for somewhere between 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the center of the cake bounces back to the touch when you press it.
-Rest the cake for about 5 minutes only, then invert it to remove the pan, revealing the bananas as the new cake-top. You don’t want to rest the cake for too long in the pan before flipping because it’s easier to get it out of the pan while the sugars are still warm. Because the cake is still hot be very careful when inverting so you don’t end up breaking it down the middle. What I usually do is place a wire rack on top of the cake, place my hands one on top of the wire rack and one on the bottom of the cake pan, and then quickly flip it. This way the weight and pressure is distributed evenly on both top and bottom the entire time, and there’s no risk of damaging the cake.
-Allow to come all the way down to room temperature before wrapping and refrigerating. You don’t want to trap any of the heat from the cake with the bananas, this will make the cake soggy in the middle (which I accidentaly did do this round, because I was in a hurry to get to bed!).
-Make sure you bake your cake if anything slightly over, rather than slightly under. When you have moist fruits at the bottom underneath the cake batter you really need to bake it long enough to remove any access moisture so that it doesn’t end up soggy. If when you remove your cake from the oven you don’t think the bananas have caramelized quite to your liking: sprinkle the banana side with additional sugar and place in the oven on broil for a minute. Check, and add for another minute if needed.