Under this silver dome is an upside-down, banana-topped, brown-sugar-topped!, pecan-topped!!, fully baked banana-bread cake. (You must watch the beginning of this clip of Julia Child preparing to “be the big boss of the big cheese souffle” in an episode of The French Chef to understand where I’m coming from. It’s so good. Really. Just go watch the first 30 seconds then come back.)
As promised (at the bottom of this post), I baked an adaptation of my mom’s upside-down cranberry pecan coffee cake this weekend before my friends Cait and Sarah arrived for a weeklong vacation. I went to work after purchasing yet another box of butter. I’ve gone through more butter in the last two weeks than in the past six months–though fortunately I have not been consuming it all myself.
I really need an electric beater. I joke about what an arm workout it is to beat butter and sugar by hand until fluffy but I will certainly state that whisking bananas and sugar by hand until light, fluffy, and creamy makes the former look like a piece of cake (which it did, of course, turn into, but you get my pun). I said on Saturday that that was it, I’m getting an electric beater, but truth be told, I’m more likely to just end up with one very strong tricep than with an electric beater. There are more important things to get, like spice racks.
Back to baking: To make this cake, I combined the topping recipe for the cranberry pecan coffee cake (the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon sauce with chopped pecans and banana slices, instead of cranberries) and a recipe for a banana-pecan loaf that I found on The Food Network‘s site.
It all came together quite easily–though I almost blew it when I ran out to get toothpicks (with which to test the cake) ten minutes before it was finished baking. Had I come back from the store just one or two minutes later, the bottom of the cake would definitely have blackened. But I got there just in time. Phew. The other near-disaster came when I flipped the cake over. The sauce started pouring down the sides and I was pretty sure that when I removed the top/bottom of the pan, the bananas were going to slide right off. For a moment it certainly did look as though that was going to happen, but in the end, it all stayed put.
The one other thing I was nervous about was how it was going to taste and if the topping would suit the bread well or be too sweet. I let the cake cool to room temperature overnight and made a great reveal for Cait and Sarah on Sunday morning after we returned to my apartment from the airport . Oh man, it was amazing. The flavors and textured balanced well together and it was a hit, if I can say so myself. I’ll definitely be baking this cake again.