It was a dark and stormy night…well, no it wasn’t…. More like a gray, cold and rainy Sunday afternoon and I had bananas in need of being used up. Bananas have a long list of health benefits that I am not going to go into here but if you would like more information check this out.
I will share though that bananas have a mood enhancer called tryptophan in them that helps relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so they are the perfect choice for a gray, cold and rainy any day afternoon.
From a Kitchen Witch perspective bananas send mixed signals. At first glance, one tends to think male energy and it is easy to see why fertility would be one association. Historically Hawaii held no punches, if a woman was found eating one, death was the only option.
On the other hand, Buddha is also seen in art meditating under a banana tree. Now banana trees do not get baby banana trees through fertilization but via ground shoots. The flowers which become the bananas are sterile and the image is meant to represent the impermanent nature of material possessions, one of the pillars of Buddhism. It also tends to deflate the vision of fertility.
And on a third hand are several other lines of thought that suggest bananas assist in the experience of feeling joy, have a feminine connection, are ruled by Venus …or Mars. I am going to leave the entire contemplation in your capable hands.
You will need:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup finely chopped nut of your choice
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. rum or rum flavouring
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/3 cup flour
Gather your ingredients and yourself. Bring your focus into the present moment and hold your intention of love and caring for the space, the ingredients, the people who will share your creation and yourself. Take a deep breath and in and hold for a moment. Release and repeat. Begin….
Prepare the caramel by placing the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a small pan and over medium heat bring the ingredients to a boil. Cook gently for about 10 minutes. Thicker is better, it should coat the spoon you are using but ensure the mixture does not burn.
Prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by using the base as a guide to cut a circle of parchment paper. An easy way it to use a pencil and draw a line around the outside of the flat bottom. Cut the circle out, put the pieces of the spring form pan together. Grease the side of the pan and place the parchment paper inside on the bottom, running your finger around the crease. The paper will be a little bigger than the inside dimension of the pan and you will have a little lip. Position the paper so that the lip goes all the way around the pan. This will help contain the caramel and stop the caramel from running under the paper.
Pour the caramel into the middle of the pan, on top of the parchment. Smooth the caramel out to the edges but not over. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of chopped nuts over the caramel and then place the bananas on top as shown in the picture.
When cutting the bananas and placing them in the pan, place them cut side down with a angle cut at the top so that they will all fit together. If you peel the bananas, cut them in half diagonally and then split them down the middle, there will be two useable pieces per banana. The other two pieces will be curved in the opposite direction. Keep the pieces you are not using for the cake portion.
An alternative option would be to cut in slices and arrange in a spiral. In the picture you can see the paper at the bottom, then the first three layers. Put aside and prepare the cake portion.
Whip the butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating. Add each egg, mixing well after each addition. Combine the flour and baking powder and add to the batter mix well and finish by adding the mashed bananas and flavouring to the batter.
Pour over the bananas and allow the batter to settle. Even out any uneven places with a spatula. Place in the heated oven with a cookie below just in case there is leakage from the pan and bake about 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before opening the spring. This will allow the topping to cool and thicken. Run a knife around the outside of the cake to ensure the edges are unattached, remove the side portion of the pan. Place plate or cooling rack on top of the bottom of the cake and quickly flip the cake around. You may find there are a few drops of caramel to clean up afterwards. GENTLY, peal off the the bottom of the spring form and the parchment paper. (They come off easily together). Allow to cool.
In North America we do not have easily available the range of bananas offered in other parts of the world. A cook here will know which apples to use when baking and which for eating, which ones make good pies and which are best for applesauce. The same applies to bananas elsewhere unless you have access to a great local market. The bananas we have are very sweet when cooked.
This is a dense moist dessert, best served fresh, a little reminiscent of banana fritters without the deep frying. Store cool but not cold if possible. I would suggest small servings and whipped or ice cream. A little goes a long way and it is always possible to come back for more.
Banana Nut Upside Down Cake from My Kitchen Wand