De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 17th April 2013

How many ways can you use bananas and the bounty of the banana tree?

 

Banana Tree

Banana tree in Ban Xieng Men, Laos

Banana Tree

Banana tree off of the lane in Ban Xieng Men, Laos

 

 

 

 

 

In Laos the banana flower is cut up and used in traditional salads, the leaves are used to steam food like fish, often as decorative plates for meals and in traditional floral décor and offerings.

 

Banana Flower

Banana Flowers for sale in the morning market in Luang Prabang

Banana Leaf Plate

Banana Leaf Plate

Banana Leaf Floral Offerings

Floral Offerings

 

Experiencing all the unexpected ways they use bananas in Laos inspired us to dig-up this surprising and delicious beloved banana cake recipe.  Similar to the above, it is an unexpected role for bananas in that they are center-stage in an upside down cake—nudging pineapple right out of the spotlight!

 

 

 

Caramel-Walnut Banana Upside Down Cake

Caramel-Walnut Banana Upside Down Cake. Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

 

 

Caramel-Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake 

(Recipe from Bon Appetit, March, 2008)

 

Ingredients

Topping

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves or pieces

Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 to 3 large)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preparation

topping

  • Spray 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. (We substitute a 9″ cake pan here) Bring butter, sugar, and corn syrup to boil in medium saucepan, stirring constantly until butter melts. Boil syrup 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Spread topping in prepared pan. Let topping cool completely.

cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then mashed bananas, sour cream, rum, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 2 additions just until combined. Spoon batter into pan.
  • Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Cut around cake. Place platter over pan. Holding pan and platter together, turn over. Let stand 5 minutes, then gently lift off pan. Cool at least 15 minutes for topping to set. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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