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Torched Banana Cake

Torched Banana Cake
Photograph by Isa Zapata.  Food Styling by Cyd McDowell.  Prop Styling by Paige Hicks

“Think of this as banana bread but seriously leveled up. This cake is inspired by the pineapple upside-down cakes my mother always made around the holidays. Here, I replace the pineapple with ripe bananas and finish the top with a glossy, crackling sugar crust that shatters with the back of a spoon. Yes, it requires a kitchen torch to make (a broiler won’t fully melt the sugar and will instead adhere the cake to whatever baking sheet or pan it is on), but that’s a tool well worth adding to your kitchen tool kit. The batter itself makes the most of easy-to-find ingredients, with coconut milk, olive oil, and almond meal bringing extra flavor and rich texture to the party.” —DeVonn Francis 

Watch DeVonn make this banana cake on our YouTube channel.

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What you’ll need

Ingredients

8–10 servings

4

Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan

¼

cup (packed; 50 g) light brown sugar

1

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided

3–4

ripe bananas, halved lengthwise

cups plus 1 Tbsp. (195 g) all-purpose flour

cup (35 g) almond meal

tsp. baking powder

1

large egg

1

large egg yolk

1

cup unsweetened coconut milk

½

cup extra-virgin olive oil

2

tsp. vanilla extract

cups (250 g) granulated sugar, divided

Flaky sea salt
Special Equipment

A 9"-diameter springform pan; a kitchen torch

Preparation

Step 1

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°. Generously grease bottom and sides of springform pan with butter. Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and ¼ tsp. Diamond Crystal or Morton kosher salt; cook, stirring constantly, until brown sugar is dissolved and butter is copper colored, about 30 seconds. (It’s okay if mixture doesn’t come together at this point.) Pour caramel into prepared pan.

Step 2

Carefully arrange bananas, cut side down, in pan, cutting them to fit in an even layer.

Whisk together flour, almond meal, baking powder, and remaining ¾ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, egg yolk, coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and 1 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined. Pour batter over bananas and gently tap pan on counter to release any air bubbles.

Step 3

Place pan on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake cake, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–60 minutes. Immediately run an offset spatula around edges of pan to loosen cake. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 20 minutes; reserve baking sheet.

Step 4

Invert baking sheet over top of pan, then flip cake over onto baking sheet. Remove ring from pan; carefully lift away pan bottom, running offset spatula between bananas and bottom to release (don’t worry if some of the caramel sticks).

Step 5

Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar evenly over cake. Using kitchen torch, melt sugar until deep amber. Sprinkle cake with sea salt.

How would you rate Torched Banana Cake?

  • This cake is delicious. I made it for a birthday party and everyone liked it better than the fancy birthday cake (blush). I didn’t have a torch yet, so I put the cake under a broiler that had a flame to finish it. I had to hold it close to the flame and watch it very closely, but it worked… OKish. I just made it again and this time I had a torch… What a huge difference the torch made for Caramelizing the sugar on top. Some minor tweaks, I used small tropical bananas instead of conventional bananas. I feel like the small tropical bananas have a slightly brighter sweetness, like passionfruit or mango, and I like how tropical bananas hold up to cooking better. However, the first time I tried the recipe I used half conventional and half tropical just so I could experiment. Conventional bananas were still really yummy. Also Because I always love to honor my Caribbean roots, I put a table spoon of rum in the Caramel sauce in the beginning. Lastly a note on taste… while I like banana bread OK, I am not a huge banana bread fan. This is nothing like banana bread. It’s a lovely yellow almond cake (like a light Spanish almond cake version), with a tropical leaning buttery Carmel/banana topping. It’s like bananas fosters with ripe plantains, meets almond cake. Notes on flour - this second version I’ve tried the 1:1 gluten-free flour. I haven’t eaten it yet but it has baked nicely and the crumbs I tasted were yummy. Hope this is a helpful review about cooking this cake. Would love to know if anyone stored this in the fridge after making the topping or is the fridge condensation softens it?

    • D2

    • Los Angeles, CA

    • 12/30/2021

  • Its embarrassing that you cant even find a relevant review for this recipe because these boomers cant figure out how to print something, or even better they become frustrated with the fact that they are antiquated.

    • Anonymous

    • Long Island, NY

    • 12/30/2021

  • The print options works for me. Just a tip if you don’t know: you can “remove” background images in the print settings before you print. This removes the ads. Additionally, you can reduce the size of the overall scale or simply “fit to page” and have it print on all one page.

    • Anonymous

    • Jersey City, NJ

    • 12/9/2021

  • Hello Jesse - RELAX. Take a photo with your phone. Stop living in the 70's. no one prints anything anymore.

    • Anonymous

    • New Mexico

    • 12/5/2021

  • What can you substitute for almond meal for added flavor? I have an almond allergy. Thanks!

    • Anonymous

    • Chicago

    • 12/4/2021

  • How about the new Epicurious recipe box - beyond dumb.

    • MFB

    • Earth

    • 12/4/2021

  • I also hate the print function. To use two sheets of paper for one fairly simple recipe is absurd - wasteful, inefficient, and unnecessary. I have to copy, paste, edit, re-format separately for any recipe I might wish to try. I won't bother to try this recipe because of the time to do all that. I do not take my laptop into the kitchen and work from it and don't assume that everyone will. Bon Appetit, get your act together or I, too, will cancel my subscription.

    • Jesse

    • New Mexico

    • 12/4/2021

  • Yes!!!! The print functions sucks! I can only copy and paste and that too is a hassle, Also another reason why I canceled my subscription is because I couldn't keep a file of my favorite recipes. And TOO MANY pop up ads. :(

    • Anonymous

    • 12/4/2021

  • I canceled my subscription because this magazine can’t figure out to have a print option that works. It “works” but this recipe spans 3 pages with extraneous info (ads!) and white space. It’s irritating and I’m going to keep coming here to tell you that because it’s not rocket science and I’ve paid a subscription fee for the past 10+ years. Why can bloggers figure this out and you can’t?

    • Anonymous

    • Portland OR

    • 12/4/2021

  • Print function works for me! Haven't made this yet but planning to, sounds delicious, and I always have ripe bananas.

    • Anonymous

    • Port Townsend, WA

    • 12/4/2021

  • I so agree on the print function of the new way recipes are put out for us. I so miss the old way, you could so easily print the recipe.

    • A good cook

    • Springville, CA

    • 12/4/2021

  • IT'S DISAPPOINTING THAT THE PRINT FUNCTION DOESN'T WORK. I'VE SKIPPED MANY RECIPES I OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE LIKED TO TRY

    • Anonymous

    • 12/4/2021

  • When do the bananas go into the pan? Before or after the caramel?

    • Anonymous

    • New York, NY

    • 12/1/2021