I came home to several rapidly-blackening bananas. It seems Nonna just hasn’t been in a banana mood this week.

Having an 87 year old living with you is not unlike having a youngster living with you, at times. Tastes change and what was yummy and a necessary food one week is ignored the next. The main difference, though, is I have no qualms about telling a youngster to eat it or go hungry. I don’t have the same feelings with an 87 year old. At that age, they’ve earned the right to like and dislike things – even if the likes and dislikes change on a regular basis.

I used to work in nutrition and dietetics. I understand that taste buds diminish as we age. And with that in mind,. I try to make sure the foods I cook have enough going on to keep her interest. But a week of not eating bananas is a new one – for years she was almost eating a banana a day.

But her loss is our gain. Banana Cake!

With 6 bananas to use up, I needed more than a banana bread. I like it but I, too, needed a change. An upside down cake would use up a lot of bananas…

With a thank you to Epicurious, I found a recipe that worked just fine. I tweaked it – of course – but still follwed the original intent of the recipe.

Banana Upside Down Cake

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 – 3 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 ttsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.

For topping: Cream brown sugar and butter until well mixed. Spread brown sugar mixture over bottom of 9″ -10″ springform pan. Arrange banana slices atop brown sugar mixture, covering completely. Set cake pan aside.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix mashed bananas, buttermilk and rum in a measuring cup.

Cream 1 1/4 cups sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients alternatively with buttermilk mixture, mixing until just combined. Pour batter over bananas in pan. Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and toothpick comes out clean, about an hour. Transfer to rack and cool.


The topping was nice and caramelly… slightly different than melting the butter and sugar the way I usually do. It was a really nice way to use up bananas .

Nonna probably won’t have any because she watches her sugar – sometimes. Besides, Victor just made her a batch of sugar-free biscotti – her favorite.

That’s okay – more for us.

And you can be assured that next week when I don’t bring home any bananas, they will be the first thing she asks for! And that’s okay.