Coffee-Infused Upside Down Banana Baba au Rhum
Once again, a big shout-out to all the wonderful folk who voted my last recipe through to the final round of Diced! This next round had me a bit nervous, as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and don’t do a lot of dessert dishes. So I had to rely on finding some other recipes that I could cobble together to come up with something “original” that included the three required ingredients: Coffee, Bananas, and Brown Sugar. The voting won’t open for a few days so I’ll post a linky when it does.
The day I got the ingredient list, I also got the latest edition of Southern Living in the mail. (Yes, I love my print magazines!) And lo and behold, way in the back of the issue was a coffee-flavored bundt cake called Baba ah Rhum. Bingo! But there were no bananas to be found in that one, so had to go find another recipe that used bananas as a dessert. I ran across an interesting upside-down banana tart on Chow’s website but it used a pastry dough as the crust. I started thinking about how I could combine those two, and settled on scaling down the bundt cake and using the cake instead as the “crust” for the bananas.
For the coffee, I decided to use a dark roasted coffee called “Amen Again,” which is hand-roasted and delivered to your door by Dan over at Coffee on the Porch website. He makes a lot of great coffees, so stop on by there and check out his selections. Link to Coffee on the Porch here.
Amen Again Coffee Beans ~ From Coffee on the Porch
There was a lot of hand-wringing and fretting as I whisked, combined, simmered, and baked each step of the dish. And oh my gosh, it came out just incredible! The coffee infusion into the cake and bananas helped tone down the sweetness and the dollop of ice cream on top of the warm cake and bananas made for a heavenly dessert. (Which I ate, by the way, BEFORE my dinner.)
Although technically Baba au Rhum is made with rum, I had to make this kid-friendly so my daughter could eat it, so left out the alcohol. Either way, leaving it out sure did not make any difference in how delicious this came out!
Coffee-Infused Upside-Down Banana Baba au Rhum
For the Banana Topping:
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup strong-brewed coffee
1 large cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large almost ripe bananas
Juice from 1/2 large lemon
Vanilla bean ice cream, for serving
For the Baba au Rhum:
3 large eggs, separated
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/8 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coffee Syrup with Cinnamon Stick
In a deep-sided cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat, then add the brown sugar, coffee, and cinnamon stick. Stir continuously until it starts to boil, then reduce heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Now slice the bananas on the diagonal, then mix them and the lemon juice gently into the coffee syrup in the skillet. I’m assuming the lemon juice is to keep the bananas from turning brown. I found there was way too much syrup, so I removed about 1/3 cup of it at this point. You can arrange the slices in a pattern in the skillet, but I just pushed them around to cover the bottom of the skillet. Now it is time to make the cake batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks and white sugar until it is thick. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ground coffee, and salt. Add it to the yolk mixture until blended. It’s pretty thick at this point but the next step loosens it up. Stir in the melted butter and milk and mix until blended.
Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites in another bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the yolk batter. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until combined, but don’t over-mix it.
Pour the batter evenly over the bananas and syrup. Place skillet in preheated oven, and bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Baked Upside-Down Cake
Meanwhile, add coffee and brown sugar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Set aside until cake is done, and reheat slightly just before removing the cake from the oven.
When the cake is done, remove from oven, and let sit for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Pierce the top of the cake all over about 20 times with a skewer. Pour all but about a half a cup of the syrup evenly over it. Now comes the scary part. Using oven mitts, place a large platter over the skillet, then quickly flip the platter and skillet upside down. I held my breath as I lifted up the skillet. (Did you hold your breath with me???)
Upside Down Banana Cake
WHEW! Not too bad. Only a few of the bananas stuck to the skillet, so I simply unstuck them with a fork and replaced them to the top of the cake. Beautiful!
Serve slices of the warm cake with vanilla ice cream, pour some of the extra coffee syrup over it, and dig in! Just heavenly!
Coffee-Infused Upside Down Banana Baba au Rhum
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