CASA GRANDE -- Upside down banana cake is an easy-to-make dessert that produces impressive results.

Much like a pineapple upside down cake, the banana version simply replaces the pineapples with skillet-caramelized bananas.

As the bananas cook in the caramel sauce, the sugar base becomes infused with rich banana flavor.

Once inverted, the soft cake is topped with sliced bananas that look and taste amazing.

Banana bread fans will love this recipe as the resulting cake is full of banana flavor while looking and tasting different than the standard banana bread.

Best of all, this recipe uses more bananas than the standard banana bread, so it’s a great way to use up lots of leftover bananas. When I made it recently, I used five very ripe bananas. But the recipe works with ripe and nearly ripe bananas.

For the cake base, any flavor or batter could be used. I used a store-bought yellow cake mix, but chocolate or spice cake — either homemade or store-bought — would also work well.

And this cake is easy to make. It works best in a cast iron skillet. The caramel sauce is made in the skillet and the bananas are placed in the sauce. Then the cake batter is poured over the bananas and sauce and baked in the skillet until the cake is done.

The cake is then inverted so that the bananas and sauce form the top of the cake. Super easy.

But for those who don’t have an oven-safe skillet, the recipe can still be made using a cake pan, with the sauce and bananas placed on the bottom of a pan and the cake batter poured on top.

Either way, it’s an easy dessert that’s sure to impress.

Banana upside down cake

Topping

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

3-5 small or medium bananas sliced lengthwise

Cake

1 box cake mix plus ingredients indicated on the package

Also needed: greased oven-safe cast iron skillet

Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Add brown sugar and salt and stir until a nice caramel sauce forms. Place bananas in a single layer in caramel sauce and turn off heat.

In a bowl, prepare cake mix following directions on package.

With bananas and sauce still in skillet, pour cake mix over fruit and caramel in an even layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is done.

Run a knife around the side of the pan to loosen up the edges of the cake. Allow to cool. Place a plate the size of the pan over the skillet, and carefully, using pot holders, turn the plate and the pan upside down, so the pan is on top of the plate. Carefully remove the pan from the cake. If any of the bananas stick to the pan, gently remove them and place them on the cake.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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