Monkey House | Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake
No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks…
Today was the last day of school for my little monkeys. I’ve been looking forward to this day for weeks now — looking forward to a lazy summer of flip flops and beaches, afternoons at the pool, and sessions of summer camp scattered between. And now that it’s here, just a few hours into summer vacation, and well, I feel like a zookeeper in the monkey house. It’s going to be a long summer, indeed (wait, that’s a good thing, right?).
How entirely appropriate that I have for you today a cake that would make the monkeys in your life go bananas. What silly monkey wouldn‘t like a Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake?
When I made this the cake, I was hoping to capture the essence of a Bananas Foster dessert, dripping into a spongy cake, with swirls of young coconut running through the syrupy sugars. My choice of young coconut, or buko, as it is called in the Philippines, was perfect, as it imparted its subtle coconut taste and added that lovely texture I love so much in young coconut meat.
It may not be the most sophisticated dessert, but it oozes of simplicity and down-home goodness. You must promise me you will try this cake, it’s that good. If that’s not enough to convince you, let me just say this: as I opened up my eyes after savoring a biteful, I looked up and spied my husband across the table licking his plate. Let me assure you, he has very nice table manners – I have never seen him do that before! He looked up at me and said, This is the best dessert you have ever made. I looked around the table and felt the happy silence as we all devoured our dessert – it was a moment of calm and quiet in the monkey house.
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Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake
This fluffy and syrupy cake is made with young coconut, or buko, as it is called in the Philippines. It can be found in your local Asian market, most often in the freezer section, already shred into luscious strips.
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1 cup buko (young coconut)
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1½ cups flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 very ripe banana
- ½ cup buttermilk
- flaked coconut for garnish (optional)
- vanilla ice cream (optional)
- caramel sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Slice 3 bananas in half lengthwise and arrange flat side down in a pie pan. Trim pieces as necessary. Arrange the swirls of buko (young coconut) over the bananas. In a sauce pan, melt 1/4 cup butter. Stir in brown sugar until blended and dissolved. Remove immediately from heat and pour over the bananas and buko.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream 1/4 cup butter, and gradually beat in granulated sugar. Beat in egg, and add lemon juice, vanilla, and banana, mixing well, until banana is mashed and the batter is fully incorporated. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Spread over the bananas and coconut in the pie pan. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is springy in the center and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen edge with a sharp knife and invert onto a serving plate. Garnish with flaked coconut if desired. Serve warm alone or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.