This week I had a bunch of bananas that seemed to go brown overnight.
I used to love bananas with lots of brown spots, but somewhere along the way my tastes changed. Now, I like bananas that still have just the tiniest bit of green on them. Once they get brown spots, they are a bit too squishy and sweet for my liking.
However, I try to not let “overripe” bananas go to waste. Sometimes I’ll peel them and freeze them for smoothies. Or, as I did today, I’ll make banana bread.
It had been a few years since I made banana bread (cake) so I figured this was the perfect excuse to do so. However, I wanted something a bit out of the ordinary. I love the combination of banana and Nutella, so decided to create something with those flavors. Instead of actually using Nutella, I used real hazelnuts which also gave the bread some crunch. Bringing in the chocolate element was easy: chocolate chips.
To make this whole thing even more interesting, I baked the cake in a skillet. Since I’m spending a year experimenting with skillet cooking (see more here), I thought it would be especially appropriate.
As you’ll see in the recipe, this cake also has an upside-down style topping. It begins with a layer of bananas and brown sugar. When you flip the cake out of the pan, you’re greeted with a beautiful display of caramel, bananas, and chopped hazelnuts.
Now be prepared: If you decide to flip this cake upside down (which isn’t required), some of the bananas may stick to your skillet. You can just pull them off and place them back on your cake. No harm done.
Serve this up warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you have a winning dessert on your hands and a great use for those brown bananas.
Let me walk you through the recipe.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, plus 1/3 cup
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped, plus 1/2 cup
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 bananas mashed, plus 2 bananas, sliced
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup milk
Powdered sugar for garnish
Ice cream, optional but highly recommended
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Then, in a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a 12-inch cast iron skill heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once the butter melts, whisk in 1/3 cup of brown sugar; then add the sliced banana in a single layer. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with 1/4 cup hazelnuts and set to the side.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Once combined, whisk in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until almost mixed. Then mix in the banana, chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Add milk and mix to combine.
Pour the batter over the bananas in the skillet and spread out evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and set in the middle. (If the top is browning too quickly, place aluminum foil over the skillet.)
Let the cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. At this point, serve it directly from the pan or flip it out onto a plate. (If flipping, you'll want to do this within 5-10 minutes of removing the cake from the oven. Be aware some of the banana pieces will stick to the skillet. Remove them from the skillet and reapply them to the cake if desired.)
Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
For more skillet recipes, be sure to visit the A Year of the Skillet series page. I hope you enjoyed this recipe. As always, happy baking!