Do you guys watch Silicon Valley on HBO? I really like that show and how geeky the characters are. Those nerds. And I’m not making fun of them! Friends and family can attest that, despite all my attempts to be cool and to use hashtags and be up-to-date on pop culture, I am a nerd deep down.
I love spreadsheets and schedules, Lord of the Rings and classic literature, trivia, and statistics. I am a klutz with bad motion sickness, I am a compulsive list-maker, and I am also very nearsighted with horrible astigmatism, which necessitates contacts or very thick glasses. #nerd4life
These are bad generalizations of nerddom, but these are the ones I mention because these are the traits I share with my favorite nerd, my dad.
Although if you ask his colleagues and co-workers to describe my dad, “nerd” is probably the last thing they will say. To them he’s their hard-working leader, their favorite COO, the charismatic head of a nonprofit, their Richard Gere with the brains of a genius economist, the ultimate family man.
To me, he’s all that and more. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved being compared to my dad. I love being introduced as his daughter, and being called a daddy’s girl. I love that I can call my dad anytime, anywhere, and that he will always be there to support me and encourage me. I love that my dad and I share the same giant sweet tooth, and even though we’re continents apart for Father’s Day this year, that he will still appreciate this banana cake I made for him.
My dad makes the best minatamis na saging, which is Filipino for “sweetened bananas” – it’s a dish of caramelized plantains, soft and tender, sticky and sweet. I love eating the warm plantains straight from the pan, or cold with a splash of milk, or with leche flan in halo-halo (a Filipino dessert with crushed ice, beans, and evaporated milk). It’s one of the dishes that I look for immediately whenever I come home, and I eat it every day until it’s gone.
I made this Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake in his honor. I used regular bananas, not plantains, and I used store-bought caramel (a jar of my favorite Salted Caramel from Trader Joe’s), but the end result is extra delicious. I tinkered with my recipe for Upside Down Cake and decided to use both buttermilk and sour cream for supreme cake softness. This yields a tender and moist cake, with a slight tang complimenting the sweet banana and caramel flavors.
This cake is very easy to make. You don’t need a mixer, or anything fancy (like a springform pan). You mix the cake batter in one bowl, and pour it into a cake pan that’s been spread with salted caramel and sliced bananas. Bake, let rest, and turn upside down.
It’s simple and no fuss, like my dad. Sweet, like my dad. Looks plain but is actually extraordinary, like my dad. And number one in my heart, like my dad.
Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake
Upside Down Topping
1/2 cup caramel (I used Trader Joe's salted caramel)
2 bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch discs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 banana, mashed
1 large egg
1 tablesoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan. You can also use a springform pan.
- Spread caramel on the bottom of cake pan. Arrange the banana slices on top in a circular pattern.
- Make the cake. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the buttermilk, sour cream, mashed banana, egg, and vanilla, blending just until well combined.
- Pour the batter evenly over the top and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a platter and serve warm.
My dad has also been wearing glasses for as long as I can remember, and in my mind he looks exactly the same over the years. Here is a quick series of pictures to show you how my dad looks like he hardly ages:
with me and my sisters in the 80s
our family in the 90s (we used to get annual family pics, thus the same studio background)
my dad and me in Milan, 2010
Father’s Day Red Sox game, 2014
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you more than any cake could ever express <3
If you’d like to read more Father’s Day tributes and recipes inspired by my dad, check out these posts: Japanese Fried Cauliflower Rice, Salted Chocolate Banoffee Pie, Steak on the Stovetop, and Nutella Banana Pudding.