Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

Breakfast, Desserts

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

Hiiiii from high in the sky. I’m on my way to Atlanta to speak at Create + Cultivate. But first, I wanted to tell you about this little brunch I threw last weekend.

Growing up part of my childhood in South Florida, Cuban culture was ever-present. At family parties, Celia Cruz was always playing. As a teenager, my friends and I always went to Calle Ocho–which if you’ve never been–is so much fun and mayhem all at the same time. And most Sundays, mass was usually followed by brunch at this little Cuban restaurant down the street from our house.

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

So when Nespresso got in touch with me about throwing a Cuban-inspired brunch to celebrate their release of Cafecito de Cuba (the first ever Cuban coffee to come to The United States in over 50 years), I was like YES PLZZZZ.


If you’ve never had a cafecito, you’re in for a treat. Cafecito traditionally has a bit of raw cane sugar added to the first drips of hot coffee. This Cafecito de Cuba did not disappoint. It’s slightly sweet, intense, and strong—it wakes you right up! The flavor of the coffee is amazing; the texture is smooth and velvet-like.

I’ve been really inspired by Cuban interiors lately. (You’ve probably seen a ton of them on the Instagram, too). I love the range of colors; my favorite being green and pink and peach. I love the fruits like bananas and papayas and guavas.

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

I wanted the table to feel tropical but still feel modern and cozy.

Oddly enough at the beginning of this year, I nearly cooked my way through all of my favorite Cuban dishes. I made vaca-frita; I made so many iterations of picadillo and ropa vieja and I tried (and failed) to make perfect Cuban bread (it’s VERY HARD)! And I hate so many things with mojo.

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

This piccadillo is very similar to one that I posted a few years ago, except that I fried the eggs and put them top. I feel like this makes it more brunch-y, though this picadillo is good for any time of day.

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

And the cake! It’s a dark rum upside down banana cake. It’s rich and fluffy and goes so nicely with the Cafecito de Cuba. There’s a rum caramel that’s made and then bananas are added. It looks pretty and tastes even better.

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

Cuban-Inspired Brunch + Dark Rum Banana Upside Down Cake

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serving Size: 1 (10-INCH UPSIDE DOWN CAKE)



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups milk

Banana Rum Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum 
  • 3 to 4 firm bananas, peeled and cut horizontally  


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar begins to bubble, about 1 minute. Pour in the dark rum and bring to a simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes; we just want to burn off a bit of the alcohol. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Next, arrange the slices of banana to your liking. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Next, in the bowl of a stand-up mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla; and then mix until the mixture. It might look a bit curdled but that’s ok—it’ll come together. 
  • To the butter and sugar mixture, mix in half of the flour mixture and the milk. Then, mix in the remaining flour mixture, being sure not to over mix.
  • Pour the batter over the bananas, and spread the batter gently so it’s nice and even and reaches the edges of the pan. Transfer the cast iron skillet to the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the top is nice and lightly golden brown. 
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. To invert the cake, place a (large enough) plate on top of the cast iron skillet and turn both of them over—be careful, it’ll be heavy. Lift up the cast iron skillet and voila! Your cake! Serve with a side of whipped cream and a cafecito! 
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

(Special thanks to Nespresso for sponsoring this post. Their Cafecito de Cuba is SO GOOD. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)

(Another special thanks to my friends for coming to brunches for me! | And a big hug to Anne Sage for prop styling |Joanne Pio snapped all the pretty photos.

Beautiful ceramics by Peter Sheldon | Softest, prettiest linens from Rough Linens.

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Recipe Rating

  • Reply Eden Passante October 16, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Such a great idea! Love this!!

  • Reply Jamie | Hola Croqueta October 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    As a Cuban-American and fellow South Floridian (hey girl hey!), I am LOVING everything about this post! And yes, the Nespresso Cuban coffee is pretty delish, I agree, and the best companion for this upside-down cake! Yum!

  • Reply Tricia Rose October 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I’m going straight to Sur la Table to get some Cafecito de Cuba for the weekend! I love me a new coffee.

    I love to see our Rough Linen table cloth keeping such good company!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 14, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Your linens are SO beautiful and soft. I’m so obsessed with them!! Thank you!

  • Reply Alice October 14, 2016 at 11:52 am

    I live for coffee!

    And I just love the color palette in these photos, so fresh and clean but warm. Not to mention that shirt you’re wearing – gorgeous!

  • Reply Rosemary October 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

    These dishes look amazing, and I want to try both, but where is the recipe for the

  • Reply just a reader October 14, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Just bought your cute new book. Biscuit recipes do vary, but they never contain eggs. Eggs add an unwelcome flavor and density. I know they make the dough hold together better, but that’s the problem; they should be light and flaky, ready to fall apart. Your piecrust recipes have too much water. Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” features the optimal piecrust recipe (he uses a spray bottle to minimize water content). You also say “knead” in your crust recipes; no, never knead a piecrust, that will build gluten, making them tough. As a crafter, I’m sure you know water plus flour equals glue. Many piecrusts use lard or shortening (no water content there) to ensure flakiness. Again, the whole tender, ready to fall apart idea as a biscuit. The skill required to achieve this takes practice.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 14, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Hi there! Thanks for buying my book! Have you tried the recipes? These recipes are tried and true for me (the biscuits and the pie dough) and people have had great success with both. I favor butter over shortening (lard for people is difficult to find) because I enjoy the flavor of butter more. I also do knead a bit because you want the crust to come together. People at home often don’t mix it and knead it enough and then they’re left with a big pile of flour 🙂

      • Reply just a reader October 17, 2016 at 10:57 am

        Yes, I made the lip balm this weekend; absolutely love it and my lips feel so good! I also made the crisp twice but had to use apples as the pears in my market were not ripe enough (too hard). I added dried cherries in the filling (stole the idea from The Barefoot Contessa) for the little something extra instead of walnuts. Lard is often rancid (so little turnover in the store) and difficult to find so I don’t use it, either. “Southern Living” has a special issue out now with their biscuit recipe and they grate the butter also, but say to use cold, not frozen butter as frozen is harder to mix in and forces you to use more water. I have found flour, cornmeal (heck, all baking ingredients) sometimes months older in upscale neighborhoods. I think because people there don’t bake as much and are more likely to buy already-made pastries. I find fresher flour in rural markets or less-expensive areas because there’s more turnover in the store and fresher flour contains more moisture and my baked goods turn out better. White Lily and Martha White are two brands noted for biscuit making. If your biscuits feel “dry” to you without eggs, it may be a flour-freshness issue not of your own making. The Barefoot Contessa’s “famous scones” recipe contains eggs, but I feel the same egg-less way about them. I’m making your Chicken and Dumplings today and am glad I know what to make with the package of soba noodles taking up residence in my pantry!

        • Reply just a reader October 20, 2016 at 11:08 am

          I made your Chicken and Dumplings recipe from your new book and it was soo delicious, quick and easy! Made my home smell fantastic, too. I also liked it was a smaller quantity than most soup recipes so I’m not having to deal with loads of prep or leftovers.
          Could you do the same treatment for good ol’ Baked Beans, maybe in your Kick A** section? I love the taste but canned aren’t quite so special and the recipes I find involve a long list of ingredients, long prep time or huge quantities.

  • Reply Abby @ Heart of a Baker October 14, 2016 at 7:04 am

    THIS CAKE. Also, that place and that brunch is adorable, so I just want to hang there all day and eat cake + coffee.

  • Reply heather (delicious not gorgeous) October 14, 2016 at 12:56 am

    banana upside down cakes are the best especially with a cup of strong coffee to cut through the rich sweetness!