Readers often ask me what my favorite dessert is. The answer? Apple pie. Good ole fashioned apple pie with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. My second favorite? Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. ♥
Told ya I like fruity desserts the most.
I made this cake over the weekend for several reasons. First, considering how much I love fruit in my desserts, the selection of them is scarce in my recipe box. I’m no fool. I know you all love chocolate the most! See chocolate.
Second, cookies heavily weigh down my recipe archive. I love me a good cookie with my vanilla almond milk, but my cookie sheets deserve a break. See cookies. And finally… I love apples. Apple pies, apple crisps, caramel apples, apples & brie, peanut butter apples, apple butter, apple cider, caramel apple beer. (Blue Moon’s seasonal variety! Yum.)
Waking up Saturday morning, I had a mission. Make a fruity cake and make it GOOD. We’re talking two sticks of butter good. Caramel, cinnamon, crunchy walnut good. Gooey warm apples good. A fall dessert at its finest, this upside-down cake was born.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
The cake is baked in a 9-inch pie dish. It’s a small cake – approximately half the size of a standard cake baked in a 9×13 pan. Without an army to feed, I opt for smaller batch recipes when I can. You could also bake this cake in a small square baking pan, but I loved the triangle slices. Looks fancier.
The cake itself is incredibly moist and tender. One full stick of butter is creamed with one cup of dark brown sugar. To those ingredients, you’re going to add two whole eggs and milk. The more sugar and fat in a cake’s batter, the more moist the cake will be. Then you’ll add flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Keeping in mind this cake is on the small side, the fat from the butter, 2 eggs, and milk combined with the cup of dark brown sugar… you can imagine how moist and tender each bite is going to be! It will melt in your mouth.
For that glorious upside-down topping, start with your favorite apples. Sliced thinly, I used 1 medium Granny Smith apple and 1 medium Honeycrisp apple. One tart and one sweet — the perfect balance. I love apple pies baked with a variety of apples, so I went with the same idea here.
One stick of butter is melted down with brown sugar, spices, and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid gold all over your thinly sliced apples and top with walnuts. The walnuts are completely optional, but I loved the crunchy texture they gave to the soft apple topping.
Pour the cake batter all over the topping and bake. The sugary butter topping and the juices from the apples bubble up and caramelize through the cake as it bakes. Your kitchen is going to smell amazing!
Flipping the cake upside down. Timing is key in this step.
Hot from the oven, the fruit layer is still too juicy and fluid for flipping. It will slip n’ slide unevenly over the cake layer. But if the cake cools for too long, the fruit will stick to the pan creating a cake without much of a topping. The trick is cooling the cake for the perfect amount of time. Go for exactly 10 minutes. This is long enough to allow the fruit topping to firm up and adhere to the cake, but but short enough to allow the cake to be easily released from the pan. The caramelized, glistening topping will be right where it should be.
Love at first bite!
This fruity cake is the motherload of fall desserts and deserves some spotlight in my recipe archives.
Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake
The motherload of Autumn flavored desserts.
Yield: 8-10 slices
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, divided
- 1 and 2/3 cups dark brown sugar, divided
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 medium apples - peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk - regular, soy, or almond (I used vanilla almond milk)
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Generously coat a 9-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Make sure your apples are sliced and ready to go.
In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter on low heat. When it begins to bubble, stir in 2/3 cup dark brown sugar. Continue to stir until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and vanilla extract. Stirring constantly, leave on heat for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Layer the sliced apples into the dish and pour the butter/sugar overtop. Sprinkle with walnuts. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Using a handheld electric mixer, cream one stick butter and 1 cup dark brown sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in milk and mix until just combined. By hand, stir in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, flour, and baking powder. Do not overmix - stir until everything is *just* combined.
Pour batter over the apples and bake for at least 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the very middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for exactly ten minutes before inverting onto a large serving dish.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
*You may also bake in an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan at the same baking time & oven temperature.
*Garnish with additional walnuts or caramel sauce, if desired.
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Caramel, apples, & cinnamon scream FALL!
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