Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake.

The beauty queen of autumn desserts. This caramel apple upside-down cake is full of flavor!

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. Super moist, flavorful, and surprisingly easy. |

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. :)

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. Super moist, flavorful, and surprisingly easy. |

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.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. Super moist, flavorful, and surprisingly easy. |

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!

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. Super moist, flavorful, and surprisingly easy. |

 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 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.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. Super moist, flavorful, and surprisingly easy. |

This fruity cake is the motherload of fall desserts and deserves some spotlight in my recipe archives.

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

Yield: 8-10 slices

Print Recipe

The beauty queen of autumn desserts. This caramel apple upside-down cake is full of flavor!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, divided
  • 1 and 2/3 packed 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


Lightly 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. Leave on heat for about 2 minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and vanilla extract. 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.

Spoon or pour batter over the apples and bake for at least 45 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. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a couple days.

Additional Notes:

Sally Says:

*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.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


Caramel, apples, & cinnamon scream FALL!  

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake Recipe - so much flavor in every bite!



112 Responses to “Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake.”

  1. #
    Bonedocposted November 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Just made the cake today, waiting to cut into it. I’m a stickler for details when it comes to recipes. When you say ‘layer the apples’, are we talking one, two, or three layers?


    • Sallyreplied on November 4th, 2014 at 7:34 am

      just 1 single layer of apple slices, layered with the butter mixture, then the walnuts.


  2. #
    Shereenposted December 24, 2014 at 8:05 am


    This will be the first recipe I am trying of yours :) I am very confused as a lot of your measurements are in ‘cups’ what are those in grams? (I’m in the UK)
    We have various size of cups so no idea which size(s) you mean.
    Please let me know, I looked online but all cup measurements vary unfortunately.



  3. #
    Eudociaposted September 7, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    This looks perfect and just what I’m looking for today! It’s Labor Day and my sis and I are the only ones here at our family lake house. We have apple trees in the back yard and I wanted to make a scaled down dessert with the apples. I saw someone posted your recipe with some variations, but I wanted your exact one. Our family tradition is to make our Aunt Ruth’s apple cake and I’m so tired of it–I’m looking forward to enjoying this tonight with our homemade banana ice cream! I’ll report back with the results!


    • Sallyreplied on September 7th, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      I love this cake recipe– so much! Hope you enjoy.


      • Eudociareplied on September 8th, 2015 at 12:32 am

        Well, I’m back–and it was FANTASTIC! I was so afraid it would be a big sloppy mess when I inverted it–but it turned out great! And so delicious! My sis loved it, too! Thank you for the recipe!

  4. #
    Karma Lewisposted November 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I’ve made the pineapple upside-down cake from scratch the way my Mama use to make – in a cast iron skillet. LOVE it!! This one sounds awesome and I plan to make it soon. I am wondering if it would bake up as well in a cast iron skillet the way my other cake does? Also, is real butter a must or can I use margarine just this once as I am out of real butter? Will it make a difference if I use light brown sugar instead of the dark brown sugar? 


    • Sallyreplied on November 15th, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Do not use margarine. Butter is key. A cast iron skillet works. Light brown is OK, though for more flavor dark brown is the best choice.


      • Karma Lewisreplied on November 15th, 2015 at 3:24 pm

        Darn! Okay, I guess I will have to wait awhile to make this. I do not have any real butter. Also, I only have frozen apples. Maybe by the time I can afford real butter again, I can buy fresh apples as well. :) Thanks for your help! I can hardly wait to make this! I just know it is going to be fantastic!!!

  5. #
    Ranaposted November 26, 2015 at 5:25 am

    I’ve applied this recipe and lots of other cookies recipes, monkey bread and they all turned out perfect. thanks a lot for all the details and the passion we feel while reading the blog.


  6. #
    Kerriposted December 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Sally! I love love love your recipes and this is one of my faves! I was curious as to whether I could simple double the cake batter ingredients to make a deeper cake base? Do you think it would work and if so how long would you suggest the cooking time would be? Or should I not risk it… Thanks so much!


    • Sallyreplied on December 14th, 2015 at 6:41 am

      Kerri, rather than doubling– I suggest making two batches of cake batter and pouring that into a deeper dish pan. I do not recommend doubling because you risk overmixing when working with a greater volume of batter. The bake time, of course, will be longer.


  7. #
    Salmaposted January 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    HI! this looks amazing! would it be ok to use all white sugar instead of brown?


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