Apple Upside Down Cake

I am a huge fan of unexpected delights when it comes to food. A new twist on a traditional dish brings out the nerd in me, and gets me thinking about new flavor combinations to try.

So when I came across this recipe for apple upside down cake, I had to try it. I adore pineapple upside down cake, with it’s gooey, sweet pineapple top, what’s not to love, right?

Well, before you whip out your old standby upside down cake recipe, seriously consider switching it up.

Because this cake is fantastic.

I would give it three thumbs up if I could (but I’m sort of glad I can’t) it’s that good. It’s so good, I ate half the cake on my own and didn’t bother bringing it into work to have my coworkers help me out.

I took one (or two?) pounds for the team and gobbled that cakey devil right up. Oh, and did I mention it’s fantastic warm and topped with vanilla ice cream? Give that a try and see if you can constrain yourself to only one piece.

Ingredients (recipe from America’s Test Kitchen):

For the Topping:

  • 4 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 apples (I used Cortland) peeled and cored (approx. 2 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

For the cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temp
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Grease a round 9 inch cake pan. Make sure the pan is at least 2 inches high, or you’ll get a cake volcano. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Halve the cored apples, cutting two into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and two into 1/2-inch-think slices. Melt the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat, and add the 1/2-inch apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to caramelize, about 4-6 minutes.

3. Add the 1/4-inch apples, brown sugar, and lemon juice and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved, or about 1 minute. Pour the apple mixture into the prepped pan and set aside.

4. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugars and eggs together for about 45 seconds, then add the butter and continue whisking until combined.

5. Add the sour cream and vanilla to the sugar/egg/butter bowl and whisk again until combined. Add the flour mixture in batches and continue whisking until mixed. Be careful not to over mix it, you can stop once it’s combined.

6. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly over the fruit. Lightly tap the pan  against the counter or table to settle the batter.

7. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.

8. Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then run a small knife around the edges to loosen it. Put the wire rack on top of the cake, with the top of the rack touching the top (soon to be bottom) of the cake.

9. Flip the cake and the rack together, and gently remove the pan. Place the wire rack over a baking tray to catch any escaping fruit goo. If pieces of apple get stuck in the pan, just pull them out and pop them back on the cake. Let it cool for about 20 minutes more and you’re ready to eat!


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