Upside Down Apple Cake

Upside Down Apple Cake


Great fun here.  Upside down cakes are simple and impressive at the same time.  It’s really cool to make this for a dinner party and bring the dish out to your waiting guests and do the big reveal live at the dinner table.  You’ll be a hero!  Feel free to switch this up, you can use any fruit you wish…even pineapple, but get a fresh one please!

I highly recommend using a cast-iron skillet for this recipe.  You can make the caramel in it on the stovetop; bake the cake in it in the oven, and doing the big reveal in it is easier too.  Plus it’s traditional.  But if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, any oven safe pan will work.  You could even use a cake pan or a pie plate, just make the caramel in another pan first and pour it in to coat the bottom.


3 TBS butter
3/4 C light brown sugar
1 lb apples, sliced
2 TBS walnuts

Melt the butter in your pan on medium-low heat and stir in the sugar.  Keep stirring while the sugar begins to melt and turn into caramel.  BE CAREFUL!!!  Melted sugar is hotter than lava and will give you a severe burn (trust me), so do not touch it; be super careful.  Don’t worry if it’s not 100% perfectly smooth; you’ll be cooking this in the oven with the cake, right?  Right.  Turn off the heat and let the lava cool…now’s a good time to prep the fruit.

Take your apples and slice them.  You can go as thin as you want, but I kept mine a little chunky, maybe 1/4” slices or so…  When the caramel is cool and safe to handle (it will have hardened up a good bit too) place your apples on top of it. You can be random and sprinkle the slices all over or do a spiral like I did creating a whole in the middle.  I like filling that center with a small handful of walnuts, but that’s totally optional…you can add more fruit or something else like berries if you wish.  Just remember that this will be the top of the cake; everyone is going to see the pattern you make with your apples so…make it pretty!


1 C sifted cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter (1/2 a cup), softened
3/4 C sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C sour cream

PREHEAT your oven to 350° Fahrenheit

Add the flour, the baking powder and soda and the salt together in a bowl and give them a real good stir to mix thoroughly.  Please note that you need to sift that cake flour BEFORE you measure it out.

In a large bowl add the butter and the sugar and use an eggbeater or electric mixer (or standing mixer is best if you’ve got one) to beat until creamy for a few minutes.  Keep beating and add your egg until combined, add your vanilla and finally the sour cream.  Keep on beating and add the dry mixtures by thirds until combined.

Add the cake batter to the pan with the apples and caramel.  This batter is very thick and it’ll need some elbow grease to spread it out.  One of my tricks is to lightly wet my fingers and use them to help spread the batter…you can press it into the nooks and crannies of the apples.  The goal is to even it out, spreading all over the pan.  Got it?  Good.  Now bake it!

After about 25 to 30 minutes at 350° the “top” surface should be golden and an inserted toothpick will come out cleanly with no crumbs attached.  It’s done.  You can let this cool in the pan till you are ready to serve it up or just go for it, but be careful ‘coz that caramel is still as HOT AS HELL!  Don’t burn yourself…especially on the big reveal, which can get a little messy with all the hot caramel threads.

When you are ready to serve, run a butter knife around the edges and cover the skillet with a giant plate.  In one fast motion, flip the pan and tamp on the back of the skillet.  You should feel the cake drop.  If not TAMP it some more till you do.  Mentally cross your fingers and pull the skillet up and off and voila…UPSIDE DOWN CAKE!