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Upside Down Apple Cake

Upside Down Apple Cake

Closely adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum. Read through the recipe before beginning; Beranbaum does not use a classic creaming the butter first method for a lot of her cakes, and I chose to follow that part of her recipe.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cakes
Author TheSpicedLife


  • For the apples:
  • 2 large or 3 small apples peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices (I used a mixture of sweet and tart varieties)
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 4 T unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • For the cake:
  • 1 1/3 cups (150 g) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/4 t fine sea salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 9 T (1 stick + 1 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup chopped toasted pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Toss the prepped apples with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. Prepare a 9x2 inch cake pan by greasing the bottom of the pan with a little oil or shortening and then layering a cut out circle of parchment paper on it.
  4. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Using a pastry brush, transfer about 1 tablespoon of the butter to the cake pan, brushing the sides of the pan and the bottom over the parchment paper.
  5. Add the remaining brown sugar to the saucepan, and then also add all of the juices that have drained out of the apples. Stir constantly and bring to a boil--when it boils, stop stirring. Simmer for 3 minutes, until it is bubbling and a deep amber in color.
  6. Pour this caramel mixture over the bottom of the cake pan--do not scrape the saucepan. Tilt the cake pan to evenly coat the bottom of the cake pan with the caramel sauce. Ignore any hardening--baking will re-melt it.
  7. Beginning in the center of the cake pan, place the apple slices in an overlapping spiral, like this:
  8. apples in bottom of pan for Upside Down Apple Cake
  9. Set the pan aside, and make the cake batter.
  10. Whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a stand mixer bowl.
  11. Fit the bowl into the stand mixer with the paddle attached.
  12. Whisk together the egg yolks, sour cream and vanilla. Set aside.
  13. Add the 9 tablespoons room temperature butter to the mixer bowl. Begin mixing it into the flour mixture on low speed. When the dry ingredients become moistened, beat on medium speed for a minute.
  14. Add 1/3 of the liquid mixture, and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and repeat twice more, adding all of the liquid ingredients.
  15. Scrape the cake batter onto the prepared apples in blobs across the cake pan--do not pour all in one pile, because the batter is thick and you do not want to disrupt the apples. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the batter evenly over the apples.
  16. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.
  17. While the cake is baking, toast and chop the pecans.
  18. When you remove the cake from the oven, immediately use a small metal spatula to run between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cake at once onto a serving plate-leaving the pan in place for 1-2 minutes before lifting it off of the cake.
  19. If any apples pieces stick, just quickly add them back to the cake.
  20. Sprinkle the chopped toasted pecans over the cake evenly. Serve warm or at room temperature.