Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apple Upside Down Cake

When John and I first lived together I didn't cook much. I had a few recipes that I liked but that was about it. I learned to cook from food blogs. I started off small. I would make small recipes, easy recipes, and recipes with 5 or less ingredients. I then slowly worked my way up. When I was first learning I went to Barnes and Noble and looked at various cooking magazines in an attempt to find one that fit my style. I remember picking up Cook's Illustrated, flipping it open, and quickly putting it down. I was so intimidated at the time by the long articles, black and white layout, etc. It just seemed like something serious cooks used. Looking back I should have picked it up because maybe I would have learned a little faster- that magazine is truly full of useful cooking information and recipes.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law gave me a subscription for my birthday to Cook's Illustrated. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I would make it for Rosh Hashanah since apples and honey are a typical treat associated with the holiday. While this recipe doesn't have honey it does have plenty of sweetness. This came out wonderfully. The cake was so delicious and would be a great base to a coffee cake recipe. The original recipe states that you should use a 9 inch cake pan with a 2 inch rim. Mine only had a 1 inch rim and it worked out just fine, but if you have a 2 inch rim I'd use it. This cake was a big hit. I suggest it for the beautiful fall weather up ahead!

Source: Cook's Illustrated, Fall 2009


4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus extra for coating the pan
4 Granny Smith of Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored
2/3 cup of light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sat
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


1- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake pan, set aside. Heat the oven to 350.
2- Halve the apples from pole to pole. Cut 2 apples into 1/4 inch thick slices, set aside. Cut the remaining 2 apples into 1/2 inch thick slices.
3- Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides add 1/2 inch thick apple slices and cook, stirring 2-3 times, until apples begin to caramelize, 4-6 minutes. Add the 1/4 inch thick apples, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves and coats the apples, about 1 minute.
4- Transfer the apple mixture to the cake pan. Lightly press the apples into an even layer. Set aside and prepare the cake.
5- Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together, set aside.
6- Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs together in large bowl until thick and combined, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla, whisk until combined.
7- Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly over the fruit.
8- Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
9- Cool pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run pairing knife around the sides of the cake to loosen.
10- Place wire rack over the cake pan. Holding the rack tightly, invert the cake pan and wire rack together. Lift the cake pan off. Be sure to place the wire rack over a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Let the cake cool 20 minutes of longer, then transfer to serving platter.


  1. I recently made an apple upside down cake, but this one has much more fruit on top, which is ALWAYS a good thing!

  2. This cake looks wonderful! A great way to enjoy apples :)