It’s summer and I have had a bad craving for apple cake. It’s typically something one would think of baking in the fall, but when I get something in my head, I go with it. Eventually, I learn my lesson – like I did with baking this cake in the middle of July! My kitchen is small and it traps the heat very well. I felt like I was roasting from the inside out, but like a mother giving birth to a child, I forgot all about the self-inflicted heatstroke with the very first bite.
In our house, apples are most always a part of the fruit bowl. It’s rather funny, actually. I prefer the sour taste of a granny smith apple, while John.e prefers the taste of a Fuji. I’m open to anything, and love the crisp pink lady variety, but given the choice, it’s granny smith for me. When we buy apples, we usually buy three or four of each kind. The last time I bought the granny smith type though, I was about to start a cleanse and apples were a big no-no. Soon, the only apples that were left in the bowl were mine and I knew John.e wasn’t about to eat them. Every time I walked past the fruit bowl, I would see them there and I swear each time they had lost some of their shine. I kept wanting to eat one, but I never got around to doing so. Finally, the apple cake urge was too strong and I was glad I had four granny smith’s on hand because those are the only apples which I will bake with.
There was another reason I wanted to bake this cake and it had nothing to do with the apples or the craving. I was literally dying on the inside, because a few months ago, John.e came home with a surprise for me; it was three new Fat Daddio’s cake pans. I had already used the square pan for my brownie recipe, and I had used the smaller circular pan for scones; however, the large pan had been sitting neglected in the cupboard, and I was about to come to its rescue!
Apple Caramel Upside Down Cake
For the Caramel / Apple Layer:
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 4 large granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
For the Cake Layer:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 4 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
Start by peeling the apples; half the peeled apple and then slice the half into eighths. Try to evenly slice the apples so that each slice is about ¼ - ½ inch thick, depending, of course, on how big the apples you are using might be. You can certainly leave them a little thicker if you prefer, but I like apples to be really cooked. I'm not a fan of a cooked apple that has any crunch or bite left to it.
Next, start on the caramel sauce. In a large, deep sauce pan, measure out the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter. On medium heat, let the three ingredients bubble and sizzle. Don't use a spoon to stir, rather, using the handle of the sauce pan, swirl the ingredients around to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and pour the hot caramel sauce into a well-greased or lined cake pan. Allow the caramel to cool for a bit and carefully arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern. Overlap the apple slices so that the entire surface of the cake pan is covered. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to blend together the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Once done, add the corn syrup and continue to mix, being sure to incorporate the ingredients very well. Continuing with the mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing for at least one minute between each egg addition. Lastly, with the mixer on low speed, blend in the apple sauce. Remove the mixer and replace with a large wooden spoon.
Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir all of the dry ingredients into the wet mixture to form a very wet cake batter. Pour this mixture onto the apples and caramel. Be careful to not move the apples when adding the cake batter.
Tap the pan on the countertop a few times to flatten the batter and to ensure it has settled in nicely around the apples. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Once a wooden toothpick can be inserted into the center of your cake and it comes out clean, the cake is done.
This last step is very important. DO NOT attempt to remove the cake from the pan until you have allowed the cake to rest on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. This is a very dense and moist cake. Removing it early will no doubt result in a broken and messy end result. You have put in too much effort to ruin it now! Lastly, you will want to turn this cake out on the vessel you intend to keep it on. The caramel will run down the sides creating a small pool at the bottom. Once you turn it out of the pan, you cannot move it without cutting it. I turned mine out onto the cake platter I was using for presentation.