Apple Upside Down Cake

There’s this bag that’s been staring at me for the past two weeks.

Oh no, dear reader, it’s not a bag full of Godiva.

It’s a bag full of apples.  Apples that my parents picked and then unloaded on me, happy to give me the burden of trying to not waste these little gems.

What, you think they’re ugly?

Well, you’re right.  While the farmer insisted that they’re fine to eat, I just didn’t want to put my mouth on something that looks like….well, you know.

And I hate peeling apples, especially for every. single. one. that I want to eat as a snack.  No. No no no no.  Snacks should be easily consumed, no peeling involved.  Lazy snacking for me, please.

So, instead, I decided to get rid of them all.  I peeled them in one go and threw them into a cake.

And really, what’s better in late October than freshly baked apple cake?  Oh, that’s right, upside down apple cake, because I wanted all my apples used.  I mean, I wanted apples in every nook and cranny of this cake.  Sure.

Half an hour into baking, the apartment became enveloped with, what a Yankee Candle Shop should smell like: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom. (Seriously, what is up with that store and their scent-terrorism? Do I really want my eyes to water as I walk by?)  It was like tempting a hungry bear, as every few minutes, Roo and I circled in and out of the kitchen, eagerly waiting for the cake to be done.

About an hour after being put into the oven, the cake tester finally came out clean.  Throwing open the door, and snatching up the cake like I was stealing a baby, I immediately took it outside onto the porch for a “fast cool.”  And by “fast cool,” I mean I waited a mere minute, and tried to sneak a bite, burning the roof of my mouth in the process.  The second however (thirty minutes later), left me floored.  The mix of spices, added such lovely warmth to the cake, with cinnamon as the main star.  The caramelized turbinado sugar was rich, gooey, and practically bathed the apples that circled the top.  And the cake itself was extremely moist, jam packed with even more apples.  If anything, one will be left satisfied with the smallest of slices.  The cake is incredibly rich and perfect with a cup of strongly brewed coffee.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes one, 9″ round cake


For the “upside down” apples

Quarter cup of turbinado sugar (you could also use brown sugar)

Half teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of butter (like Earth Balance), melted

4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices (slice the apple in half, then cut the halves into half)

For the apples inside the cake

4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into easily edible pieces

Half teaspoon cinnamon

Quarter cup of sugar

For the cake

Two and three quarter cups of white whole wheat flour

Half teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Half teaspoon of ground ginger

Half teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Quarter teaspoon of ground cardamom (optional)

1 tablespoon baking powder

Quarter teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup mild tasting olive oil

One and a half cups of sugar

Quarter cup of orange juice

Three teaspoons of vanilla

4 flax seed eggs (4 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 12 tablespoons of hot water, mixed, and set aside for about 10 minutes)


Three medium sized mixing bowls (you can use your apple mixing bowl, twice, as all that goes in it are apples, cinnamon in sugar, well, twice)

A spatula

A whisk

A sharp knife

A nine inch cake pan

Parchment paper (if you’re lazy and don’t want to clean out caramelized sugar out from your cake pan)

Another knife (to loosen your cake from the cake pan)

A plate as large as your cake pan, to invert the cake on

Place your oven rack to the medium position in the oven and preheat it to 350F.

If using, line your cake pan with parchment paper.

In your first mixing bowl, add the 4 sliced apples, turbinado sugar and cinnamon.  Toss together.  Pour the ingredients from this bowl (including excess sugar) into your cake pan.  Evenly disperse the apples and sugar in the pan.  Set aside.

In the same mixing bowl, add the 4 chopped apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Toss together and set aside (in the bowl).

In the second mixing bowl, add the while whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, (cardamom if using) baking powder and salt.  Whisk together until the ingredients are combined.  Set aside.

In the third mixing bowl, add the oil, orange juice, vanilla extract and sugar.  Mix till combined.  (I know, don’t freak out, the flax eggs get added a little later.)

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, in increments.  Stir till just combined.  Add the flax seed egg, folding and incorporating, till combined.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is mixed together.

The batter is going to be super thick.  You’re going to doubt yourself, but trust it.

Scoop half of the batter into your cake pan.  Spread the chopped apples on top of the batter.  Scoop the rest of the batter over the apples.

Bake for about an hour.  At the 45 minute mark, use your cake tester (like a toothpick) and check to see if it’s done (my oven runs incredibly hot and has a part-time hobby of drying out cakes).  If not, keep checking it every five minutes until it’s done.

Cool until you can handle the cake pan with bare hands, but the cake is still warm.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it a bit from the pan/parchment paper.  Place a large plate on top of your cake (but it’s actually the cake’s bottom).  Invert the cake onto the plate, remove the parchment paper (if used), and allow to cool to room temperature for serving. Or, burn the roof of your mouth like I did, from sheer impatience.

10 thoughts on “Apple Upside Down Cake

    • I will admit two of my co-workers looked at me with wide eyes when I brought this into work today, after they saw my post. And as always, no problem re: sharing! I seriously believe there shouldn’t be “secret recipes.” Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it!

    • Oh my goodness, really? Thank you so much! I still don’t know what that is…I need to get my pre-coffee butt a-googling. Yeah…that’s a word. 🙂 Thanks again! And thank you for reading and commenting!

    • No, seriously, thank you for commenting! I’m a long time reader of your blog and I’m beyond happy you took the time to look at mine! Thanks so much! And if any of that sounded creepy…this never happened.

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