Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall Apples and Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Fall brings lots of apples. A sudden deluge. What to do with all of them is the question. I still have a lot of apples both dried slices and frozen slices from last years bounty. And here we are in Fall again. Recently I made an Apple Fritter Loaf - twice. It was so amazingly good. With the bag of fresh apples still on the counter, a couple of days ago I wondered about making an upside down cake. I have made peach and pineapple and even spiced pear upside down cakes, but all with cooked/canned fruit. Thinking about apples, I couldn't imagine any reason that using fresh apples in an upside down cake. While the cake bakes, there is plenty of time for them to cook through. 
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake, just turned out onto the plate

Granted, this cake barely used up two apples, total, so it is not really about using up lots of apples. Still, it uses a couple, so that's something. Instead of just mixing the usual butter and brown sugar for the topping (which goes in the bottom of the pan), I added in some dark corn syrup, cinnamon and vanilla, to further approximate the "caramel" part of this cake. In all, it was simple to make and unctuously good, with the caramel dripping down the sides and soaked into the cake. This will certainly not be the last time I make this cake! 

Place apples rounded edge down
One thing to keep in mind when placing the apple slices onto the caramel: if you set them cut edge down, this will be the edge that shows when the cake is turned out and the bottom becomes the top. So, when setting the apple slices onto the caramel, set them in with the outer, rounded edge down into the caramel. layering them with the sharper inner edges up. 

Nuts, raisins or even dates could be added to the cake, or layered in with the apples on the caramel, if desired. I was going for simple caramel apple flavor this first time.This cake can easily be made gluten free. Simply substitute your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour mixture and add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum with the dry ingredients.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

makes one 9-inch cake

A slice of Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons water

2 apples, peeled, sliced into thin wedges lengthwise

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CARAMEL: In a small saucepan, combine all the caramel ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for a few minutes, until the sugar has melted. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray. For complete insurance the cake will come out cleanly, line the bottom of the pan with parchment and spray the parchment. Pour in the caramel sauce. Set the apple slices in a pattern in the caramel sauce and set aside. 

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 on Convection). In a bowl, sift or whisk together the first 6 dry ingredients and set aside. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add in the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 batches, stirring well after each. Do not over beat. Using a spatula or spoon, slide small dollops of the thick batter gently over the apples, in order to not disturb the apple pattern. Once all the batter is on top, very gently spread the batter to cover the apples and reach the edges of the pan. Bake the cake for 40 or more minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan for about 5 minutes. Have a serving plate ready. Invert the plate on top of the cake pan. Using hot pads, grip both the cake pan and the serving plate firmly and flip them over, so the cake falls onto the serving plate. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.