Thursday, 25 February 2016

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

There's something very Betty Draper about an Upside-Down Cake, don't you think?  I've got some cookbooks from the 1950's and upside-down cakes feature quite a lot.  They're right up there on the list of "how to impress your guests" along with salmon in aspic, oysters Rockefeller and baked ham with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries toothpicked all over.  I can imagine an Upside-Down cake might be something Betty would offer the Ladies if she was having them over for afternoon coffee... and cigarettes.  After the Ladies left, she'd kick off her slingbacks, pour herself a gimlet, light another cigarette, berate Sally and have a nap before Dan came home from the office.  In my house, in 2016, everything old is new again.  My kids thought I'd invented the Upside-Down Cake.  I'm good, but I'm not that good.  Now, can someone pour me a gimlet?

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

For the Caramel Apple Topping:
100g unsalted butter
4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1cm thick rounds
1 cup golden caster sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes

For the Cake:
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup golden caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg

Make the Caramel Apple Topping:
Grease and line a 23cm round springform cake pan with baking paper and set aside.

Put the butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat.  Add the apples and lemon juice and zest.
Reduce the heat to low and gently cook the apples for 2 - 3 minutes.  Add the sugar and salt and cook until the apples have softened.  Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the apples and arrange them on the base of the prepared pan.

Return the pan to the heat and boil the contents of the pan until it turns a deep golden caramel.  It should only take 3 - 4 minutes.  Pour the caramel over the apples.

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder and spices.  Mix until just incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Add them to the the batter in two batches.

Spoon the batter over the apples and caramel and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave the cake in the pan to cool for 5 mintues before removing the sides and inverting onto a serving plate.  Remove the base and paper to reveal this retro beauty.

Serve warm with cream.


  1. Love it!!!! I'm so into the cookbooks from that time too. My work colleague and I are obsessed with aspics and we looked at so many recipes that I really should make one soon. I have an aspic mold that I found at an antique shop so I'm all good! & my grand-mother gave me lots of recipes that are on little cards. It's all those kind of things, upside down cake, pinneaple ham, it! & yes, it is totally something that would fit into Mad Men show! :)

  2. I'll wear my best gloves and bring us a bottle of gin if you can supply the limes ;)

  3. I've only ever eaten a pineapple upside down cake; specifically one with canned pineapple rings and those horrific glace cherries in the centre holes. I speak negatively now, but when I was a kid I thought it was the greatest cake ever. Particularly when drowned in melted ice cream. I love your glossy, buttery, caramelised reinvention of this vintage cake. Caramel and apple is a magical combination, particularly when topped with a drizzle of cream. Absolutely delicious (P.S. I spy an injury in this photoshoot!!!! Nothing too painful I hope)

  4. Lovely cake and recipe- thankyou.