Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cake of the Week: Apple Upside Down Cake

This past weekend, before I flew home, I attended an Urban Feast -- the second pre-Thanksgiving dinner of my November. Is there such thing as too many Thanksgiving dinners? I think not. 

And at least around DC, Urban Feasts/Pre-Thanksgivings/Friendsgivings/Thanksfriendsings are such a big thing! Young people who don’t really know what they’re doing get together, figure out how to cook a turkey and all the sides, and then proceeded to eat it all. It’s pretty wonderful -- what other holiday are you allowed to have in full twice (or as many times as you want)?

This is the first year I haven’t hosted a Pre-Thanksgiving of my own, which is a-OK with me since I’d rather just bring a dessert and go to someone else’s house/apartment. 

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I have to try it all. Saturday’s Urban Feast was a bit Southern, so my dinner plate included mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, and corn pudding, in addition to the usuals. I take a similar approach to dessert -- apple upside down cake, pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, and pecan pie. All sooooo good.

I was a bit rushed on Saturday, so luckily this Apple Upside-Down Cake takes a grand total of one hour to mix, cook, and cool. SO EASY. If you’re looking for a last-minute Thanksgiving dessert, or are worried that the usual pumpkin pie won’t be enough, make this! Plus, it looks so pretty!

You may recall I made a similar concoction, but with cranberries, for Thanksgiving last year. The nice thing about upside -down cake is you can do it with any fruit. Actually, pears would be seasonal and delish. Or maybe a mix of pears and cranberries?

Countdown: Three days until Thanksgiving!

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 30 minutes

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 small apples (I used Gala apples), sliced like for pie
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttter milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. Rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan with 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter (it will be a really thick layer of butter -- there are pictures of the process in this post). In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup of the granulated sugar with the cinnamon and allspice. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apple slices in a single layer on top of the sugar mixture.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well-combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, until well combined, the batter will be thick.
  4. Spoon the batter over the apples in the pan, and smooth the top. Bake until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. 
  5. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake; invert onto a serving plate. Store any leftovers at room temperature.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, preferably alongside an assortment of delicious Thanksgiving desserts.