Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

RubyFrost Apples Are a Great Choice


This Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake was inspired by a box of RubyFrost apples – a newly available mid-season apple. (Read the full review). They are crisp and have a great sweet/tart balance that we thought would stand up nicely to a buttery, rich caramel. As with any upside down cake your choice of pan is key. We like cast-iron or nonstick.


The buttermilk lends a nice tang and makes this seem a bit less rich – but make no mistake, it is a buttery, substantial creation.


The apples cook through becoming translucent and result in a texture that is halfway between a baked apple and having a candy-like quality. Also, unmold the cake right away or you might not get it out of the pan! if you have waited too long, simply warm the caramel up a little by placing the pan on low heat.


Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
Makes: 8 servings
The Caramel:
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • Scant ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 RubyFrost apples, peeled, cored and quartered (reserving one apple half -not quartered – for the center)
The Cake:
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position rack in center of oven.
  2. For the Caramel: Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir together the sugar, water and corn syrup in a 10-inch nonstick skillet to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally (do not stir or you might create sugar crystals), until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is a dark amber color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream. The mixture might bubble up furiously, so take care. Let the bubbling subside, then place back over heat and whisk (using a silicone coated whisk) until smooth. Add butter and whisk until combined. If any hard pieces of caramel remain, simply keep heating until they melt out.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and let sit a minute or two. Arrange the quartered apples in a spoke pattern around the edges; place the apple half rounded side down in the center nestled in the caramel.
  4. For the Cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla; set aside.
  5. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the side’s of the bowl one or twice.
  6. Add the dry mixture in 3 batches alternately with the buttermilk mixture and just beat until combined.
  7. Dollop the batter over the apples in the pan and gently spread using a small offset spatula to cover the apples and caramel. Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake shows a few crumbs clinging. The cake will brown evenly all over.
  8. Immediately carefully run a small icing spatula around the edges of the pan. Place display platter on top of cake, invert (using pot holders), gently shake and jiggle the pan a little to release the cake. If any apples or caramel remain stuck to the pan, simply scrape off and place on cake. This cake is best eaten as soon as possible. Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Bakepedia Tips

  • Below you can see the caramel cooking in our nonstick skillet; it has barely taken on any color.

caramel no color

  • Now below you can see it developing color.

caramel taking on color in pan

  • Finally we whisk in cream with a silicone coated whisk as seen below.

whisking cream into caramel

  • Finally you can see how easily the caramel comes out of the pan. This was right after we inverted the cake. Clean up is a snap.

caramel in pan

  • And since you stuck with us this long, a bonus shot of Baby Huey helping out at the photo shoot. he is one of my bull terriers – Grand Champion Legacy Hughes Your Daddy of Winsor ROM. His favorite food is bananas.


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