It’s official: Winter is here. Snow has fallen, plows have been out, fender benders happened, walks and driveways have been shoveled. Black Friday took place, and we are barreling straight ahead to Christmas. It’s time to make my list of cookies that I plan to bake, and get in the necessary ingredients.
There are quite a few apples remaining that I picked at the orchard, so let’s see what I can do to use them up during this last weekend of November.
I know that I will make applesauce and I may even make baked apples and eat them for breakfast. We like them with a little granola sprinkled on top, or a dollop of yogurt, or both.
Feeling a little “out-of-sorts”, (probably because I have too many projects going right now), I decided to use some of my apples and make this upside down cake. The recipe is an adaptation of one featured on the Food Network that used summer stone fruits, but with salted caramel in the picture I was certain that making it with apples would be just fine. And it was.
This recipe was a good choice as the white cake is light and mildly seasoned with vanilla and has a fine texture that I attribute to the buttermilk. Apples with caramel and sea salt are the perfect topping, made that much better with a little ice cream on the side when you serve it. It’s baked in a 9-inch square pan, so you will get 8 generous servings or several more if cut smaller.
The problem I had with this cake was getting it out of the pan intact. The recipe suggests waiting 15 minutes after removing from the oven before turning it upside down onto a serving plate. I did that, and still the cake broke on one corner, and stuck to the sides of the pan. I patched it up as best I could using some of the sticky caramel for “glue”. (note photo) I realized I might have prevented this by running a knife around the edges of the cake before attempting to turn it out of the pan, so I suggest you do that if you make this cake.
The bright side is that it tastes so good, even when broken, that I’m happy to share my “disaster” photo with you. We all have an occasional disaster, and there’s no shame in that.
APPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE WITH SALTED CARAMEL
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
- Cooking spray
- 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon fine salt, divided
- 2-3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 375*F. and coat a 9-inch-square cake pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and stir until the mixture looks like wet sand. Cook over medium-high heat, gently swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until light amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared cake pan. ( The caramel hardens quickly.) Arrange the apple wedges over the caramel in 4 rows; set the pan aside.
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and remaining 1 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix until just incorporated. Pour the batter over the apples and spread evenly.
4. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. ( Mine took 45 minutes.) Cover the cake loosely with foil it is browning too quickly. Remove from the oven and let sit 15 minutes, then invert onto a platter and let cool completely. Sprinkle with sea salt.
SOURCE: adapted from The Food Network Magazine