This Apple Upside Down Cake from Cooks Illustrated proves that an exceptional tasting cake can be pretty easy too. The apples are quickly sauteed before getting covered with an easy hand-whisked batter made extra tender with sour cream.
I’m delighted and relieved we are talking about cake and not another healthy January salad right now.
Cake has been on my mind all week.
Maybe more like two weeks.
Thoughts of pink swirly cupcakes with sprinkles and vanilla pudding centers have been knocking around in my head.
It’s cold outside, with dark gray skies, and winter is barely at the half-way mark.
Looking on the bright side, the beer in the garage stays cold, so yay for that 🙂
Seriously, I’ve been a saint all month in the healthy eating department, and I’m a tiny bit crabby because of it.
Some years winter feels all cozy and wonderful to me, others I feel restless and annoyed.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t daydreaming about rhubarb and asparagus and perfect English Peas from the Farmers Market.
A homey dessert like Apple Upside Down Cake is the best medicine, I think, for mildly stressy times like this.
Nothing—and I mean nothing—cheers me up more than a good dessert.
If I could demonstrate my happiness with a cheer or aerobics right now, I would but, no.
This cake looks pretty sophisticated, and good news— it’s totally do-able.
The major thing that has to happen is a quick saute of the apples so they won’t shrink in the baking pan, followed by an easy batter that comes together with a simple whisk.
- TOPPING (WHICH IS REALLY THE BOTTOM IN THE PAN)
- 2 pounds Granny Smith or Golden Delicious Apples, peeled and cored
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 9" non-stick cake pan, at least 2" tall on sides, greased and lined with a parchment paper round on the bottom, and then greased again with butter and a sprinkling of flour with excess lightly tapped out of the pan.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to lowest position.
- MAKE THE TOPPING
- You'll have either 4 of 5 apples to make 2 pounds, start by cutting two of the peeled apples in half, then cut them into 1/2 slices. Set aside.
- Cut the remaining apples in smaller 1/4 slices, as evenly as possible.
- Melt the butter in a medium non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the 1/2" thick slices first into the pan with melted butter, and stir a couple of times to coat. Let these heat for about 5 minutes until they begin to caramelize, carefully stirring a couple of times, making sure they don't fully cook.
- Add the rest of the apples to the skillet and combine, cooking for another minute.
- Place the apples in the bottom of the prepared cake pan, and use the back of a spatula to evenly press them down in one layer.
- MAKE THE CAKE
- In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- In another large bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar and eggs together until thick and combined.
- Slowly whisk in the cooled melted butter and then add the sour cream and vanilla and continue to mix just until combined.
- Add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined and then pour it over the apples in the cake pan.
- Bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes, a toothpick will come out clean when poked and removed from the middle.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then use a sharp knife to go around the edges and loosen them.
- Using a cake plate or platter, invert the cake and pan together, lifting the cake pan off the right-side up platter to catch any drips.
- If any fruit sticks, just position it on top of the cake.
- Cool another 20 minutes and serve with whipped cream if you like.
SOURCE: Studio Delicious, adapted from Cooks Illustrated Baking Book