Let’s just call it a weakness. Sometimes dessert wins. Caramel apple upside down cake. Oh my. I made this 3 times in one week. I was adjusting the recipe to get it right, but no one complained and each one was devoured. I could taste what I wanted to change, but when there’s caramelized sugar, sweet apples and yellow cake, each attempt tasted amazing.
It’s a simple concept. I was a child of the pineapple upside down cake generation. Canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, and a boxed yellow cake mix with massive amounts of butter and brown sugar to get all the gooey goodness on the top. Ah, my inspiration.
Is it possible to cut the brown sugar and butter and make a smaller cake from scratch? Well, yes it is.
I baked this in a cast iron, but a true non-stick skillet would work wonderfully as well. The time may need to be adjusted based on the size of the pan. This recipe is based off a 12″ cast iron skillet. And let’s chat about the time it takes to make this. From start to finish, I can make this in just slightly over 30 minutes. Of course, there’s cooling time, but that is down time.
And the apples. I used three different types of apples. A different kind each time I made this. The first time, I used gala, next I used honey crisp and then I use red delicious. Honey crisp was the winner for my kids, they said they liked how the apples still had a bit of crunch to them after the cake was done. Personally, I didn’t mind the red delicious. The apples were still sweet and it had more of an apple pie feel to it. So, I guess what I’m saying is – it doesn’t matter which kind of apples you use. Use the kind you like to eat. Just slice them thin.
- 2-3 medium apples, about 3 cups thinly sliced apples
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, dark or light
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ½ cup reduced fat 2% milk
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Slice apples and set aside
- Heat a 12" cast iron skillet over medium heat and add brown sugar and 2T butter
- Heat just until butter melts and mixes with sugar, spread out evenly across the bottom of the pan and remove from heat
- Arrange apples on top of the butter and brown sugar glaze in whatever pattern you desire
- Mix the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl in the order listed and stir until just combined
- Pour batter over the apples and spread evenly
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top starts to brown slightly
- Carefully remove from oven and within the first 5 minutes of being removed, take a large plate and place over the top of the cast iron skillet and flip it over (this may take 2 people if this is your first time)
- Allow the cake to cool