Smitten Kitchen’s Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake

Shortly after moving to Rochester, I came home from a trip to Apple Country with a bushel of apples — not realizing how many pints of applesauce that would make (20+), with an abundance of apples still left over! When I was Googling apple recipes, I came across this one for Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake, and this is when I was introduced to SmittenKitchen.com.  As I frequently say, my life … and my hips … have never been the same.

I have made no adaptations to this recipe, except to bake it in a 9″ x 13″ rectangular pan, lined with parchment paper (for easier removal, once baked):

Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Karen Bates at the Philo Apple Farm via the New York Times

Serves 12

Topping
4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

Batter
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Very softly whipped cream

Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes, then swirl in salt. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop any remaining slices and place them in the gaps.

Make the batter: Using a mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at least 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter a parchment-lined baking sheet or cutting board.

I prefer this slightly warmed, which really brings out the caramelized apples and the spices in the cake.

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