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Apple Upside Down Cake

At the high school where I worked we had filing cabinets full of hundreds of recipes – literally, like 800. One day I stumbled across a pineapple upside down cake. I didn’t have pineapple, but I DID have some apples. I have it a whirl and the results were so good, I had the kids make it the next day.

This recipe is so easy that multiple groups of teenagers pulled it off, if I remember correctly. Every single cake released – though remember to invert it about five minutes after it comes out of the oven, before it hardens into the pan. Cherry on top was that my students loved it and raved. It’s been on my site since then but deserved a re-do.

My baby and 4 year old crushed it after naptime and my first grader had a delicious after school snack waiting for her. I’ve played the “just a thin sliver off the side” game much of the day yesterday and again this morning with my coffee. It will be done soon, and that’s the great thing about this cake – it serves 8 people (where as most cake recipes serve 16 and ends up getting tossed). “Just because” cake is great and all but I’m not interested in extra cardio. Oh and also – it’s GORGEOUS so it would make a great “welcome to the neighborhood” or a “thanks for being awesome” cake. 

Apple Upside Down Cake

Serves 8-10

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

pinch kosher salt

2 apples (preferably soft varieties, like Rome or Macintosh), peeled, cored, sliced into thin slices


1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a 9 in. round or square cake pan, melt the 3 tbsp. butter by placing the pan in the oven while it preheats. Be careful to watch it so it doesn’t burn.

3. Sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt on top of the melted butter; spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.

4. Arrange apples concentrically over the brown sugar. 

5. To make cake batter, beat 1/2 c. butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy – about five minutes on medium speed. 

6. Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

7. Add egg and vanilla to creamed ingredients and beat well.

8. Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (dry, wet, dry, wet, dry). Beat about 10 seconds with each addition and about 20 with the final addition.

9. Drop batter in large spoonfuls over apples, and then spread evenly with a spoon or offset spatula.

10. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top center is set. 

11. Let cake cool for about five minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. When pan is inverted, knock several times all over the back and let it release gently. 

1 thought on “Apple Upside Down Cake

  1. Love the history of this cake back to Radnor HS, as well as the present day treat today for your littles! Great presentation❤️

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