I’ve been sick the past few days with the worst sore throat and achy fever I’ve had in recent memory. As of this morning, however, I was finally able to swallow without a stabbing scratching pain going down my esophagus, so I’m actually getting better, hurray!! Time seems to slow down when you’re sick, you forget what it ever felt like to just feel normal and not have a nagging pain or exhaustion hovering over you at all times. Food tastes bland; you know you’re hungry and should eat something – anything – for strength, but everything you think of eating just sounds unappetizing. In summation: being sick is just the worst. While I was laying in bed writing and working through my fever spikes, I kept thinking back to this Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. I made it right before I got sick and it was just *so* wonderfully rich and cozy (I think the memory of it comforted me a bit, good food tends to have that effect!) I made it for a harvest party at my friend Sasha’s parents’ house and managed to get a little slice of it before it was inhaled within a 10-minute period (always a good sign).
The apples in this cake were so soft they were almost pudding-like, with the most delicious hint of caramel. This is because I made and poured a whole bunch of caramel into the bottom of the cake pan before placing the apples on it, and then pouring the cake batter over the caramel and apples. It was a good plan. The batter is wonderful in its own way, too – it relies on olive oil rather than butter for the fat, which delivers a smooth and rich flavor without weighing down the cake and making you feel heavy after eating it. It feels light and airy and has a subtle nuttiness to it, I used California Olive Ranch’s ‘everyday’ blend for it, this particular blend of olive oil has hints of green apple and a floral nose which paired perfectly with the baked apples in this Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. I also used some almond meal in the batter which ended up imparting a ‘toasted’ flavor onto the cake once it baked up in the oven. And there’s a touch of lemon zest and vanilla extract, too. Pretty much all the good stuff. It’s the perfect way to welcome the first apple harvest of fall, which has just arrived in full force here in Oregon. I’m looking forward to those rainy autumn days, nothing pairs quite as well with the pitter patter of rain hitting the window sill like the smell of apples and cake baking in the oven 🙂
I hope that you all enjoy the recipe for this warming Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake!
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
- 1 apple
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup California Olive Ranch 'everyday' olive oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
Heat the granulated sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir at first to dissolve the sugar. Cook until bubbling, then continue to cook until the mixture *just* turns amber-colored. You need to pay close attention, because the sugar is at the verge of burning at this stage, and if you miss it the sugar will be unpleasantly burnt-tasting. You do NOT want it to be brown, just a nice golden-honey-color.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar, cream, butter, and salt and stir to combine (the mixture may hiss and sputter a bit when you add them, this is normal). Place the pan over low heat and stir to dissolve any hardened clumps of sugar. Once everything is dissolved and the caramel is smooth, removed it from the heat.
The mixture should be drizzle-able, so if it's too thick after cooling a bit, add a tablespoon or two of water and stir until combined. Empty half of caramel mixture into a heat-safe bowl and set it aside (this caramel sauce will be served alongside the cake when it's done).
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
Grease and lightly flour an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper round. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel the apple and cut it into VERY thin slices across the equator, using a mandoline to slice it works best.
Take the remaining half of the caramel mixture, and pour half of *that* on the bottom of the cake pan, spreading it with a spatula so that it's evenly spread across the parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apple slices so that they're overlapping slightly on the bottom of the pan, starting at the edge and working in concentric circles towards the center. Pour the remaining half of the caramel sauce (which, just as a reminder, is really 1/4 of the total caramel sauce) over the apple slices. Set the pan aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and the buttermilk (it's fine if they're separated).
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and alternate between folding in the dry ingredients and the wet olive oil/buttermilk ingredients into the sugar mixture in four increments.
Pour the cake batter over the apples in the cake pan. Place the cake pan on a lipped baking sheet and bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out fairly clean, about 45 to 55 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting the cake onto the serving plate and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a serving plate, slice, and serve alongside the remaining caramel sauce. If the sauce has thickened too much while it cooled, just heat it back up again and it will become more liquid in consistency.