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Caramel Apple Upside Cake

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This week before Thanksgiving, I’m giving you all of my favorite apple desserts!   Yes, most of them include caramel in some form, but that is only because apples and caramel are such a heavenly pairing, especially in November!  The caramel sauce in this cake is rich, dark, spicy, and completely unreal in the realm of yumminess.  It makes the cake so sticky and wonderful that I use more caramel than most recipes do, but that really shouldn’t surprise you at this point, right?

It’s important to get the apples as papery-thin as possible, that’s what gives the lovely translucent layered look to the cake when you turn it out.  Use a mandolin on the thinnest setting, probably about an 1/8th of an inch.  If you don’t have one, try your best to get them nice and thin!

Caramel Apple Upside Cake

This caramel sauce is super easy, just add the butter, brown sugar and spices to a small pot and stir it as it all melts together.  Cook for about three minutes, then remove from the heat when it is sticky and thick.  Stir in the vanilla, then pour the sauce into the prepared cake pan.

apple slices in sauce for cake

Layer the super thin slices of apples all the way out to the edge of the cake pan.

Pour the cake batter, which is actually quite thick, over the apples and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool 10 minutes.  I had the kids already in the car, pulled the cake from the oven, wrapped some towels under it, drove to a Thanksgiving party, and inverted it on to a pretty cake stand as soon as I arrived.  How’s that for drama?

caramel apple upside cake

It turned out beautifully and was still warm when we served it with freshly whipped cream right after dinner.

Caramel Apple Upside Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
  • The Apples andSauce
  • 2 cups of thinly sliced apples (1/8th of an inch)
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • The Cake
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F and grease a 10 inch cake pan.
  2. Peel, core and thinly slice apples.
  3. Melt butter, brown sugar, spices and salt in a small pot and cook for 3 minutes, until sticky and thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour sauce into cake pan.
  4. Layer apple slices over caramel sauce, to the edge of the pan.
  5. For the cake, cream the remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy in an electric mixer.
  6. Add the eggs, then milk, then vanilla, mixing until well combined.
  7. Slowly add in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, mixing until just combined.
  8. Pour the thick dough over the caramel and apples. Carefully spread it without messing up the apple slices too much. Don't worry if the dough doesn't completely reach the edge of the pan, it will expand while it bakes.
  9. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Carefully invert the cake over a plate and gently flip. The apples and caramel should release, but gently tap the bottom of the pan if it sticks a little.
  11. Serve with ice creamer freshly whipped cream.

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