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Apple “Upside-Down” Cake with Caramel

Rodney Strong - Apple Upside-Down Cake with Caramel

Recipe by Chef Jeff Mall, down home: downtown


Salty Caramel:
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fleur de sel (a French sea salt)
11⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄4 cup light corn syrup
1⁄4 cup water

Apple Spice Cake:
11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2⁄3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup sour cream
4 Granny Smith apples (about 11⁄2 pounds total), peeled, cored, and cut into
1⁄2-inch dice
Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving


For the caramel: In a small saucepan, combine the cream, butter, and fleur de sel. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium, heavy pan, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and turns a deep golden brown,

10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream mixture (it will foam). Stir until smooth and set aside.

For the apple cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir with a whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and the flour mixture at low speed, alternately stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Fold 1 cup of the diced apple into the batter.

Pour three-fourths of the caramel into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the remaining apples. Scrape in the cake batter and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of cake. Invert

a large plate over the top of the cake and carefully flip the cake over to unmold. Remove the pan and replace any apples that are stuck to the pan. Let cool until warm or room temperature.

Cut the cake into 8 wedges and place on dessert plates. If the remaining caramel has thickened too much to pour, warm it briefly in the microwave or on the stove top until pourable. Drizzle each cake wedge with caramel, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Photography by Alan Campbell Photography

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