I’m not going to be able to hand out candy tonight because I’ll be in the motherland (AKA South Jersey) celebrating my dad’s very spooky birthday, which will be nice but alsooo a bit of a bummer because I’m totally overzealous about all things Halloween-related, and because I know that there won’t be any Halloween candy left when I come back tonight. Not because of the trick-or-treaters, but because I live with two guys with major sweet tooths.
Or is it “sweet teeth”? Someone let me know in the comments.
Regardless, they’ll eat any leftover candy long before I’m home, no doubt. But mama didn’t raise no fool, so I hid a huge slice of Salted Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake in the very back of the fridge to enjoy all to myself later. Sure, candy is great and all, but caramel-coated slices of baked apple over a cinnamon and brown sugar-spiked cake, heated up a little and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top?
That’s dessert heaven.
I’m looking forward to eating it late tonight, in bed, while watching
a couple more lets be honest, all of the episodes I have left of Stranger Things 2. Which is only like 3 episodes. 3 episodes that I specifically reserved for watching on Halloween night with a gigantic plate of Salted Caramel Apple UPSIDE DOWN Cake. Get it? Like the upside down? It’s probably the greatest food you could eat to celebrate Stranger Things.
Well, that and Eggos, but those lack the whole salted caramel thing that makes this cake so damn good.
If you haven’t watched Stranger Things, I’m sorry because that probably makes no sense to you, but you know what? That’s okay. Because you don’t need pop culture references to tell you to make this cake. You just need an appetite for delicious, fall-flavored desserts, and a pot or oven-safe skillet to cook it in.
One awesome thing about this cake is that you make the caramel in the same pot or pan that you cook it in, without having to transfer to a baking dish or anything of that sort. Just combine your sugar, salt, and water, let it simmer until deep amber, and mix in butter until it’s smooth and, well, caramel-y. Then you just have to place your apple slices on top, cover it all with your cake batter, and bake.
You actually have two options for how to bake it: you can cover the pot and continue to cook it on your stove top over low heat until it’s springy and cooked through (which you can test with a toothpick), or you can transfer it to the oven to finish up.
I like the oven method a bit better because I think the cake bakes more evenly, but I’ve tried both ways and either works great. If you don’t own an oven-safe pot or pan, the stove top method will work for you. Or if you want to make this for Thanksgiving and you’re all out of oven room because of that big ol’ turkey in there.
I have nothing against apple pie but I’ve gotta say that this cake is so much easier to make, and while you still get that sweet apple flavor, there’s no risk of over-mushiness or crust disasters. Not to mention, I think the Salted Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake tastes better. Yeah, I said it! And I think you’ll think so, too. Go on and give it a try.
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin half moons
- Vanilla ice cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.*
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, 1/2 of the salt, eggs, the melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until no large lumps remain. Set aside.
- In an oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot or cast iron skillet* over low heat, combine the granulated sugar, remaining salt, and 3 tablespoons water. Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to cook without stirring until deep amber but not burnt. Add in 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter and stir until smooth.
- Reduce heat to low and top the caramel with apple slices. Gently spoon over the cake batter and smooth until even, being careful not to mix in the caramel or apples below.
- Transfer to the oven to bake until cooked through, about 30-35 minutes*.
- Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen the sides from the pot. Cool for at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm and, if desired, with vanilla ice cream.
- You can also cover and bake this recipe on the stove top over low heat if you’d prefer. It generally takes about 30 minutes to cook this way. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick in the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, continue to cook and test every few minutes.
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