A beautiful addition to your fall spread, this simple apple upside-down cake is full of flavor. Inspired by my pineapple upside down cake recipe, this version is complete with a brown sugar butter glaze, apples, cake.
I’ve tried to think through how I can possibly describe this apple cake recipe to you. When you’re eating it, you’re always unsure of what the cake part is made of. It tastes a little bit like cheesecake (even though it isn’t), a little bit like custard (even though it isn’t), and a little bit like cake.
This is the best Apple Upside Down Cake you will ever try. This delicious dessert consists of a custard-type cake topped with a thick layer of jammy baked apples, followed with a delicious sour cream sauce. It’s fantastic!
However you’d describe it, there’s one overarching phrase to use for this apple cake recipe: DELICIOUS!
Tips for success With the Apple Upside Down Cake:
Start this cake ahead of time as it has a 2.5 hour bake time and several hours of chill time.
Do not use a springform or the apple syrup will leak and burn.
Use parchment paper to line a deep mold for easy removal of the cake.
Use a firm type of apples like Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Granny Smith, Pink Lady or use Gala, as I did.
Do not peel apples for the best presentation. The peel keeps the syrup from being absorbed into the apple as the Apple Upside Down Cake is inverted, which keeps the top shiny and aesthetically beautiful.
Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature or it will not incorporate with the sour cream well.
8-9 medium apples, cored, not peeled (see #4 at the bottom in Tips for Success)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water, hot
Custard Cake Batter
4 eggs, large
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or vanilla emulsion)
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
8 oz unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sour cream
½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
Prep: Preheat oven to 420 F with the rack in the middle. Prepare a 9″x3″ round baking pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper if you have it available, otherwise skip
Bake the Apples
Apples: Wash 8 or 9 apples, then cut in half and remove the core and stems. Place the halved apples into the prepared baking pan and arrange them “standing up” fitting as many of them possible.
Syrup: Then, stir ⅔ cups sugar, ½ cup hot water, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract until the sugar granules are dissolved. Pour the syrup over the apples and place in the oven. Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until the apples are soft and baked through. If the tops start to burn before the apples are ready, place a flat piece of foil over the top of the baking pan.
Make the Upside Down Custard Cake Batter
About 30-35 minutes into baking start working on the rest of the preparation.
Whip: Add 4 eggs and 1 ½ cups sugar to a bowl of a mixer and whip for about 7-9 minutes or until pale in color and very fluffy.
Whisk & combine: In a medium-sized bowl whisk together 2 sticks softened butter and 1.5 cups sour cream until smooth. Then, add this mixture into whipped eggs and fold until smooth.
Add flour: Sift the 1/2 cup flour and 1 tsp of baking powder into the mixture and carefully fold it in.
Combine Baked Apples & Custard Batter
Remove from oven: By now the apples should be baked through and softened. Turn the heat down to 350F° & carefully remove the baking pan from the oven. With a spoon or an offset spatula lightly press the apples down into an even layer.
Pour: Then, pour the batter over the apples and swirl the pan side to side several times to redistribute the batter in the pan evenly. The pan might be pretty full, but that’s ok, the mixture doesn’t rise much in the oven.
Bake: Bake at 350F° for about 55 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or a skewer down the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Losen the sides of the cake from the pan by running a thin knife around the edges of the cake and allow to cool completely before inverting the cake on a serving platter.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours, then serve by cutting into slices.