Apple Upside-Down Cake

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Yield: 8 to 10 servings

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Tangy, sweet, spicy, gooey, and super-duper scrumptious. For best results, spring for the boiled cider; this tasty syrup is the essence of apples. Use it in all your apple desserts, atop oatmeal or ice cream, or in yogurt or smoothies; it stays fresh forever in the fridge.

Apple Upside-Down Cake

star rating (48) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Published: 06/28/2011



  • 2 medium apples
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons boiled cider or thawed apple juice concentrate
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup


  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons boiled cider or thawed apple juice concentrate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional


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1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan at least 2" deep. Line the bottom with parchment, and grease the parchment.

2) Slice the top, including the stem, off one of the apples and set it aside before peeling and slicing the rest of the apples into 1/4" thick wedges.

3) Place the apple top, stem side down, in the middle of the pan, and overlap the rest of the apple wedges in a ring around it.

4) Prepare the topping by heating the butter, sugar, boiled cider, cinnamon, and corn syrup together over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

5) Pour 1/2 cup of the syrup mixture into the prepared pan, and set the rest aside.

6) To make the cake: Beat the oil, brown sugar, boiled cider, eggs, spices, and salt together for 2 minutes at medium speed

7) Mix the flour with the baking soda, and stir it into the batter.

8) Add the chopped apple and nuts, and mix until just blended.

9) Drop scoops of the batter atop the apples in the pan, gently spreading to cover.

10) Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

11) Remove the cake from the oven, and run a thin spatula around the edge to loosen.

12) Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving plate, bottom side up. Scrape out any sauce that remains in the pan, and spread it over the cake.

13) Reheat the reserved topping. If butter starts to separate as you reheat, add water by the teaspoon and stir until the butter rejoins the rest of the sauce.

14) Pour the sauce over the cake. Serve cake warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.


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  • star rating 12/09/2014
  • Heidi Q from Carolina, RI
  • Without enough time to make a pie after throwing a huge lasagna in the oven on Sunday, I searched apple cake recipes (to use up all my pie apples) and found this one. Now that I bought the 9" pan, I can finally use the 9" parchment rounds I bought 5 years ago. (I had only 8" pans.) This cake was SO easy to throw together. I used Homemade Boiled Cider that I made last year. (I was too cheap to buy it and have lots of great local cider. It saved me no money and took hours to slowly simmer down! But it is delicious, you really ought to have this product! But buy it.) I probably added a bit more than the 1/2 Cup of the sauce to the pan as I wanted plenty of topping on the cake. Used cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg for all spices, I don't care for the ginger and cloves. Only thing I noted was that I set the timer for 50 minutes to start and was grateful to check it at 40 minutes; it was done! This was extraordinary. We served it with fresh whipped cream and drizzled the heated sauce over it all. Everyone loved it, yet I felt it had a bit of a flat flavor. Why didn't the recipe call for salt? So I skimmed it again and realized that the kids were coming in as I mixed it and there was the 1/2 tsp of salt right there in the ingredients. Circled it with a Sharpie so I don't forget next time. I often use salted butter, and it wouldn't have been as noticeable except today was the day I used unsalted. Yes, the salt is needed in sweets, remember to use it whenever called for. I'll make this again and again. And to me the texture was great-- not too heavy, too fluffy or too eggy. Just perfect.
  • star rating 09/23/2014
  • Maydean from KAF Community
  • Love this recipe!! I made this years ago for my Pastry Chef and she loved it!! I made a 100 on it and it is so delicious. Perfect Fall dessert!
  • star rating 09/21/2014
  • Betty Williams from Bradford, Vermont
  • I made two of these cakes was gluten free, substituting gluten free all purpose flour for the same volume of regular all purpose flour. Both were amazing and no difference in taste or appearance. Next time I will make much thicker slices of apples for the topping so the circle design is more visible. Thin slices had cooked down and were almost invisible under the caramel syrup topping. I used frozen apple juice concentrate and added more than 2T to the cake batter in place of some of the oil. Served with whipped cream to rave reviews.
  • 03/21/2014
  • BA from Brookline, MA
  • I'm not sure how to rate the recipe as I didn't like it, but there is probably nothing wrong with the recipe. I would give it 5 stars for presentation, however. It really is a beautiful looking cake. It also gets high marks for ease of preparation. As for taste, I found the cinnamon too I would suggest tweaking the spices to one's taste.. Also, I didn't care for the texture of the cake, it seemed more like a quick bread texture than a butter cake crumb. I prefer the latter. Baking at 350 degrees for 50 minutes was a bit too long in my oven. My cake was dry. I should have checked it earlier. Sadly, I was disappointed with the result. I'll be looking for other apple cake recipes.
    Kudos to you for the visual success of the first bake/test drive of this recipe. If you prefer a finer cake crumb, consider using the cake flour blend for this recipe. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF
  • star rating 01/19/2014
  • dee from Westminster MD
  • This is a yummy cake. It takes a lot steps to make it. It is worth the time and effort. I have made this cake at least 5 times in the last 3 months. Just make sure you use a pan at least 2" deep.
  • star rating 10/24/2013
  • Peter Garnham from Amagansett, NY.
  • A winner, and a keeper! I've made it three times, once in a 10-inch pan. Used a 9-inch spring-form pan the first two times, and it leaked. Couldn't find a 9-inch pan locally any more than 1-1/2 inches high, so I've mail-ordered one. Next time I will use maple syrup to avoid the GMO's in corn oil. A small scoop of Dulce de Leche ice cream on top makes it even more decadent. Love it!
  • star rating 10/21/2013
  • Diane from Souderton, PA
  • This is a wonderful cake, EVERYONE loved it. Great for coffee hour at church, visit with neighbors, take to potlucks.
  • star rating 10/13/2013
  • Joanne from Pembroke, NH
  • This cake was absolutely fabulous - one of the best I've ever tasted. We had company here from out west, and wanted to make something special using apples. It was a huge hit served with french vanilla ice cream. This one's a keeper and will become a fall tradition in our house!
  • star rating 09/29/2013
  • crystaltune from KAF Community
  • Made this with frozen peaches instead of apples, and changed nothing else. Awesome.
  • star rating 09/22/2013
  • Mary Ann from Buffalo, NY
  • This is a lovely cake and recipe. I made two substitutions. For the boiled cider, I used maple syrup, which seemed to work out well. Then, I just don't like using that much oil in a cake or bread (like pumpkin) and substituted half with unsweetened applesauce. Minor point, my apples were smaller, so I had two concentric circles on top, which looked very nice. Overall, a very pretty presentation and the cake is delicious.
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