Cakes, Thanksgiving

Upside-Down Apple Cake

As a child, one of my favorite cakes was upside-down pineapple cake.  I really enjoyed eating the sweet fruit with the caramel-flavored sauce and moist cake–especially the red maraschino cherries on top.  I’ve kept these same elements in this upside-down apple cake, except for the cherries. 😉

Upside-Down Apple Cake: a fluffy, moist cake topped with sliced apples. |

This cake is really easy to put together, and tastes wonderful the next day too.  The cake is light, fluffy, and moist with a spiced flavor from the pumpkin pie spice.  The cake gets even more fluffy if you let the batter sit for 10 minutes before pouring it into the pan.  The pie spice gives it a real autumn taste, and the soft, caramel-colored apples add delicious sweetness to this dessert.

Upside-Down Apple Cake: a fluffy, moist cake topped with sliced apples. |

The only tricky part with this cake is the upside-down turn around part.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to release the sides, then place your serving plate over the cake.  Grasping the pan and plate, turn it upside down so the plate is on the bottom, and the cake pan is sitting upside-down on top of the plate.  Make sure you have a good grip on the cake pan and plate as you turn it around, or the cake will slide off the plate and crack.  (That’s why the cake in the photos is cracked. 😪 Even if it does happen, it’s okay.  It happens to all of us.)

Even though my cake cracked when I was turning it out, it stayed moist.  It’s a good idea to store your cooled cake in a domed cake carrier, to lock in the moisture and for easy transport.   An hour after baking this apple upside down cake, I took it over to a friend’s house.  It ended up not being covered for a couple hours, and it was still moist, so don’t worry about having a dry cake with this recipe.

Upside-Down Apple Cake: a fluffy, moist cake topped with sliced apples. |

Upside-Down Apple Cake

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9-inch cake


This super-easy upside-down apple cake is a perfect cake to serve during autumn. Topped with apples and flavored with spices, it’s sure to please.


For the Topping

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (110g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted (71g)

For the Cake

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (166g)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed (147g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or substitute with apple pie spice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (57g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup whole milk (157 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preparing the Apples & Topping

  1. Peel and core the apples, slicing them thinly by hand.  Submerge them in a bowl of cold water mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon until well mixed, then stir in the melted butter.  Set aside.

Making the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Add in the butter, egg, and vanilla.  Turn the mixer onto low speed, then gradually pour in the milk with the mixer going.  Once all the milk is added, beat on medium speed until fully combined.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Spread the sugar and butter mixture evenly in the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Arrange most of the sliced apples in a circular pattern on top of the sauce, overlapping them slightly.  Spread about half of the batter evenly over the apples.
  3. Chop the remaining apple slices, then sprinkle them over the batter.  Smooth the remaining batter over the chopped apples.

Baking the Cake

  1. Bake the cake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, until the cake is well risen and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  The cake should spring back if it is lightly pressed on the top.
  2. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack, then run a plastic knife around the edge of the cake and turn it out onto the serving plate.


  • For a lighter-textured cake, let the batter stand for about 10 minutes before pouring it into the pan and baking.
  • If you don’t like pumpkin pie spice, substitute with apple pie spice which is cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
  • Make sure to have a good grip on the pan and plate as you turn out the cake.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *