This Apple Upside-Down Cake features a caramelized apple topping and a cinnamon vanilla cake. Easy to make and perfect for fall!
I love summer, but I have to say that I’m kind of excited that September is finally here. Not only does it mean cooler weather, but it also means apples are in season. A few weeks ago I updated and shared my pineapple upside-down cake recipe and so many of you loved it.
So today I’m sharing a fall spin on that cake with this apple upside-down cake! Not only is this cake pretty easy to make, but it’s delicious too. The topping uses brown sugar and cinnamon which pairs perfectly with the apples. The cake is also a simple vanilla cake batter infused with some ground cinnamon for extra flavor.
Another thing that I love about this cake is that it always turns out so beautiful with the sliced apple topping. I’m also sharing tons of tips in today’s post plus how to freeze this cake if you want to save it for another time!
How To Make This Cake
Just like my pineapple upside down cake, this apple upside-down cake recipe also has two components: the topping and the cake batter.
To make the topping for this cake, you’ll start by melting some butter. You can either use the microwave or the stovetop, but I prefer to just slice the butter and melt it in a glass bowl in the microwave to make things a bit easier. Next, whisk some brown sugar and ground cinnamon into the melted butter until they’re well combined.
Then, spray a 9-inch round cake pan well with nonstick cooking spray and pour the brown sugar cinnamon topping into it. If needed, you can use a spoon to spread it around.
The last step for the topping is to peel, core, and slice up 2 medium apples. You can use any kind of baking apple that you prefer, but I love to use Honeycrisp apples for this recipe. I also suggest slicing your apples into thinner slices like the picture above. Then, just arrange your apple slices on top of the mixture you spread into your cake pan earlier.
Once your topping is ready, it’s time to prepare the cake batter. To start, whisk together your dry ingredients – some all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Set them aside and then mix up the wet ingredients.
For the wet ingredients, you’ll start by beating one stick of butter with some granulated sugar for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. This step is crucial because it incorporates more air into your batter which results in a softer, lighter cake. Trust me on this one!
Next, beat in a couple of room temperature eggs and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. I suggest stopping to scrape down the sides of your bowl and mixing again to ensure that the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined.
The last step is to alternate mixing in your dry ingredients with some milk or buttermilk in three additions. In other words, you’ll mix in 1/3 of your dry ingredients, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the last 1/2 of the milk, and then the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
When adding the dry ingredients and the milk, you only want to mix in each addition until just combined. This will help ensure that you don’t over mix the cake batter, which can overdevelop the gluten resulting in a dense cake. Remember, we’re going for a light and fluffy cake!
Now that the cake batter is ready, it’s time to assemble your cake. Simply pour the batter right on top of the topping you prepared in your cake pan earlier and spread it around into one even layer.
Then, just bake the cake at 350°F (177°C) for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven, let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then flip it out of your cake pan onto the wire rack so that it can cool completely.
Because of the topping on this cake, it’s pretty moist so it will only keep for about 3 days at room temperature. If you want to freeze the whole cake or individual slices, you can wrap the cooled cake or slices tightly with plastic wrap and store them in a large freezer bag or storage container. The cake or slices will freeze well for up to 3 months if stored properly.
To thaw the cake, place it in the refrigerator overnight, then set it out for a couple of hours on the counter so that it can come to room temperature.
- Feel free to use any kind of baking apples that you prefer in this cake! I use Honeycrisp apples, but some other great options are Fuji or Granny Smith apples.
- Make sure the butter, eggs, and milk are all at room temperature before getting started. This will help ensure that your cake batter mixes together correctly.
- You can use either milk or buttermilk in this cake. I prefer to use buttermilk though because it helps to keep the cake moist.
More Apple Recipes To Try
Apple Upside-Down Cake
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 medium apples peel, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1 and 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk or buttermilk room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9-inch cake pan well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
To make the topping:
- Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in a mixing bowl and stir until fully combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and evenly spread it on the bottom.
- Arrange the apple slices in an even layer on top and set aside.
To make the cake:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one, then mix in the pure vanilla extract. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed and mix again.
- Add the dry ingredients on low speed in three additions alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan on top of the sliced apples.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then flip the cake out of the pan and onto a cooling rack to cool completely.