Alright, who jinxed me? Seriously. Everything I've made over the course of the past several weeks has gone wrong in one way or another. First my failure apple cake, then my broken fruit tart, and now this. My half burnt caramel apple upside down cake.
I was doing so good. I melted the butter, let the foam subside like the recipe said to, and then carefully measured out the brown sugar and added it to the skillet. Things were dandy, until I noticed that some of the sugar towards the middle of the skillet started getting darker and bubbling. Of course, I thought this was normal because after all, it was a caramel apple upside down cake, and caramel is made by boiling sugar and stuff...I think.
Well anyways, it started smelling not so good so I decided it'd be a good idea to remove it from the heat....the heat that was not on low by the way. Because I, for some reason, don't know how to follow directions--when the recipe says turn the heat to low, you should probably turn the heat to low. To be honest though, I really don't get my stove. If I had turned the stove switch to where it's actually marked "Lo", then the stove would have practically been off. That's how low my stove gets...which I guess would have been fine because I'd rather have had the brown sugar barely cook than overcook. You know, to spare me the embarassment here.
Now even though some of the sugar did get dark and bubbly, smell kinda funky, and look completely ugly when I inverted the cake, it didn't taste half bad. There were some parts that were super bitter (the parts where the sugar was really burnt), but I carefully removed them with a spoon and the cake looked good as new. As if the sugar incident hadn't even happened. You know, I could have started over once I realized that the sugar didn't look like what it was supposed to. It's not like I was too far into it. But as you all know, denial ain't just a river in Egypt. I kept telling myself it would be fine and that it was supposed to be caramely and yada yada yada. What can I say, I have a hard time accepting failure.
But it turns out it wasn't really a failure. As I mentioned earlier, it was only half of the cake that was affected by the burnt sugar. And the actual cake part itself is separate from the sugar, so the bitter sugar flavor didn't mix into it or anything like that. With the burnt sugar parts removed, I was left with a fluffy, tender cake topped with soft and lightly caramelized apples. And if that wasn't delicious enough on its own, I added a spoonful of cinnamon whipped cream topping to completely blow my
mind tastebuds away.
If you've ever had a slice of pineapple upside-down cake, then you have a pretty good idea of what this cake tastes like. Just replace the pineapples with apples and multiply the foodgasm by ten. Aside from how tasty it is, I love this cake for two reasons in particular. One, because it's special enough for company but quick enough just for the family. And two, because it's different. I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally find a dessert involving apples that isn't a tart, pie, or muffin. Because that's all I've been seeing over foodgawker for the past three months. Finally, someone found a different way to enjoy an apple. And enjoy it you will.
Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake
from The Hazel Bloom
For the cake
1/4 cup(1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 and 1/2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons buttermilk
For the cinnamon whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In an 8″ or 10″ cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Simmer until the foam begins to subside.
Turn the heat to low, and then add the brown sugar and give it a little stir. Keeping the heat on low, let the brown sugar and butter sit without stirring for about 3 minutes.
Lay the apples in the pan in a circular pattern. Continue cooking on low for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk, and the vanilla.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add 6 tablespoons butter and 6 tablespoons of the buttermilk. Beat on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, then switch to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 and a 1/2 minutes.
Add 1/3 of the egg mixture, and beat for 20 seconds. Add another 1/3 of the egg mixture, beating for another 20 seconds. Add the last of the egg, and beat for 20 seconds.
Pour the batter over the apples in the pan, and spread gently to cover the apples evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Let cool for 5 minutes, then gently use a butter knife to go around the sides of the cake. Place your cake plate upside down over the cake in the skillet, then smoothly and quickly turn the cake over. Gently lift up the skillet; the cake should come out fairly easily.
In a medium bowl using a hand mixer with whip attachment or in the bowl of your stand mixer with a whip attachment, whip together the whipped cream, cinnamon, powdered sugar, and vanilla until peaks form. It should take about a minute.
Slice cake into wedges, and top with cinnamon whipped cream.