Friday, February 18, 2011

Apple Upside Down Cake

Andrew's been in the kitchen again.  The man has discovered the joy of baking and I'm happy!  When  he found that I'd be hosting my Muse book group on Wednesday evening, he asked if I'd like him to make a dessert.  How could I refuse?  "Yes, please."  He then proposed an apple upside-down cake that he'd seen in Cook's Illustrated a few years ago.  Then he took me by surprise by asking if I thought it'd be o.k. if he changed it a bit.  What?  He is asking me, the Queen of Tweaking, if it was o.k. to tweak?  As you know, I do it all the time.  Andrew, however, is a man of preciseness.  He follows recipe directions to the letter--measuring, weighing, counting.  Now he's going to "tweak"?  I gave him the nod and off he went to the kitchen.

Here's the recipe with his tweaks in bold:

Apple Upside-Down Cake from Cook's Illustrated slightly tweaked by Andrew

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-in round, 2-in deep cake pan.  Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat to 350 degrees.

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, plus extra for the pan
4 Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds), peeled and cored
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp grated orange zest

1.  For the topping:  Halve apples from end to end.  Cut 2 apples into 1/4 inch-thick slices, set aside.  Cut the remaining 2 apples into 1/2 inch-thick slices.  Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the 1/2 inch-thick apple slices and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to caramelize (5-6 min.).  Do not cook them until done!  Add the 1/4 inch-thick apples, brown sugar, and lemon juice and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and apples are coated--about 1 minute longer.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and lightly press into an even layer.
2.  For the cake:  Whisk flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs together in a large bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in melted and slightly cooled butter until combined.  Add sour cream,  almond extract and orange zest until just combined.  Pour batter into pan and spread evenly over the apples.  Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
3.  Cool pan on wire rack 20 minutes.  Run a knife around sides of cake to loosen.  Place the wire rack over the pan and turn over.  Lift off the cake pan.  Cool completely then transfer to a serving platter.



  1. Bonnie, if you could see me now...I have a great big smirk on my face saying to myself "Is this my Hubby she's speaking of"?
    I've never followed anything to the letter...and my Hubby does. I'm also the designer/decorator...and Hubby couldn't match two pillows together let alone re-decorate his whole office...and now he has done it beautifully...hmmm.
    Therefore, our spouses tweaking anything should be no surprise...we are after all women of influence! Isn't it nice to know that we did right by them? LOL

    I do love a man in the kitchen...especially when he's baked a tasty cake. If he cleaned up after his mess...well then, he's a real gem...keep him!

    Thanks for Andrew's tweaked version...I've book marked it with a special memory of reading your post ;o)

    Have a wonderful day Bonnie.
    Ciao for now,

  2. Bonnie, you are a lucky girl! Willingness to bake is one thing... but, those tweaks look divine to me! Yummmmm... Have a good weekend!

  3. HEllO~ he cooks and even asked to cook? AND oh what a cook he is! What a delightful dessert, my mouth was watering looking at all those tender apples melting into all that goodness below.

    Tweaking makes cooking fun.

  4. How sweet. And I think his "tweaks" made for a definite better cake!

  5. Dang, I got to change my shirt. It's got drool all over it. That looks and sounds completely yummy!

    I've loved pineapple upside down cake all my life, and now, apple! Happy sigh....

  6. It looks lovely, how did it taste?

  7. That looks delicious! Now I have to be honest and tell you I am NOT the cook in our family, but I am the baker so this recipe is right up my alley!
    Thank you and thanks to Andrew!!!

  8. i love pineapple upside down cake, and never even heard of or thought of apple upside down. looks great and you can be sure i will be telling this story to MY hubby

  9. Yum, I know I would love this cake, Bonnie. It reminds me of the pineapple upside down cake my mother used to make. I think it's wonderful that your hubby enjoys baking. Lucky you!

  10. Yummmmmmmmmm, Bonnie... Glad your hubby is interested in baking also.. The two of you could open up a restaurant!!!!!

    I'd love that Apple Upside Down Cake. Sounds incredible... I have a recipe for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake--but not apple...

    Have a great weekend.

  11. I wish my husband cooked. This upside down cake looks wonderful.

  12. Hi there Bonnie!

    My name is Steve Walters and I recently started blogging at, which is currently being updated with recipes, but in the next few months will be my vehicle for covering the food and restaurant scene in Bangkok Thailand.

    I am now in the process of meeting as many food bloggers as I can and I found your site From A Writer's Kitchen recently and was pretty impressed. I've added your site to my Foodie Blogs list here: and would also like to add you to my blogroll.

    If you could add my site to your blogroll and write back to let me know it has been added (foodie [at] I will add you to mine as well and the exchange would be greatly appreciated!

    As you might imagine I am very excited to get moved to Bangkok and get started on covering the food scene there as I feel it is an area that isn't well covered by English speaking bloggers. I plan on adding loads of great reviews, pictures and even video and will be holding contests as well. It should be fun, entertaining and informative for everyone that visits.

    Thank you so much in advance for adding me to your blogroll and I look forward to reading your posts (I've subscribed!) and maybe even featuring some of your own posts as I do plan on a weekly roundup of Thai themed recipes and posts from other food bloggers.

    Warm regards,

    P.S. If you are on Twitter I would love to have you as a follower and I follow back:

  13. You have a real treasure there in that husband of yours, but I'm sure you know that! Have a good weekend--hope you have a touch of the good weather that we have!

  14. Yummy! I love his tweaks! It is fascinating to me that he thought it through. Gotta love it! Bonnie

  15. This sounds so good! Especially with the almonds. This is the 2nd post I've seen today on apple desserts. Think I'm craving some now!
    Enjoy your weekend!

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  17. You've been teaching the man right! That apple upside down cake looks beautiful and must have tasted equally delicious!

  18. My sweet husband made 2 dozen sweet potato rolls on Wednesday...I was so proud. It looks like Andrew has been learning a few tricks himself! This cake looks great. Thank you for sharing your heart and this treat. I hope you have a blessed Saturday!

  19. Your talent is really rubbing off on him!!

    Bet your book club were delighted.

  20. He is quite gifted in the kitchen. This looks amazing and I can only imagine how great it tasted.

  21. Lucky you! This cake looks delicious and it's worth even more since it was offered to you by your husband.

  22. I love recipes by Cooks Illustrated, they always turn out successfully. I like that you Andrew added ground almond, it makes the cake lighter and more crumbly. This looks like such a wonderful wonderful treat!


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