Spiced Apple Upside-Down Cake
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Infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, this Spiced Apple Upside-Down Cake features apples baked into every bite. It will quickly become a fall favorite!
An Easy Fall Cake
Inspired by my upside-down pineapple cake, this Spiced Apple Upside-Down Cake has quickly become one of my favorite fall desserts, next to my cranberry orange upside-down cake.
Like its pineapple cousin, this apple cake is dense yet tender, with not only apple flavors but apples in every single bite. There’s the spiced apple topping but also bits of apple throughout the cake. Infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s full of fall flavor!
Not only that, but I used a few “secrets” to make this the best upside-down cake you’ll ever try! First, I made sure to use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Some will say that doesn’t make a difference but in my opinion, cake flour makes a noticeable difference.
Second, I use apple cider instead of milk to infuse every single bite of this cake with apple flavor. This cake tastes like you are taking a bite straight from the sweetest apple! It’s the cake version of my spiced apple cupcakes which you must try next.
Needless to say, this fall cake didn’t sit around my house long before it was completely devoured!
Why this recipe works
- Cake flour give the cake a dense yet tender crumb.
- Apple cider privides crisp apple flavor.
- The easy no-fuss method yeilds a soft, flavor cake that can’t be beat.
What You’ll Need
This easy apple cake is loaded with apples in the topping and the cake itself and made with pantry essentials!
For The Topping
- Butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter. It should be cold and cut into pieces.
- Light brown sugar – Adds a sweet, slightly rich flavor.
- Cinnamon & nutmeg – Add a warm spice to the apple topping.
- Apples – You’ll want tart baking apples to contrast the sweetness of the other ingredients.
For The Cake
- Cake flour – Cake flour creates a softer texture than all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder & baking soda – Work as the leavening agents to allow the cake to rise.
- Cinnamon & nutmeg – Warm flavor is spread through every bite of this cake.
- Unsalted butter – If you use salted butter, omit the extra salt.
- Granulated sugar – This cake is perfectly sweet and tender.
- Maple syrup – You can also substitute honey for a warm sweetness.
- Vanilla extract – For flavor.
- Eggs – Eggs should be at room temperature.
- Apple cider – Enhances the apple flavor throughout the recipe.
- Apples – I use Granny Smith but any tart baking apples will work.
How to Make Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake
This spiced apple cake is surprisingly easy to make! No special skills or equipment are needed.
Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare the cake pan by spraying it with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
Prepare the glaze. Stir butter and brown sugar over medium heat, until creamy and bubbly. Pour evenly in the bottom of the pan.
Arrange the apple topping. Place the apple slides side by side, starting at the outside and working your way in. The slices should overlap slightly.
Prepare the cake batter. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the maple syrup and vanilla, followed by the eggs. Next, add half the flour mixture then the apple cider. Add the remaining flour mixture and stir in the chopped apples. Carefully pour over the apple topping in the pan.
Bake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake is a rich golden brown.
Cool. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then invert onto a platter. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Pro tip: Don’t overmix the cake batter. Doing so will cause the cake to be tough and possibly dense. You only need to mix until you no longer see streaks of dry flour.
Tips for Success
There are just a few things to keep in mind when baking your spiced apple upside-down cake.
- Be sure to use cake flour. Cake flour is essential for a cake’s tender crumb and my secret to making the best upside-down cake. For that reason, I don’t recommend substitute it with all-purpose flour. Cake flour can usually be found in the baking aisle at your lcoal store.
- What are the best apples to use? My go-to apples are Granny Smith for this apple cake and other baked goods with apples. You can use any tart baking apple in this recipe.
- Add extra flavor with apple cider. One of my other tricks to making the best apple upside down cake is to add extra apple flavor by using apple cider instead of milk. You can also use apple juice.
- Don’t overmix the batter. While you want to gently combine after adding each ingredient, don’t go too crazy. Overmixed batter will lead to a less tender cake.
Apple upside-down cake can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. With the sweet but tart apple topping, this cake doesn’t need anything else to enjoy. That’s one of my favorite reasons for making upside-down cakes – they don’t require any icing, frosting, or anything else. Just slice and enjoy!
But, if you really want to indulge your sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature and wrap tightly with plastic wrap before moving to the fridge.
Can I Freeze Apple Upside-Down Cake?
Yes, you can freeze your apple upside-down cake, either the whole cake or as slices. Allow the cake to cool completely then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.
More Easy Apple Recipes:
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Made this cake yesterday. Prep time was closer to 2-hours for me. Not sure what I did wrong, but even after an additional 10-minutes in the oven, the center still wasn’t done. (My oven is new and I’ve not had a problem when baking an other dish.)
I suppose prep time can vary depending on the person, their experience in the kitchen, and the kitchen environment. But this is an easy recipe that shouldn’t take 2 hours to prep. As far as the oven goes, new ovens are not always calibrated correctly. I always suggest using an oven thermometer to make sure the oven temperature is accurate.
Hi, What can I substitute maple syrup with?
It’s noted in the recipe that either maple or honey is fine to use.
I cannot wait to make this! Not much a fan of pineapple upside down cake but I LOVE apples. A square shows to the left of the butter and the cider ingredients – where the amount needed should be. I noticed that in other recipes on your site. Is that to indicate something like “to taste” or is that just a glitch on my computer?
I’m not sure why it’s showing up for you the way it is. There are actually ingredient amounts listed in front of each ingredient. There should be 1/3 cup apple cider and 1/3 cup softened butter in the cake. I’m wondering if you printed the recipe out, it would show the correct amounts?
This cake looks divine!!! I want to dive right into that appley goodness! 😉
Thank you, Jocelyn!
You seem to love apples just as much as I do, Jen! I love the beautiful layout of the apples in this cake and the spices and fall flavors. My family will love it!
I do love apples, Heather. They are my favorite thing to work with in the fall. Yes, your family will love it. You must make it for them. 🙂
This looks ridiculously tasty and promisingly moist!! Great recipe and photos. Pinned! 🙂
Thank you, Tash. This cake was definitely all of those things. We gobbled it all up within two days.