Apple Cinnamon Upside Down Cake

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Is it me or is the apple upside down cake making a comeback? I made an apple upside down cake on a whim a few weeks ago when I had some fresh fruit from our CSA, and I decided to make something I’ve never made before. What I learned from trying something new: upside down cakes are cool. Yeah, they’re cool. When I posted my cake on Instagram there was lots of interest, so here you go: the recipe.

I’ve made a few upside down cakes, and tailored this one for apples, by adding lots of cinnamon. If you wanted to use another fruit that doesn’t jive with cinnamon (and cloves), you can omit it. Or replace it with a bit of cardamon for pears or vanilla for peaches. Be creative! Once you figure out a good base recipe, you can add and subtract an ingredient that’s defining flavor, like cinnamon. And you can have fun with the fruit designs depending what kind of fruit you use.

I surprised myself a bit with this cake. I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did, but it’s become a real favorite. Every time I think of an upside down cake, I think of some tacky 1970s canned pineapple and cherry funkiness. Turns out, it’s the perfect cake to put together with short notice, most of the ingredients are staples, plus you can make the cake in one bowl. That’s right one bowl, and you mix the sauce in the cake pan, so the mess is minimal. This cake is dense, but moist and holds up well with the fruit. There is also a nice sugar crust on the outside of the cake where the sauce has cooked.

Have you ever made an upside down cake?

Apple Cinnamon Upside Down Cake Recipe

Sauce + Apples

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoon water
  1. In 9 inch cake pan, add melted butter and all dry ingredients. Stir together until a paste forms, and add water and stir until sauce is created. Spread sauce evenly in bottom of pan.
  2. Slice apples on mandolin with top of apple facing down. This creates the pretty star pattern. If you don’t have a mandolin, don’t stress out. Slice apples as thin as you can, about 1/4 inch thick. Add mandolin to your birthday gift list, it’ll rock your world.
  3. Lay apples in circle pattern, include second layer to cover sauce as much as possible.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
  3. Add in milk, butter, egg and vanilla into dry mixture and mix and mix using a hand mixer.
  4. Once combined, evenly pour over apple layer. When spreading out, be careful not to disturb the apple layer. Use spoon or spatula to spread evenly.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

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