Apple Upside Down Cake

This Apple Upside Down Cake is made for fall, with warm nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar flavors. It’s simple to make and perfect for dessert or even breakfast!

A slice of apple upside down cake on a white plate

An Easy Cake for Fall Baking

I love baking during the fall, when the weather starts to cool down. This Apple Upside Down Cake is one of my new fall go-to’s when I need an easy dessert. It’s full of my favorite fall flavors – brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg – and topped with Granny Smith apples.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of upside down cakes – I’ve already shared my pineapple upside down cake recipe, along with a strawberry version as well. And while I love both of those, this apple upside down cake may be my new favorite – at least for fall! I just love the warm flavors.

Let’s talk about the apples for a second. They are baked in a brown sugar, butter and cinnamon mixture that caramelizes while baking, making a delicious and easy topping for the cake. It’s moist, full of flavor and hard to resist.

Is your mouth watering yet?! This cake is perfect for dessert and snacking but you can even enjoy it for breakfast with your coffee (think coffee cake-like) and like the other upside down cakes, it’s so simple to make!

Once you put it all together and bake it, you don’t have to fool with it again. The decoration is built into the cake. Plus, the caramelized topping drizzles down the sides of the cake when you flip it out of the pan, which looks great and tastes even better.

If you’re looking for a sweet and easy fall treat, definitely give it a try!

Apple upside down cake on a white serving dish

What You’ll Need

Nothing complicated in this easy fall cake – just apples and baking staples!

For the Apple Topping:

  • Butter – Salted and unsalted butter both work for the topping.
  • Brown sugar – Some sweetness for the topping.
  • Cinnamon & nutmeg – Both spices add a warm flavor to the apple topping.
  • Apples – I’ve found Granny Smith apples are the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and best for baking.

For the Cake

  • Flour – Regular all-purpose flour works perfectly.
  • Baking powder – Helps the cake to rise.
  • Cinnamon & nutmeg – Warm spices throughout the entire cake.
  • Salt – For flavor.
  • Butter – I use unsalted to control the level of salt in the cake. If you use salted butter, you won’t need to add salt.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sugar – A combination of white sugar and brown sugar.
  • Vanilla extract – For flavor.
  • Eggs
  • Milk – I use 2%.

How to Make Apple Upside Down Cake

One of the reasons I love this cake is just how easy it is to make. While it looks fancy, there are no special techniques or equipment required.

  • Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray the sides of the pan.
  • Make the apple topping. Combine the topping ingredients except for the apples and spread in the bottom of the cake pan. Arrange the apples over the mixture, starting with outer edge and filling in the center.
  • Make the cake batter. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cream the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla extracts until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then half of the dry ingredients. Add the milk and mix until combined. Then add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are well-incorporated.
  • Bake. Add the batter to the cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool. Remove the cake from the oven and press gently to flatten any dome. Cool for 20 minutes then invert on a cooling rack. Serve warm.
A slice of apple upside down cake on a white plate

Tips for Success

There are just a few things to keep in mind when making your cake, to ensure you end up with that perfectly light cake and caramelized topping.

  • Don’t skimp on creaming time. Be sure to cream the sugars and butter for the full 2-3 minutes. This is essential to a light and fluffy cake.
  • Don’t be alarmed if the batter looks curdled. After you add the milk, the batter may look a little curdled. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
  • Use a towel to flatten the dome. A dome may appear on the cake during baking. Use a towel to safely press down on the hot cake to flatten it.
  • Cover to avoid browning. If the top is starting to look a little too brown, you can cover the cake with foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.
A slice of apple upside down cake on a white plate with a bite missing

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy this Apple Upside Down Cake warm! If you can, enjoy a slice when it’s still fresh and warm from the oven. If it cools to room temperature first, just pop a slice back into the microwave for about 15 seconds.

While it’s perfectly enjoyable on its own, serving this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is a match made in heaven!

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftover upside down cake in the fridge. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container.

I highly recommend reheating the slices in the microwave before you eat them. Cold apple upside down cake just doesn’t compare!

Print
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A slice of apple upside down cake on a white plate
Recipe

Apple Upside Down Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Apple Upside Down Cake is made for fall, with warm nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar flavors. It’s simple to make and perfect for dessert or even breakfast!


Ingredients

For the Apple Topping

  • 1/4 cup (56g) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (168g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges

For the Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 6 tbsp (78g) sugar
  • 6 tbsp (84g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (150ml) milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and spray the sides of a 9×2 inch cake pan.
  2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and spread evenly in the bottom of a 9×2 inch cake pan.
  3. Arrange the apple slices over the sugar, using the photos above for visual reference. Arrange them around the outer edge of the pan and then fill in the center.
  4. To make the cake batter, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  7. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  8. Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter may look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
  9. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  10. Add the batter to the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, covering with foil about 25 minutes in, if needed, to prevent the top from over-browning. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and press the cake down gently to help flatten any dome. I placed a dish cloth on top of the cake to help press on the hot cake.
  12. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool a bit before serving. It’s best served warm, but if you allow it to cool completely to room temperature, you can heat individual slices for 10-15 seconds to warm them back up a bit.

Keywords: how to make upside down cake, apple cake recipe, easy fall desserts

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Recipe rating

6 Comments
  1. Jennifer

    So, it’s super tasty, but my brown sugar/butter/cinnamon topping didn’t really melt together and stuck to the bottom of my pan. Any suggestions?

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, I wonder if it melted, but then firmed back up as it cooled in the pan. Maybe try inverting it a little sooner next time.

  2. Aunt J

    Hi, me again. We are enjoying an abundance of gorgeous, flavorful peaches just now. Trust me on this, there’s no reason to not try this recipe with peaches. I did; you should too. Slice and arrange your peaches in the buttery, brown sugary caramel in the pan. Oh, don’t skip the sprinkles of spice. Prepare the batter, pour over your beautiful peach wreath and bake as directed. So good.

  3. Aunt J

    Yes, it was pretty and yes it smelled like heaven. Mostly yes because everybody loved it; all warm, spicy, apple-y and comforting. The cake recipe was similar to a favorite coffee cake, so this doubled as a breakfast cake served warm the next morning. Who can argue with cake for breakfast?

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12