By Carolyn Doyle
If you’ve got a bunch of delicious Indiana apples on hand, and you’re not a pie baker, don’t despair.
Make cake instead.
To be honest, I can take or leave pineapple upside-down cake…but I may not be leaving much of this Hoosier apple version for anyone else. Because I like plenty of apples in my cake, this version has a layer on the top (which becomes the bottom) and the bottom (which becomes the top).
When you’re picking up apples at the market or orchard, don’t forget to get some unfiltered apple cider…it helps give this little cake a double dose of apple flavor.
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Apple Cider Upside-Down Cake
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened (divided)
7 tablespoons brown sugar
1 pound (about 2 large) apples
2 eggs, separated
1 cup (minus 1 tablespoon) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup unfiltered apple cider
¾ cup unbleached or all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-inch cake pan (1 ½ inches deep) place 2 ounces butter. Top with the brown sugar and place in the oven for five minutes, until butter and sugar have melted. Remove from oven.
Peel and core the apples and cut into half-inch wedges. Carefully place half the slices in the pan in circles, overlapping as needed.
In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In a 4-quart mixer bowl beat the remaining 2 ounces of butter. Cream in the sugar. Beat in the two egg yolks, vanilla and cider. Combine the flours and other dry ingredients. Mix into the batter. Gently fold in the egg whites. Spread batter over apples in cake pan. Press the remaining apple slices gently into the batter. Place cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on lower rack approximately 40 minutes, or until the middle is set. Remove cake from oven and allow to rest for 2 minutes only.
Have a plate larger than the cake ready. Using a heat-proof silicone spatula, loosen the cake around the edges of the pan. Slip the flexible spatula around and down to loosen the bottom of the cake. Armed with a pair of oven mitts, place the plate securely on top of the hot cake pan and flip. Scrape any topping that sticks to the pan back onto the cake. Let cake rest at least 15-30 minutes before slicing.
While great on its own, this apple cake also plays well with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
For inquiring minds:
Why separate the eggs?
Separating the eggs and whipping the eggs whites makes for a lighter cake. But if you’re a lazy cook (like me), make it easy on yourself. I whip the egg whites using my stand mixer and the whip attachment, then gently slide the whites into a cereal bowl and set aside. I switch to the paddle attachment and make my cake batter, using the same mixing bowl.
A clean oven is a happy oven
The moisture content of apples varies, and if your apples are particularly juicy, your cake may bubble up and overflow when baking. Keep your oven clean by placing the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
Easy does it
Be careful when flipping the cake…there’s a hot, sticky butter-sugar mixture in the bottom, and you want it to stay on the cake (not on you).