This is a simple, easy-to-make cake that is perfect with a cup of tea or for a quick weeknight dessert. It looks pretty (most of the time). The sweet-tart apples are delicious and the cake is moist without being mushy. The cake has sour cream in it which lends a slight tartness and makes the crumb tender.
This is essentially an apple upside-down cake. The apple slices are golden and shimmery on the top of the cake. It really is beautiful.
When you turn the cake over, make sure you have a tight hold on it and that your 4-year old is not hanging on your leg whining and crying. Otherwise, you may end up with half the cake on the platter and the other half on the counter (see photo below). Luckily, on or off the platter this apple cake still tastes great.
Apple Upside-Down Cake
adapted from Cook's Country
Note: Granny Smiths are the best choice because they hold their shape nicely and are tart. Serve this with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the cake pan
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut each apple into 8-12 slices (depending on size)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 9-inch cake pan.
For the apples:
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted add sugar and stir to combine and cook about 1 minute. Add salt and fold in apples with a spatula to combine. Cook, stirring often for 5-7 minutes until the apples are slightly softer. Remove from heat and spoon the apples into the greased cake pan.
For the cake:
In a small bowl whisk together the 1/4 sour cream, egg, yolk and vanilla. In a large bowl place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix with a whisk or hand-held mixer. Add softened butter and 1/4 sour cream and mix on low speed until everything is moistened about 1 minute. Add the rest of the sour cream and egg mixture and mix on medium until the batter comes together and is kind of fluffy.
Spoon the cake batter over the apples and spread to cover all the apples. Bake until the cake is dark golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean about 35-40 minutes.
Let the cake cook for 5 minutes in the pan and then invert the cake onto a platter or plate. Let the cake sit for about 1 minute without tapping and the cake will slowly detach itself. The apples will be really hot still. Let the cake cool until warm or room temperature before serving. Enjoy.