Recipe: Brilliant, brilliant apple upside down cake

Apple_upside_down_cake_january_21st_2006

Disclaimer: This isn’t the cake I baked. The one I did, was quickly devoured.

There was an old saying back at the advertising agency I used to work at: 
“When the going gets tough, it starts raining cakes”

What they really meant, is that when I’d get tired of working, or extremely stressed out, I’d bake. A lot. And since I possibly couldn’t eat it all, I’d take it to work. Let’s just say, I can really relate to Izzy Stevens in Grey’s Anatomy. Nothing makes me happier than the smell of vanilla, the sheen of melting chocolate chips and licking a cake batter covered spatula. And it’s a challenge every time. You see, I bake without eggs. Which basically means, I have to tweak every recipe I read and find. Which means, there’s a little bit of me in every one of those cakes. And it makes me happy to know something I made, if done well, could give someone great joy, in the flavor of crisp, toasty apples, the texture of sweet whipped cream frosting and the purity of simple, delectable chocolate sponge cake.

Anyway, let’s just say I’ve had many reasons to be stressed off late. So I gave myself a midnight challenge. Something I’d seen but never made before: Apple Upside Down Cake.

I’m not going to say it was perfect. I’ll also admit I had to pick the apples from the bottom of the pan and stick them back up on the cake once made. But I can say, that on day 2, it tasted like the best damn apple cake I could’ve made. I’ll suggest a few iterations as I go along:

Ingredients:

1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 level tsp double-action baking powder
1/2 can (or 200 g) sweetened condensed milk
60 ml melted butter (usually amounts to 4 tbsp of solidified butter)
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon (use more or less depending on how much you love cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground ginger ( this is mainly for the flavor: use depending on your preference. Skip it if you’re not a fan)
Some nutmeg (some recipes call for using just a dash but I love nutmeg and use just a little less than I use cinnamon)
1 tsp sugar in the raw or brown sugar
1 apple, finely sliced 

Here’s what I did:

1) Preheated the oven to 400 degrees F
2) Liberally greased and dusted a 6″ round pan
3) Sieved the flour and baking powder. Folded into the mixture the melted margarine, vanilla essence/extract and condensed milk. Then I used a whisk to smoothen the entire mixture. You know, to that point that you can see beautiful little patterns forming in the mixture. I also added some warm water to the mix because the batter needs to be of pouring consistency. Since the cake is eggless, not adding enough water could make the cake too dense and hard. 
4) I then added the spices to taste and mixed it up again.
5) In the pan, I spread the sugar and lined the tin with the apples. Then I poured the mixture over it and put it in the oven. This cake took twice as long to cook as a regular chocolate cake using a similar recipe. It also rose a lot from the center and cracked. I’m still trying to achieve that perfection but the cake tasted so good, I feel confident recommending it any way. After 30 minutes, I reduced the oven temperature to 325 and baked till a knife put through the center came clean.
6) Once that happened, I took it out and cut the raised center with a big serrated bread cutting knife and then I inverted the tin. I think I perhaps should’ve waited cause all the apples didnt come through on top of the cake and I had to pull them out and them in place on the cake.
The original recipe (Which I tweaked) said the cake should have been served warm. Personally, I preferred the cake cold and can only imagine it tasting even better with cream.

I’m looking forward to making this cake again with better results. The challenge continues: next time, I’ll work hard on making it bake evenly, with almost no cracks and making the apples stick. Perhaps, I’ll add a little caramel to the mix, and even mix some apple sauce with the condensed milk in the batter. I could also use some fresh ginger in the mix, or caramelize the ginger with the apples at the base of the tin.

So many ideas! I’m happy just at the thought of it πŸ™‚ 

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