I was poking around for recipes to make for an after-work fall gathering, and still had a few Mutsu apples left to use. I came across the Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which I had pinned a few years back but never tried. It looked perfect, like a snacking cake, didn't need to feed a lot, and pretty simple to put together. After reading her notes on it, I decided to use all molasses instead of half molasses and half honey. My conclusion: this is okay. I didn't think the upside down sugar mixture was successful; if I made this again I'd make an actual caramel in a saucepan or maybe make this in a skillet. I also think that Deb (from Smitten Kitchen) has a more delicious gingerbread recipe that I've made for several Christmases, one that I'm not sure can be beat - the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread. I wonder if I could pour a half recipe of that batter over the apples and use the concept of this recipe! Something to file away for next time! I still wanted to post this recipe, because it is decent, I just felt like I would make a few changes to make it even more delicious the next time.
Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Adapted by Deb at Smitten Kitchen from Karen Bates at the Philo Apple Farm via the New York Times
4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges*
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Very softly whipped cream
Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch
cake pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer
over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes, then swirl in salt. Remove
from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of
overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop any remaining
slices and place them in the gaps.
Make the batter: Using a mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter and the
sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until
light and fluffy.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and
buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda,
salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses
mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at least 45 to 50 minutes or until a
wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let
cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter (one
that will catch spills.)
Serve warm or cool with very softly whipped cream.
*I used 2.5 Mutsu apples since they are rather large, and that was too much!