Apple Upside Down Cake

Caramelized spiced apples pair with this deliciously light and airy vanilla cake … we just took the ”pine” out of your pineapple upside down cake! We love apple season and this fun version of the iconic pineapple upside down cake is especially delicious for autumn desserts!🍎 Nothing at all against pineapple (we love it) but it’s always fun to have options!

You can use green or red apples, but be sure to use apples that hold up well in baking. We’ve made this cake with both Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples and really enjoyed both. If you want a little more color to the top of your cake, use red apples and leave the skins on. You can also make this cake in a round pan instead of square and that will give you different options on the apple pattern you choose for the eventual top of the cake. We arranged the apples in the quilted pattern below for our square cake.

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Arrange the apples over the brown sugar and butter layer and dust with cinnamon and cardamom

You can arrange the apples in any way you like, but if you use a square pan, this pattern seems to work very well. If you choose a similar sized round pan you can arrange them is a circular fashion like a swirl of a flower.

Apple Upside Down Cake

Fluffy vanilla cake topped with brown sugar and caramelized spice apples.
Servings 12 Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 1 8×8-inch square baking pan



  • 3 medium apples Granny Smith, Braeburn or Honeycrisp
  • 2 oz. butter, melted 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick or 4 tbsp.
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom can use nutmeg if you don’t have cardamom

Cake Batter

  • 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour can use all-purpose, but cake flour makes the cake a bit fluffier
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup milk



  • Grease or spray an 8×8 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Core apples and slice into thin (1/4 to 1/2-inch wedges. You can peel the apples too, if you prefer, but we like the color from the red apples so we leave the peels on.
  • Mix 1 cup brown sugar with melted butter and spread evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  • Arrange apple slices in whatever pattern you like on top of the brown sugar. Lightly dust with cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside while you make the cake.
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Cake Batter

  • Separate eggs into whites and yolks. Place whites in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Keep yolks handy for adding to the batter. Set aside.
  • Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Mix milk, apple juice and vanilla together and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add flour and liquids alternately beating well after each. Begin and end with dries. Gently fold beaten egg whites into the batter just until incorporated.
  • Pour batter over the apples in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then, place a cake platter or a large plate upside down on top of the cake and invert. Leave the baking pan on top of the inverted cake just until most of the good stuff drips down over the cake. Remove the cake pan.
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  • Serve apple upside cake with a dollop of whipped cream or your favorite vanilla, cinnamon, caramel or praline ice cream or frozen dessert.
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Don’t wait too long to invert your cake after it comes out of the oven. We find that 10 minutes is plenty of time for the cake to cool enough to flip it. If you wait too long to invert the cake, the caramelized apple topping can get crystallized and stick to the bottom of the cake pan. This can mess with your apple pattern and makes it harder to make a beautiful cake presentation!
Course: Dessert
Keyword: apple cakes, apple desserts, apple upsidedown cake, upsidedown cakes

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