Caramel Apple Cake

This cake is a riff on the classic tarte tatin.  Try it with a dash of orange zest in the caramel and the cake, or really fresh cardamom if you have it.  I made it yesterday for lunch in the hoophouse.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

For caramel
5 T butter
3/4 brown sugar
6 apples
pinch allspice

For cake
2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
10 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c buttermilk

Melt butter in 10″ cast-iron or oven-proof skillet over moderate heat. Stir in brown sugar and cook for 3-4 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly while you prepare remaining ingredients.

Peel, core and thinly slice apples.  Arrange in circular pattern in skillet atop caramel.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, and pulse just until mixture is moistened.

Gently spread batter atop apples, leaving a 1-inch border around edge of skillet for the cake to spread as it bakes.

Bake cake in middle of oven until golden brown and firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes.  Turn oven off.  Cool cake in skillet on a rack 3 minutes, then carefully invert onto a large oven-proof platter. Replace any apples that stick to skillet on cake.  Return to cooling oven to keep warm and continue to caramelize until ready to serve.

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