Friday, March 9, 2012

Whole Foods Friday: Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

The idea behind this cake started with pineapple upside-down cake. But with apples. Sort of like a tarte tatin. But made in a cast iron frying pan. Did I mention the caramel?

The idea was one thing, but the result was different.

This turned out much, much better than I had anticipated. The caramel apple idea was spot-on. The sweetness of the caramel was perfectly balanced by the tartness of the apples.

The cake itself was ... well, flawless. That's pretty amazing at high altitude where cakes often misbehave, The cake flavor was just right, too. It couldn't have been better

And that's a lot for me to admit to, considering how much I love chocolate cake.

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

2 sticks butter, divided
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1/2 stick of  butter in a 10-inch* cast iron frying pan. Add 3/4 cup of sugar and cook, stirring as needed, until the sugar melts and the caramel is lightly browned.

Meanwhile, prepare the cake batter. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream the remaining 1 1/2 sticks of butter and the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Add the vanilla and continue beating until it is incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated.

Add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the yogurt. Mix until well combined.

Arrange the sliced apples on top of the caramel in the pan. This will be the top of your cake, so be be neat about it, but be careful - the pan and the caramel will be hot.

Pour the batter carefully over the apples, trying to not disturb them too much. It's fine if they aren't perfect - this is a somewhat rustic cake.

Bake at 350 degrees until the cake springs back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert onto a wire rack, If you wait and the caramel begins to cool, it's more likely that the cake will stick to the pan.

*If your cast iron frying pan isn't exactly 10 inches, that's fine. A little larger or a little smaller will work.

For more information about Whole Foods Friday, check out the tab at the top.