Apple Upside-Down Cake

When you’re done with this recipe, let the cake cool for 5 minutes before loosening the edges with a knife. Place a serving plate over the cake and quickly invert the pan, letting it sit upside down for a moment. Then shake the pan loose and pull it away.


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 large, crisp apples, such as Granny Smith — peeled, cored and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

    How to make it 

  • 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a deep (at least 2 inches) 9-inch round cake pan. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and stir over medium heat until the sugar bubbles.

  • 2

    Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the apples, nuts, lemon juice, cardamom and a pinch of salt. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the prepared cake pan.

  • 3

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter just until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 parts alternating with the buttermilk in 3 parts.

  • 4

    Mix until the ingredients are just combined. Turn off the mixer and finish mixing the batter by hand with a large rubber spatula until the flour is fully incorporated.

  • 5

    Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the apple-nut mixture and spread to fill the pan. Don’t worry if the layer of batter is uneven; it will even out during baking.

  • 6

    Slide the cake into the oven and bake until golden and the center springs back when lightly touched, about 35 minutes.

  • 7

    Let the cake cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then flip the pan over onto a serving plate. Let the cake sit upside down for a moment, then pull the pan away. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.

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