Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Upside-Down Cake

We had a long weekend. We also have two grandfathers that celebrate birthdays on Labor Day weekend. So we ate. A lot. It was almost like Christmas. Only it was 100 degrees out.

I made two completely separate cakes. In the oven... It was 100 degrees out.

I don't know what I was thinking (Really, I do, I'm just too cheap to buy something that I can do myself.) so made cake-s.

The first one was a birthday cake. It was just a plain ole chocolate with whipped icing. I used mixes. I mean, I had two cakes to make, what do you expect. Except that we rocked it out with a famous duck call company logo. The man I am married to cut it out of a black Sugar Sheet. It looked really good. Like, really, really good. Any mistakes or imperfections were my fault. You can see a better view of it here.

The first cake tasted pretty good and looked great. And since birthday cakes are all about looks anyway, it was definitely a success.

The second cake was a little rustic.

The man I am married to said, "Yeah, just keep telling yourself that." He thought I was making excuses for the peace symbol shaped cracks that nearly split it in half, or thirds, or whatever. I'm not splitting hairs, just cakes. Or, maybe he just thought he was being funny.

I said, "Uh, no. It's rustic because I made it in a cast iron skillet." I may or may not have rolled my eyes.

It's officially rustic because PW said so. It's her recipe, sorta. I cheated and used a cake mix on that one too. Don't judge. I finished two cakes in, like, a very short but reasonable period of time.


That cake, well, lets just say that I'll be invited to places because of that cake. Okay, probably not, but a bunch of people asked for the recipe. There are no pictures. I forgot to get one because we were in a huge hurry, as in, I took it out of the oven less than ten minutes before we walked out the door. Not something I advise, but if you ever need to rush out the door and sit with a 300 degree cake in your lap for 45 minutes, that would be the one.

I didn't though. I just covered it loosely with foil. It looked like a silver volcano science experiment.  Then, I stuck it in a clothes basket with a big towel for a hot pad. It was 100 degrees out. Way too hot to be holding a 300 degree cake in my lap.

Anyway, as I was saying, there are no pictures. When I finally had time to take pictures there was no cake. I didn't even have to force people to take some of the leftovers. I'm telling you, this may be the best cake I've ever eaten. And I know because PW said so.

I'm not just going to keep going on and on about it without giving you something for reading this far. Yep, I had to make another one. Shoot!

My pictures didn't really turn out to be step by step photos. I have a whole new level of respect for people who do that. I get to cooking and forget that I'm supposed to be documenting. But maybe they will help.

For the apple topping you will need:

5-6 firm, tart apples (I used Winesap)
1-1/3 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of granulated sugar

For the cake batter you will need:

1 butter recipe cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
3/4 cup water
2/3 stick butter
1 apple cored and peeled



Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375F.

Step 2: Prepare the buttery apple goodness. Peel and core the apples. Then, Slice them 1/2 inch thick.

Melt 1-1/3 sticks of the butter (That equals 2/3 of a cup of butter in case you ever need to know) in your favorite 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Another kind of skillet might work but I wouldn't recommend non-stick.

Stir the sugar in until it's mixed in there pretty good. Start laying the apples in.


This is when your kitchen starts to smell like you are making something delicious.




I put them in a pretty pattern, but they will move around a little as they are cooking so I didn't stress too much when I dropped a couple in the wrong direction. It's a rustic cake.



Yes, that is my cast iron skillet. And I do indeed own a glass top stove. I cook with no fear. Nobody lives forever.

While your apples and sugar are making your kitchen really smell nice you need to start the cake batter. Just keep an eye on it and turn the heat down if it starts to brown too quickly.

Step 3: Ignore the directions on the box of cake mix.

Step 4: Pour the mix into a large bowl and add the cinnamon and nutmeg. This is where I turn the mixer on low for a few seconds to mix up the dry ingredients. On low. Please don't turn it to high.

Then add 3/4 cup of water, 3 eggs and softened butter. Don't leave the butter sitting all by it's lonely self in the microwave. Mix on low  until everything is moist. Then, beat for two minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go.

Step 5: Fold in the chopped apples.

By this time your apples in the skillet should look something like this.

It is around this point that your whole house starts smelling divine. You may notice people starting to come through the kitchen to "get a drink" or "because they couldn't find you".


Step 6: Spoon the batter into your skillet of buttery apple goodness. Resist the temptation to start dumping the cake batter right into the middle of your apples.The trick here is to spoon it gently on top of the apples. Start along the outside and work your way to the middle. This will help the apples to stay in place and help to keep all that loveliness from pouring over the sides of your skillet and onto the stove top.

You are now free to lick the spoon that you used to keep the apples in place and rejoice in the thought that that glorious mellifluence will soon be on top of your cake.


Step 7: Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. It should come out clean. Or gently press one finger onto the top of the cake near the center. If the fingerprint springs back it is done. If the cake is still a bit jiggly gently lay a piece of foil over the top and turn the oven down to 325F. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes.




I'm not sure why it looks a little like a deflated football. But it doesn't really matter because that's not going to show. Also, I can't believe I am showing you the inside of my oven. Thankfully, the sheet of foil is covering up the mess from where the last one bubbled over the sides a tad. Got it? Foil catch sheet. Good.


Step 8: Let the cake cool in the skillet for 5 minutes. I took a picture of that too, but it's kind of boring. And plus, you are having to wait an excruciatingly long time to taste this amazing creation. It just wouldn't be humane. Ease the pain by licking the beaters and the bowl. It helps.

By now you probably have people buzzing around your kitchen like flies. Swat them if they try to sneak tastes of that crispy edge. Really. Make them wait.

Step 9: Invert on to a pretty cake plate, or the only thing you can find big enough to hold a 12-inch cake, like a Christmas platter. Who cares if it's only September? Besides, this cake will make you forget your name let alone what time of year it is.

One side turned out pretty. Just cut the weird looking place first. No one will ever care because beauty is not about looks, it's about what's inside.


Step 10: Eat it. One. Delicious. Bite. At. A. Time.  It is best served warm with a scoop of ice cream and a cup of hot coffee.





Apple Upside-Down Cake



5-6 firm, tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2" thick wedges
1-1/3 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 butter recipe cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup butter
1 apple cored, peeled and chopped


Preheat oven to 375F. Melt butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Add sugar and mix well. Lay apples into butter and sugar mixture. Lower heat if necessary to prevent burning, but allow it to caramelize. Mix cake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, water and butter on low until moistened. Then beat for 2 minutes until smooth. Fold in chopped apple. Spoon batter on top of apple/butter mixture working from the outside edge of the skillet toward the center. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. If necessary, turn oven down to 325F and lay a piece of foil gently over the top to prevent over browning and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.



Love y'all!

Amber


P.S. I really wanted to name this the Apple Bottoms Up, Knock Your Furry Boots Off Cake, but I didn't. I'm a pretty traditional sort of girl and that song is old anyway.

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