Sunday, December 6, 2009
this one takes the cake!
This cake is AWESOME. My uncle Phil's birthday is today (Happy Birthday Phil!) and I was asked to bake a cake. An upside-down cake to be exact. Can I let you in on a secret? I have eaten and (thoroughly) enjoyed many pineapple upside-down cakes (all thanks to my wonderful grandmother) in my lifetime, but have never, ever baked one.
I was really eager to find a really good recipe - something that would knock every one's socks off...and that didn't seem too complicated for my first attempt. Rather than delve into my recipe books; I decided to cyber-surf my favourite blogs and ended up @ Smitten Kitchen riveted by her gingerbread apple upside-down cake recipe.
First off, the pictures looked so appealing - a rumble in my tummy sort of appealing. And then the recipe looked simple and uncomplicated; hitting all the right notes of a warm and wintry cake that also met the requirement of being upside-down. All in all, it looked perfect... once I tweaked it a bit.
Smitten Kitchen's recipe included honey - I swapped in additional molasses and then added some allspice to the recipe so that it wasn't overly cinnamoney (Phil finds that cinnamon can often overpower a recipe, so I did my best to balance that out for him). I was super thrilled with the result. I even baked a second cake... I can smell it baking in my oven as I type...
Because of the gingerbread based cake I think it's perfectly suited for this time of year. I hope these pictures and this recipe inspire you as much as I was inspired by Smitten Kitchen's blog... ;0)
Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Apple Upside-Down Topping
4 tbsp butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease your cake pan with some butter. Set aside.
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once it's completely melted, add the brown sugar. Whisk the two together (nonstop) for about 4 minutes... this will create that caramel-base for the apples to rest on. Take the caramel off the heat and swirl in pinch of salt.
Pour the mixture into your greased pan, and use a spatula to spread it evenly all over the surface of the pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop any of the remaining slices and place them in any gaps you might have.
Set aside and start on the cake.
1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. molasses
1 c. buttermilk
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
In your mixer, cream together the sugar and butter on a medium-low speed, increasing the speed as it blends to create that light and fluffy result.
While that is being mixed together, whisk together the egg, molasses and buttermilk together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Combine the flour, baking soda and spices together in a separate bowl.
Once the butter has become fluffy, lower the speed and add the remaining ingredients. You want to alternate between mixing in the flour and the molasses mixtures (start with the flour); I added each mixture in 3rds, waiting for the previous one to be incorporated before adding the next one.
Pour the batter into the pan over the caramel and apples. Use your spatula to spread it evenly around the pan.
Bake for between 55 - 65 minutes (depending on your oven, I actually increase the temperature to 350 for the final 15 minutes of baking) - you'll know it's ready once a wooden tester comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen it and turn the cake out onto a platter that is larger than the cake itself (when you cut it some of the caramel will run down).
Et voilà - a gorgeous gingerbread cake that is topped with an apple caramel. Beautiful and delicious. Baking perfection!