Apple Upside Down Cake

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For me, every day is Mother’s Day.  I love my Mamma more than anyone or anything and I let her know it as often as I can.  I mean, the woman has been putting up with my cranky pants attitude since the day I was born.  That deserves some serious recognition, and a fair few apologies from me 😉

It’s been a long time since I’ve baked the cakes I used to bake years ago.  Lots of family favourites that have long since stopped appearing on our table.  This is the double-edged sword of baking such a wide variety of things.  As you continue to create, the time you spend on the recipes of the past tends to diminish.  But now and then, it’s good to do a swift turnaround and whip up something that is both comforting and loved.

My mother loves this old upside down apple cake.  We used to make it often years ago but somehow it became a casualty of my baking agenda and growing repertoire.  I asked her this week what she’d most like for me to attempt with my recalcitrant oven, in the event that I might actually be able to outsmart its wild temperature variations.  Apple Upside Down Cake was her request.

As you can see, I won this round with the oven, and I think I gained an advantage over it for the time being.  But best of all, my Mamma has been a happy camper these few days, with some real comfort food to put a smile on her face.  I also felt great doing some simple baking after a week or two of long days and nights spent making chocolates (check them out on Instagram!).

It’s a very simple cake, with a lovely tender crumb and a beautiful, fragrant topping of golden delicious apples all caramelised with raw sugar and cinnamon.  It is so good just as it is with a cup of tea or coffee.  Even better with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.

I’m still planning a little something with pears and passionfruit for Mother’s Day but haven’t quite decided what I will make!  It will be as much a surprise for me as for her, I imagine 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mammas out there.

Remember to show your mum how much you love her every day ♥

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Apple Upside Down Cake

Yield: 1 x 16cm cake / Serves 6-8

This cake is simple and an old family favourite of ours. I used to make it with butter originally, but adapted it to use macadamia or olive oil as this makes for a much more tender crumb and lighter cake. How much apple you use on top depends on how thickly you slice your apple. I tend to err on the side of about a few millimetres of thickness on the outside as it is otherwise difficult to overlap the slices on the base. Use your favourite apples but I do recommend golden delicious, both for its beautiful flavour and because it holds its shape so well when cooked. It is a petite cake, perfect for afternoon tea. I’ve included some variations in the notes below, based on what I occasionally do with it, just to mix it up.


20 grams raw sugar (or brown sugar)

2 grams ground cinnamon

115 – 120 grams golden delicious apple, sliced

175 grams unbleached plain flour

10 grams baking powder

2 grams whole vanilla bean powder (or seeds of 1 vanilla bean)

104 grams whole egg

100 grams sugar

125 grams whole milk

60 grams macadamia or olive oil


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Line the base and sides of a 16cm cake tin with silicone baking paper.

Mix together the raw sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the base of the cake tin.

Place the apple slices in the tin, fanning them around the outside, overlapping slightly.

Fill the centre with smaller pieces and any gaps with little off cuts. You want the whole base covered evenly. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and vanilla powder and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light.

Add half the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Add the milk and oil and beat again.

Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter over the apples in the tin and tap the tin on a bench lightly to make sure the batter is level.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until the cake is risen and golden.

It is cooked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean with only a crumb or two attached.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool before carefully turning out on to a serving plate.

Take care in removing the baking paper from the top of the cake as you do not want to disturb the lovely caramelised sugar and apple.

Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, ice cream, or on its own with a cup of tea or espresso.

Keeps for several days, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.


Some substitutions I’ve used that still allow this cake to be wonderful!

1. Substitute almond milk for the whole milk for a dairy free version. It’s lovely.

2. Omit the vanilla and add the finely grated zest of a medium sized lemon.

3. Reduce the sugar by substituting Natvia or another granulated stevia blend for the sugar in the cake batter (but not for the topping).

4. Substitute 60 grams of whole oat flour for the equivalent amount of white wheat flour OR replace all the white flour with wholewheat or spelt flour for a slightly higher fibre version. It is also a little more rustic. A bit different but still delicious.

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