Best Ever - America's Test Kitchen's Upside-Down Apple Cake

Prep Time
Cook Time
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Recipe: #10719

October 12, 2013

"Delicious! The recipe calls for light brown sugar-I made this with dark brown sugar and the cake came out just fine. I didn't use the cornmeal and ATK says its optional. I used a mixer also."

Original is 6 servings
  • CAKE


  • Serving Size: 1 (216.3 g)
  • Calories 564.9
  • Total Fat - 24 g
  • Saturated Fat - 14.5 g
  • Cholesterol - 127 mg
  • Sodium - 298.3 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 83.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 1.6 g
  • Sugars - 63.3 g
  • Protein - 6.3 g
  • Calcium - 107.3 mg
  • Iron - 0.8 mg
  • Vitamin C - 3.8 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.1 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350F, adjust the rack to the lowest position. Butter a 9" round, 2+" deep non-stick cake pan-set aside.

Step 2

Make the topping-

Step 3

Halve the apples from pole to pole. Cut 2 apples into 1/4" slices and set aside.

Step 4

Cut remaining 2 apples into 1/2" slices.

Step 5

Heat the 4 Tb of butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat-when foaming subsides, add the 1/2" apples slices and cook, stirring 2 or 3x, until the apples begin to caramelize, 4-6 minutes ( do not fully cook apples).

Step 6

Add the 1/4" apple slices, brown sugar and lemon juice-continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the apples are coated, about 1 minute.

Step 7

Transfer the apple mixture to the prepared pan and lightly press into an even layer.

Step 8

Make the cake-

Step 9

Whisk flour, cornmeal ( if using), baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl-set aside.

Step 10

Whisk white sugar, brown sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until thick and homogeneous. Slowly whisk in butter until it combines. Add sour cream and vanilla-whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Step 11

Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly over the fruit.

Step 12

Bake, on the lowest oven shelf, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean-35-40 minutes.

Step 13

Cool pan on wire rack for 20 minutes then run a knife around the edge to loosen-place the wire rack over the cake pan-holding the rack tightly , invert cake pan and wire rack together to lift the cake off pan-place wire rack over a baking sheet to catch drips. Let the cake cool 20 minutes or more then transfer to a serving platter.


No special items needed.

Editorial Notes

The ingredient tips, suggestions, variations, facts, questions and answers below are not edits to the original author's recipe. They are not meant to imply any change would improve the recipe. They're offered for convenience, alternative ideas, and points of interest. If you have any comments about them, please post in the Help & Ideas forum.

  • Make sure to use unsalted butter for the topping and the cake.
  • If you choose to use cornmeal, make sure it is unbleached all-purpose flour.

  • Substitute dark brown sugar for light brown sugar - Dark brown sugar has a more intense flavor than light brown sugar, which will add a deeper, richer flavor to the cake.
  • Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream - Plain yogurt is a healthier alternative to sour cream and will still provide the same texture and flavor to the cake.

Cranberry-Pear Upside-Down Cake Substitute 4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2" slices, for the apples and 1/2 cup dried cranberries for the lemon juice. Increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup and add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the topping. Reduce the sour cream to 1/4 cup.

Apple-Walnut Upside-Down Cake Substitute 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2" slices, for the pears and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts for the cranberries. Increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup and add 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the topping. Reduce the sour cream to 1/4 cup.

RECOMMENDED DISH: Roasted Acorn Squash with Honey and Cinnamon - This dish is a great accompaniment to the Upside-Down Apple Cake as it adds a touch of sweetness and warmth to the meal. The honey and cinnamon bring out the sweetness of the apples in the cake, while the roasted acorn squash provides a nice balance of flavors. Plus, it's a healthy side dish that will make your meal complete.

RECOMMENDED DISH: Baked Apples with Walnuts and Raisins - This dish is the perfect complement to the Upside-Down Apple Cake. The sweet and tart flavors of the apples pair perfectly with the walnuts and raisins, creating a delicious balance. The apples are baked until they are tender and juicy, and the walnuts and raisins add a nice crunch. Plus, it's a healthy and easy side dish that will make your meal complete.


Q: How long should I bake the cake for?

A: Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Q: What type of pan should I use?

A: Use an 8-inch round cake pan for this recipe. Grease it with butter or cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

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Fun facts:

Fun Fact 1:The Granny Smith apple, which is used in this recipe, was discovered by Maria Ann Smith in Australia in 1868. She named it after her husband, Thomas Smith, and it is now one of the most popular apples in the world.

Fun Fact 2:This Upside-Down Apple Cake recipe is based on the classic French dessert, Tarte Tatin. It was created in the 1880s by the Tatin sisters of France, who ran a small hotel and restaurant in the Loire Valley.