1AM Upside Down Apple Cake

It’s begun: the problem sets, the unending work hours, overtime, and meetings (so many meetings, all during the weirdest hours because college students, man).

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Fall weather has arrived here in Connecticut, making it harder to stay indoors when the outside world is so comfy. Unfortunately, this means a little more procrastination, more blank staring out of the window, and Camille’s GPA suffering a teeny bit.

This cake was made possible by the bounty of apples on campus. These ones, I stole (err, saved) from one of the dining halls from dinner a few days ago. Oddly enough I don’t eat apples raw — I really prefer cooked fruits, with the only exception of the ripe mango.

In a fit of hunger and desperation, I wanted to make a cake. Something fresh, something soft, something to soothe my soul against the barrage of differential equations. I didn’t really want anything over indulgent — just something to cheer me up at 1AM in the morning. And perhaps something to have later that day for breakfast (teehee).

I’ve been eyeing this apple upside-down cake recipe for a while. It’s sticky and caramel-y, and holds lumps of soft apples on top (or bottom? whatever). It’s an easy cake to make: cook apples in pan make batter, top apples with batter, bake, and flip. I made this cake in my cast-iron pan (it’s been feeling neglected) but I’m sure you could use an 8-in-by-8-in pan or a 9-inch pie pan as well.

I should admit: I actually used margarine! I know, I know. I’m normally a die-hard pro-butter gal but I only had a bit of butter left and it’s expensive, and trust me, it all worked out in the end. However, feel free to use only butter if you prefer. This is one of the many woes of the college-student budget. As you may have noticed, I haven’t been so whole-wheat flour crazy in a while. The stuff costs $4 plus dollars a bag and while I’m all about getting quality food, it’s hard to justify that since it’s really a luxury in the spectrum of my budget. But alas, all-purpose does its thing so I can continue on and bake.

And no, you need not cook this at 1AM.

 

Upside Down Apple Cake

Adapted from Food.com
Makes one 9-inch diameter cake

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
6 small cooking apples, halved, stems removed, cored
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup (cow’s) milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss (or gingerly place) your cast iron skillet in the middle rack while the oven is heating up. Meanwhile cut the apples if you haven’t already and combine the dry ingredients–flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt–in a separate bowl.

When the oven has finished preheating, take out your cast iron and place the 1/3 cup portion of the butter. Swirl the pan around until the butter melts. Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter evenly. Arrange 9 apple halves around the skillet, or as many as you can fit, cut sides down. Bake in oven 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly.

Shred the remaining apple halves. In a large bowl, whisk together the shredded apple, milk, 1/4 cup butter (melted), egg, and vanilla extract. Take out the cast iron skillet once more and spoon this batter over apple halves. It’s going to look a little weird with some apples floating up and the butter also reaching the top. It’ll all bake out, no worries.

Bake 35 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen edges; invert onto platter of your choice. Serve hot, perhaps with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and a cup of coffee.

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