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Apple Upside Down Cake

This may not be your typical Apple Upside Down Cake, but it is the best one you will ever try. This delicious dessert consists of a custard-type cake topped with a thick layer of jammy baked apples, followed with a delicious sour cream sauce. It’s fantastic!

If you are in the mood to bake even more with apples after you make this apple upside down cake, you’ve got to try some of my other favorite apple desserts. Try this quick apple cake, this beautiful apple rhubarb meringue Russian pie, and this amazing apple and pear tart.

Apple upside down cake on a white cake platter

Apple Cake Recipe

My friend Zhanna has been bringing this incredible apple cake recipe to potlucks. Every single time I have tried it, I told myself that I had to ask for the recipe and share it with you guys. The flavors and the balance within this apple cake recipe are incredible—you just can’t get enough of it.

I’ve tried to think through how I can possibly describe this apple cake recipe to you. When you’re eating it, you’re always unsure of what the cake part is made of. It tastes a little bit like cheesecake (even though it isn’t), a little bit like custard (even though it isn’t), and a little bit like cake.

However you’d describe it, there’s one overarching phrase to use for this apple cake recipe: DELICIOUS! 🙂

A slice of apple cake recipe with fresh cream

Sour Cream Apple Cake

One of the tastiest parts of this cake is the addition of sour cream into the cake batter. This sour cream apple cake has all the tart, moist flavor from the sour cream, coupled with the sweet apples. I asked Zhanna how she developed something as brilliant as this sour cream apple cake, and she said it was all thanks to her mother in law.

Zhanna’s husband grew up eating something like this a kid, and while they sadly no longer have his mom to ask for the recipe, Zhanna continued to tweak the recipe until he said that it was perfect. His mom must have been an incredible baker! You’ll have to try this sour cream apple cake for yourself to see what I’m talking about.

A slice of sour cream apple cake with fresh cream on a plate with the remainder of the sour cream apple cake in the background.

How to make the Apple Upside Down Cake Recipe:

  1. Start the apple upside down cake recipe by preheating the oven. Then, cut the apples in half and core them.
  2. Arrange the apples in a deep parchment paper-lined baking pan sideways, fitting as many as you can.
  3. Dissolve sugar in hot water, stir in vanilla emulsion or extract then pour over the apples. Bake at 400F for about an hour and 20 minutes or until the apples are soft and tender. Tent with foil if they start to burn.
  4. Start making the cake batter an hour into the apple’s bake time. Make the Upside Down cake batter by whipping the eggs and sugar for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, work on the other components. 
  5. Whisk the softened butter, vanilla, and sour cream together until smooth. In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder together.
  6. Once the eggs are whipped, carefully fold the sour cream mixture in, followed by the flour until everything is well combined.
  7. Remove the apples from the oven and press the apples into an even layer with a  spatula. Pour the batter on top and bake in a 350F oven until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about an hour.
  8. Remove the apple upside down cake recipe the oven and allow it to cool to room temp. Invert onto a platter and refrigerate until cold. Cut and serve with sweetened sour cream.

Slice of a prepared apple upside down cake recipe on a plate with the remainder of the cake in the background.

Tips for success With the Apple Upside Down Cake:

  • Start this cake ahead of time as it has a 2.5 hour bake time and several hours of chill time.
  • Do not use a springform or the apple syrup will leak and burn.
  • Use parchment paper to line a deep mold for easy removal of the cake.
  • Use a firm type of apples like Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Granny Smith, Pink Lady or use Gala, as I did.
  • Do not peel apples for the best presentation. The peel keeps the syrup from being absorbed into the apple as the Apple Upside Down Cake is inverted, which keeps the top shiny and aesthetically beautiful.
  • Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature or it will not incorporate with the sour cream well. 

A slice of apple upside down cake on a plate.

Want to Try More Cake Recipes?

Upside Down Apple Cake

5 from 2 votes

This is the best Apple Upside Down Cake you will ever try. This delicious dessert consists of a custard-type cake topped with a thick layer of jammy baked apples, followed with a delicious sour cream sauce. It's fantastic!

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: upside down apple cake, upside down cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 8-9 medium apples, cored, not peeled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water, hot

Custard Cake Batter

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 420F with the rack in the middle. Prepare a 9"x3" round baking pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper if you have it available, otherwise skip.

Bake the Apples

  1. Apples: Wash 8 or 9 apples, then cut in half and remove the core and stems. Place the halved apples into the prepared baking pan and arrange them "standing up" fitting as many of them possible. <br></br>

    Syrup: Then, stir ⅔ cups sugar, ½ cup hot water, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract until the sugar granules are dissolved. Pour the syrup over the apples and place in the oven. Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until the apples are soft and baked through. If the tops start to burn before the apples are ready, place a flat piece of foil over the top of the baking pan.

Make the Upside Down Custard Cake Batter

  1. About 30-35 minutes into baking start working on the rest of the preparation.



    Whip: Add 4 eggs and 1 ½ cups sugar to a bowl of a mixer and whip for about 7-9 minutes or until pale in color and very fluffy.

  2. Whisk & combine: In a medium-sized bowl whisk together 2 sticks softened butter and 1.5 cups sour cream until smooth. Then, add this mixture into whipped eggs and fold until smooth.

  3. Add flour: Sift the 1/2 cup flour and 1 tsp of baking powder into the mixture and carefully fold it in.

Combine Baked Apples & Custard Batter

  1. Remove from oven: By now the apples should be baked through and softened. Turn the heat down to 350F° & carefully remove the baking pan from the oven. With a spoon or an offset spatula lightly press the apples down into an even layer.

  2. Pour: Then, pour the batter over the apples and swirl the pan side to side several times to redistribute the batter in the pan evenly. The pan might be pretty full, but that's ok, the mixture doesn't rise much in the oven.

Bake

  1. Bake: Bake at 350F° for about 55 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or a skewer down the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Losen the sides of the cake from the pan by running a thin knife around the edges of the cake and allow to cool completely before inverting the cake on a serving platter.

  2. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours, then serve by cutting into slices.

Recipe Notes

Tips for success:

  • Start this cake ahead of time as it has a  2.5 hour bake time and several hours of chill time.
  • Do not use a springform or the apple syrup will leak and burn.
  • Use parchment paper to line a deep mold for easy removal of the cake.
  • Use firm type of apples like Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Granny Smith, Pink Lady or use Gala, like I did.
  • Do not peel apples for best presentation. The peel keeps the syrup from being absorbed into the apple as the Apple Upside Down Cake is inverted, which keeps the top shiny and aesthetically beautiful.
  • Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature or it will not incorporate with the sour cream well. 

Bon Appetit & Happy Pinning

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Did I miss the recipe for the sour cream sauce?

    · Reply
    • There’s really not much to it, so I didn’t include the instructions, but I guess it would be a good idea to add its

      While I’m working on that, here’s how you make it.

      Combine 1 cup sour cream and 2 tbsp of sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved.

      That’s it!

      Enjoy!

      · Reply
  • Hi, if this is truly a Romanian recipe (the ingredients point to it), then the measurements should be in metric.
    Is there any way you could include a metric conversion button that automatically calculates the metric measurements? That would be so helpful.
    I am sure you have a lot of readers worldwide who only use metric, not US cups.

    · Reply

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