BAKING cakes and sweet bakes

Upside Down Caramel Apple Cake

January 16, 2012

Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

Whenever I spot an apple recipe in a book, it gets bookmarked. Especially lately. I’ve been consuming apple desserts as if they’re the only kind available: apple tart, apple strudel, green apple sorbet, apple cake, apple bread. Anything at all made with apple is picked up without a second thought.

I’d bookmarked this recipe in Falling Cloudberries (one of my favourite cookbooks!) a while ago and I finally got around to making the cake a few weeks ago for the first time when we had friends over for dinner. I thought it was a bit much for 4 people, but it got over sooner than I imagined. I made it again, because I just had to share the recipe with you.

Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

It’s an incredibly simple recipe: You cut up the apples and lay them in the baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and pour over the cake batter and pop it into the oven. One thing to be sure of is to always cut the apples much larger than you think is necessary. They cook down quite a bit, so it’s important that by the end of baking the apple chunks are substantial (I used small golden apples so I quartered them). As per the book, this isn’t meant to be an upside down cake, but I did just that so that the apples could be doused in caramel sauce. Now, about the sauce: if you’d like the sauce to seep through the cake and flavour it, pour it when the cake is still warm. If you want the caramel sauce only to sit on the apples, then wait for the sauce and cake to cool completely.

Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

Caramel Apple Cake

Yield: 9-10 servings
Adapted from: Falling Cloudberries (USA | UK | India)

3-4 apples (I used 7 small Golden apples), peeled and cut lengthwise
1 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
7 tbsp / 100g butter, softened
1 cup / 200g sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 2/3 cup / 200g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup / 80ml milk

Topping: Caramel Sauce

A 9 inch square pan or a 10” springform cake pan.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Grease and flour the baking pan.
  2. Arrange the apples into the pan so that they sit tightly. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  3. In a bowl, using a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla, followed by the egg. Mixing them in one at a time, until the mixture is soft and fluffy.
  4. Whisk together the flour and baking powder and fold it into the egg and butter mixture. Finally, stir in the milk until it forms a consistent batter.
  5. Pour the cake batter over the apples and smooth out the surface.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool down for ten minutes. First, run a knife along the edges of the cake and then place a plate on the pan and turn the cake over. Tap it gently, and the cake will fall into the plate.
  8. Now, depending on how you’d like the cake (read above) spoon the caramel sauce over it.

What’s your current favourite apple dessert? Perhaps you have an apple dessert to share with me, one that I absolutely must try?


  • Reply Regula @ foodwise January 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    I am an apple lover too, apple recipes are always bookmarked!
    It’s such a versatile and delicious fruit!
    My favourite is apple in combo with cheese, yum!
    This looks delcicous, love the pictures :)

  • Reply Priya January 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Wat a super tempting and gorgeous cake..

  • Reply Anu January 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    I’m a huge Purplefoodie fan..! Love your desserts so very much.
    I’m more an eater than a cook, but I am definitely going to try this recipe out ASAP… The apples, cinnamon, caramel and cake make me drool as I type..!

  • Reply Archana January 16, 2012 at 3:34 PM


    Awesome..emme knw do we line the baking sheet?

    • Reply hi February 18, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      what kind of flour? SELF RAISING?

  • Reply sneha January 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    there’s a Raymond Blanc Kitchen Secrets episode with apples
    He makes apples sound so romantic, I have been wanting to try all the recipes.
    The episode is available on youtube considering there are no pictures with the recipes on the bbc site

    • Reply madhushrree January 18, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      thanks for the youtube link. was great

  • Reply ASHLEA January 16, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    It doesn’t get much better than the combination of apples and caramel. Yum! This looks delicious.

  • Reply gourmelia January 16, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    mmm looks so delicious… It’s true, something is going on with apples lately and they keep comming in mind with all sorts of recipes! Can’t tell why ;) ​​

  • Reply IM January 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    Apple Shortbread! I’ve made this recipe twice and absolutely love it. I halved it and used an 8×8 square pan because it makes a lot but they are absolutely delicious.

  • Reply Apu January 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Sounds delicious. Been reading purplefoodie intermittently for a long time, but never commented. Love your recipes – please keep writing!

  • Reply The Flavor Carousel January 17, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    i love Dorie Greenspan’s Cran Apple Crisp! Its from her Baking from my home to yours cookbook.

  • Reply Anita Menon January 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Gorgeous recipe. It looks fabulous. Bookmarking this.

  • Reply Neeta January 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Can this recipe be made without caramel sauce? will it taste good? People in my family are calorie conscious.That’s why

    • Reply The Purple Foodie January 17, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Yes it can! in that case make sure to toss the apples with a little more sugar for it to caramelise beautifully.

  • Reply Cooking Lady January 17, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    This looks great and I love caramel.

  • Reply Rachel @ Bakerita January 17, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Yum, looks like it would definitely be a favorite over here. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply Meenakshi January 18, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Oh this looks so inviting! The recipe is also uncomplicated. I am going to try it. I love apple strudel, and I recently made a no-bake apple crumble with Britannia digestive biscuits and your caramel sauce recipe!! It was very good indeed.

  • Reply Namrata January 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    This looks perfect and tempting! I have tried your recipe of apple crumble and its become a favorite of my family and friends!!!! Also my caramel sauce turned out perfectly well, thanks to you!! :-)
    I am a pure vegetarian, so can I make caramel apple cake egg-less? What should I replace eggs with? Plz. suggest

  • Reply Marijke January 23, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    I’ve made a similar recipe the other day (vanilla cake with blood plums, where the plums sink in the batter when the cake rises) but instead of using milk it uses yoghurt. Ever since I started to make my own yoghurt (thick Greek style) I use in everything, it does something very nice with the texture and gives it a nice extra bit of taste.

  • Reply craig January 24, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Hi Shaheen,
    ive been following ur blog for a while now and we are off to rome for 2 weeks! what are the best places for gelato that u ate at on ur food trail? any other recommendations in general for authentic italian food? Thanks!

  • Reply Suzie January 24, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    Delicious!! I made this for a little casual dinner party with friends and it was a hit. Also good the next morning with coffee! I couldn’t find in your recipe when to add the milk and vanilla, so I just added it in after the eggs. Thanks for posting!

  • Reply Shilpa January 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Hi Shaheen,

    Just wondering did you use the entire caramel sauce recipe one one cake? If not, how much did you pour over? Thanks!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie January 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      Half the recipe should be fine for the cake. If you want to be a bit more generous then make a little more.

  • Reply David January 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Stunning food photography. I’m feeling hungry now! lol

  • Reply Elva @ gluten free flour January 25, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Great work! For me it’s something new! I am eager to develop it. I have bookmarked your sharing for further reference. Looking forward more from you.

  • Reply meg January 28, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    I’m allergic to raw apples, so when I see a cooked apple recipe I take notice. Ahh, apples and caramel, no better union! A must try.

  • Reply Foodburys January 30, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Wish we could eat by eyes :) This is definitely something i would go for…

  • Reply Megha February 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Dear Shaheen,

    I did try this and it turned out yummy however the middle part was not completely cooked but the sides has been…can you tell me the reason why?? also when i turned out the cake it stuck to the pan at various places…i guess cas it was still wet at places….especially whever the cake pieces were there the cake mixture beneath was still raw…should i cook for longer time…do i reduce the temp to ensure complete cooking and not just the sides…awaiting your reply…
    Additionally can i use our Indian apples…kinnaur

  • Reply Snigdha Jain February 8, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Hi Shaheen,

    Your website and recipes are amazing. We do not eat eggs in cakes hence cant try majority of the recipes. But can you advice on possible substitutes.


  • Reply avanti March 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Can I use Dulce de Leche instead of Caramel Sauce?

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  • Reply shyne April 17, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    great Apple Cake

  • Reply ProductPhotography September 14, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I once tasted an apple cake and I can say that it truly is delicious. Now I have a chance to make one using this recipe.

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  • Reply Aakanksha August 3, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Hey!! Plz can u tell me wat to substitute for d eggs if i want it to b n eggless cake???

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  • Reply Veronica from mithibai December 18, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    I love classic apple pie . .
    Even my mcdonalds apple

    • Reply Shaheen December 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      Veronicaaaa! So good to hear from you after all these years. I like how you’ve put your name as Veronica from mithibai :)

  • Reply K January 26, 2016 at 10:06 PM

    Hey Shaheen
    I tried this cake…though i would prefer it less sweet the next time the taste was spot-on.
    You mention that the book doesn’t say ‘upside down cake’….so am wondering does the original recipe ask you to mix the apple pieces in the batter? I would like to try it that way because I don’t find the cake pretty enough when turned :(. Also I used a non-stick pan….so is that the reason I didn’t any caramelization? Or is there no caramelization of apples?

    • Reply Shaheen January 26, 2016 at 10:20 PM

      There is no caramelisation of apples. The only caramel is the sauce that it’s served with. If you want the apples to caramelise, you need to do that separately before adding the cake batter to bake.

      • Reply K January 26, 2016 at 10:27 PM

        You think mixing apples in the batter won’t be a bad idea?

  • Reply K January 26, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    Also don’t you think the batter is like *just* enough to cover the apple layer…i wish i had little more. An 8 inch pan should work?

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