Monday, November 14, 2011

apple-cardamom upside down cake

A year ago, I wouldn't have recognized the flavor of cardamom. I had unknowingly tasted it before in Indian dishes and maybe a Scandinavian-influenced sweet or two, but I certainly would not have been able to pin it down. It's slightly floral (but not in a potpourri kind of way), earthy, with a little bit of black peppery kick. In this recipe it's combined with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, so you're not smacked in the face with cardamom flavor. Thus, it's a good introduction to the spice if you're not sure you'd like it on its own.

A few notes on potential adjustments to the recipe:  next time, I think I'll up the whole-wheat/oat flour ratio to half of the flour (3/4 c white, 3/4 c whole grain). I might even add some whole oats; the substantial amount of spices in the cake can support a heartier texture. Also, you could reduce the sugar a bit, to maybe a cup or so, since the caramelized top already bring the sweetness factor up a notch. A few spoonfuls of honey in place of some of the sugar would be nice as well. Oh, and maybe some toasted walnuts or pecans on the bottom with the apples! (This is the first time I made this, so bear with me.)

In short, you could do a lot with this recipe to make it totally yours. I think it's pretty forgiving, considering I accidentally used baking soda instead of baking powder and then just added some cream of tartar to make up for it, and it still tasted great.

apple-cardamom upside down cake
adapted from the kitchn 
12 servings
per serving:  285.5 cal, 8.4g fat, 54.9g carb, 1.8g fiber, 2.9g protein, 8+ weight watchers

8 tbsp salted butter, divided
1/2 c dark brown sugar
3 medium apples
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat or oat flour (or a combination)
1 tsp cinnamon, plus extra to sprinkle over apples
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 6 tbsp of the butter in a small saucepan and add the brown sugar. Let bubble for a couple of minutes, then pour into 12 x 8" pan (13x9" would probably be fine, too; your cake will just be a little thin). Keep the saucepan out; you'll use it again.

Peel, core, and slice the apples, and lay them flat over the butter-brown sugar mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, spices, salt, and baking powder. Warm milk and remaining butter in saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Meanwhile, beat the eggs until they are thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar and beat 5 minutes more. Add flour mixture and milk, and stir until the batter is smooth. Pour batter into pan.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto serving platter. If having for dessert, serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

uh-oh, this piece fell apart. guess I have to eat it!


  1. Oooo!! I have been wanting to make some sort of pineapple or apple upside cake lately. Maybe I'll try out this recipe :)

  2. It's a good one! If you go straight to the Kitchn's link, their recipe makes a smaller cake (9" round).