Monday, October 19, 2009

Apple Upside-Down Cake

My family very much liked this cake. They oohed and ahhed over the delicate texture and caramelized apples. I was a bit impressed myself. I shouldn't have been. Rose makes it possible for the most amateur of bakers to bake successfully.

When Rose's book arrived, I cracked it open only to land on her beautiful Raspberry Chocolate Trifle. It took a great deal of willpower to tear myself away from imagining the Christmas holidays with this trifle as the star of the show, get down to reading the Apple Upside-Down Cake recipe and start assembling ingredients.

The new shipment of Honey Crisp apples I bought at Trader Joes were extremely small. This made slicing difficult and laying them in an attractive pattern a bit harder than it should have been. That was Lesson one. Lesson two was thinking I was ever so clever for putting back the Trader Joe's brand of butter and grabbing Kerrygold. Once home, I noticed it might be considered high fat content butter as it is one gram higher in fat than AA butters. Googling butterfat I learned more about butterfat to water ratio than anyone has a right to. Lesson three was comparing the new bag of brown sugar with the half bag of light brown sugar in the cupboard. It was soft so I chucked the new bag in favor of the old.

Ready to forge ahead, I cleared the counters and laid out the ingredients like America's Test Kitchen, and we began, my little granddaughter and I. She thoroughly enjoyed tracing a circle around the pan on the parchmant, wasn't too keen smearing on the greasy shortening but loved pressing the paper inside. Soaking the cake strip in water and squeezing out the excess water proved loads of fun and wrapping it around the pan just plain funny. I peeled the apples and helped her slice. Letting her pack the light brown sugar into the measuring cup was probably the most fun. I did notice a great deal of apple slices began disappearing but honestly, who isn't happy when a child eats fresh apples?

I never before roasted walnuts, or any other nut for that matter. Deathly afraid they would burn I watched them like a hawk, not knowing what I was watching for. A faint toasty aroma emerged and I yanked them out.

Carmelizing the sugar didn't cause me as much anxiety as spilling too much melted butter in the cake pan to grease the bottom and sides. The carmelized sugar sort of swam around when poured in. I didn't know if it was the amount or the ratio of butterfat to water in the Kerrygold. We laid apple slices in the sugar and once again, I noticed more apples disappearing. Evidently apples marinated in lemon juice and brown sugar make them more enticing. Finally, filled in enough,I gave her the rest. And that's where I lost my little side kick. She took off with those apples and got out of Dodge.

The batter was mesmerizing; watching the color and consistency change before my eyes. Plopping it over the apples I felt really confident, over the moon and itching to Twitter (if I knew how) or email, someone, anyone that the cake was in the oven, until I spied a bowl of egg whites.

Panicked, I re-read the recipe, searched for the overlooked step and then realized not every cake has egg whites. If they were supposed to be in there, I am sticking by my story they didn't belong, having promtly thrown them down the sink like a criminal destroying evidence.

The most wonderful aroma began to waft round the kitchen. Hope sprang eternal! I set the timer for a few minutes shorter than indicated as my cake pan was dark. The real moment of truth arrived and I flipped it upside down only to realize I forgot to run a knife around the inside edge. Gently giving the pan a lift to see how stuck it was, the entire thing slid off.

I called my granddaughter to do the honor of carefully removing the parchment. It came off easily and again I credit the butter faux pas. Her amazed expression was priceless. Not a fan of hard liquor I none the less poured the bourbon into the heavy cream and then made a plain batch for the kids.

The sounds of approval echoed down the hall into the kitchen. I cut myself a slice and dabbed on the bourbon laced cream. It set it off perfectly which completely surprised me. The best part? It's even better today!

Picture courtesy of granddaughter who wanted to take the picture rather than be in the picture.

The red apple is the Honey Crisp used and the green, from a bucket full gathered from trees at the stable which I almost used. They were considerably smaller than the Honey Crisps.


  1. So glad your first cake from Rose's book was such a success. Such a gift of love to cook with your granddaughter - those memories will be very precious.

  2. Good story--and it sounds like both you and your granddaughter had fun, which is the most important thing. Well, maybe the apple cake is the most important thing, but you got both!

  3. You write beautifully!! I enjoyed reading about your experiences with this cake. I loved it too, hubby and I are still enjoying it.

  4. I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the part about the egg whites on your counter after the cake was in the oven. I'm you and your family enjoyed the cake. Will you be posting pictures on your blog too?