Warm Apple-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

by cakeduchess on August 10, 2012 · 37 comments

I recently came across a fun baking group called Bake Along on my friend Lena’s blog. She bakes some pretty amazing sweets and I liked the recipes they’ve chosen for the next few months.

The first recipe I saw on their list was for this fabulous Warm Apple-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake from a Bon Appetit baking book. I had to bake along this month! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I just love any thing apple. And any thing upside-down! I thought maybe I shouldn’t make it and post it here since less than month ago I shared an amazing Peach Upside-Down Cake I made in Italy. After I baked it I thought, why not share it…it is a little different in the method and it’s made with apples;)

I don’t have the Bon Appetit book that their group is using, but they also provided a link to the Bon Appetit issue with a similar recipe for the cake. Lena mentions that the method is a little different in the magazine than the one featured in the book. Comparing my cake to her cake, the result looks pretty much the same.
The part I love is that you make a caramel first and then add the apple slice to the caramel to simmer and cook a little. The caramel sauce is incredible (and incredibly hot! be careful when you add your apples on top of the sauce); so incredible that you’ll want to save it to pour on top of a big bowl of vanilla ice-cream!
Check out what Lena, Joyce and Zoe baked and why don’t you join Bake Along!
We all LOVE this cake. How can you go wrong with a moist and delicate cake topped with juicy apples that have been cooked in a caramel sauce? It is my idea of baking perfection.

Warm Apple-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (for the caramel) plus 3/4 cup (for the batter) sugar
1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 4 medium), peeled, quartered, cored, each quarter cut into 2 wedges
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup boiling water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, using a pastry brush to coat sides with butter as it melts. Add 1/2 cup sugar and cook until sugar dissolves and mixture turns deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly over bottom of skillet, and cook until sugar starts to bubble and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add apple wedges and gently shake skillet to distribute caramel evenly. Cover and cook until apples release their juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover and reduce heat; cook until apples are tender and caramel thickens and coats apples, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl to blend. Place cornmeal in large bowl; pour 1/2 cup boiling water over and stir to blend. Add 5 tablespoons room temperature butter and 3/4 cup sugar to cornmeal mixture. Using electric mixer, beat until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk in 2 additions each. Carefully pour batter over apples in pan.

Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in skillet 5 minutes. Run small knife between cake and pan sides to loosen cake. Carefully invert cake onto ovenproof.

Buon Appetito! Best enjoyed warm and even better with a scoop of your favorite ice-cream!

How is the rest of your summer going? Thanks for stopping by to say hi!

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Munatycooking August 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Today I’ve posted an Upside Down cake too :) … Your cake looks delicious, I haven’t used cornmeal in cakes before, but looking at your creation I think I’ll try it out. Thanks for sharing!


kitchen flavours August 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Hi Lora, Your cake looks delicious! Yes, the recipe is a little different from the one in the book, and I can see that they are both winners! Caramel with ice cream, sounds good to me! It is great to have you baking-along with us! Please feel free to join us anytime! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts August 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

What a fun baking group. Your cake looks gorgeous. I love apples, but never would have done a cake like this. Great idea!


Barbara | Creative Culinary August 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Wondering why I’ve never thought to try apples with an upside down cake? Love caramel with apples so I’m betting this combination would evoke that flavor combo and I would love it!


Southern Girl's Kitchen August 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

This cake looks incredible! Apples and Carmel what could be better on cake. : )


Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Caramel, apple, cake? Looks like heaven to me! :)


Patty August 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Ok…this looks amazing…


Elisabeth August 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Lora, this awesome yummy upside-down apple cake disappeared so fast…I was lucky enough to get a small piece. Can’t believe how good it was; so moist not too sweet, and delicious!


Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm

This looks so good. Can I have a piece for breakfast, right now? :)


Pretend Chef August 11, 2012 at 12:41 am

This looks so delicious. I love apple desserts. Yummy!


Swathi Iyer August 11, 2012 at 2:54 am

Delicious apple cornmeal cake Lora. I haven’t made a upside down for long time.


simple baking August 11, 2012 at 3:58 am

Hi lora,
this was a really great bake! Lovely moist texture and, like you said, just the right amount of sweetness.
Your pinwheel pattern on top looks nice. Love the caramalised apples on top.


www.you-made-that.com August 11, 2012 at 5:38 am

This looks so tasty, one of my husbands favorite cakes is pineapple upside down but he loves apples so I’m thinking I should make this for him :)


eileen@hundred eighty degrees August 11, 2012 at 5:52 am

Yours look gorgeous: ) nice to have you bake along with us.


Lisa August 11, 2012 at 7:07 am

Who EVER needs caramel apples when you can have caramel upside down cake? (and not risk busting a tooth). It looks beautiful, Lora..so beautiful and delicious, I must pin it :) xo


SweetSugarBelle August 11, 2012 at 8:29 am

I’ve never had any type of cornmeal cake! I’m so curious to try this!


lena August 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

hi lora, so glad that you decided to post it. Yeah, i enjoy this cake too and if there were ice cream to go along, it would be better still. NIce bake, lora and hope you will continue to bake along with us. Cheers!


Pacheco Patty August 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I love the idea of a bake along group, I can smell the cakes coming out of the oven;-)
This cake has everything I love going for it- the apples, the cornmeal and of course, being upside down;-)


Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } August 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm

What a great idea to have a “bake along” group! This cake looks and sounds amazing. Pinning now. Happy Saturday!!


Abby August 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

this sounds SO good! It makes me think of fall, which I’m so excited for!


Baker Street August 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Love the idea of bake along and would love to join the group! This upside down cake looks fantastic!! Never tried a cornmeal version, but your delicious pictures are making me drool here!


sweetpeaskitchen.com August 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Oh this sounds soooo delicious! I love apple desserts! :)


Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings August 12, 2012 at 12:19 am

Hi, Lora! It’s so fascinating to see how one recipe can produce so many different but unique versions! Hmmmm…upside down cake or tarte tatin, i love them all!


Shulie August 12, 2012 at 3:51 am

Did I tell you before you are the queen of upsidedown cakes?! Yes, I am pretty sure I did. incredibly moist and delicious looking! I wish I was your neighbor!


Terra August 12, 2012 at 3:52 am

Upside-down cake makes me so happy!!! I am thinking cornmeal and apples would put that cake over the top, Yum!!! Hugs, Terra


Priscilla August 12, 2012 at 5:03 am

Pineapple upside down cake is a fave, so I’m loving your apple, caramel, cornmeal cake!!


Jamie August 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

Well, you know how much I love an upside down cake, any fruit cake like this. I love it with apples – JP’s favorite! Perfect again, Lora!


Bunkycooks August 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

This reminds me of fall! It won’t be too long before local apples start to appear in the Farmers’ Markets. I will bookmark this reicipe. It sounds perfect for those cooler days that will hopefully be here soon!


Brian @ A Thought For Food August 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

This looks amazing! I’ll be saving this for the fall!


Ilke August 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Sounds like a fun group and how about that cake??!! Bet a big dollop of icecream would be perfect with it.
Summer is going too fast :(


Jeanette August 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

That cake looks incredibly moist – and I like the addition of cornmeal for a little texture.


Paula August 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Gorgeous! This may just serve to quell your father’s craving for apple pie. Warm baked apples in anything is so wonderful.


Alicia August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Looks delicious and looks as if its will be another recipe that I can use during the wintertime to deal with stored apples.


Zoe August 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Hi Lora,

Nice to have you baking along with us for this bake. I’ve heard from Lena and Joyce about your blog and so I’ve participated your foccacia event. Sorry that I’ve not been active enough to participate further and will try to keep up more in the future :D



joy mcelroy August 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

You had me at 10″ cast iron skillet! LOVE baking in my skillet…and something this yummy? YAY! :)


Jenny @ BAKE August 16, 2012 at 11:58 am

your cake looks wonderful! apple and caramel is just incredible together


Chef Mireille August 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I made your peach cake – http://gourmetglobal.blogspot.com/2012/07/peach-upside-down-polenta-cake.html – I am sure this one is just as yummy


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