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Apple Upside Down Cake

Apple Upside Down Cake
Apple Upside Down CakeNathan Congleton / TODAY
One 9-inch cake

Chef notes

Skip the pineapples and make New Orleans chef Alon Shaya's amazing apple upside down cake instead. With layers of apples, caramel, fluffy cake and a honey ginger glaze, it's the sweet dessert you'll crave all fall and winter long.


  • Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 medium sized apples (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or other firm apple)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
  • 1 teaspoon baharat or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Cake Batter
  • 3 eggs
  • cups sugar
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baharat or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Honey Ginger Glaze (Makes 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 3-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


For the apples:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch cake pan or 9-inch cast iron skillet with vegetable cooking spray.

Peel apples, core, and slice into 8 even wedges. Once all apples are cut, cut each 8th in half lengthwise leaving you with a total of 48 apple slices.

Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the greased pan. Arrange apple slices, on their sides, tightly following the curve of the pan. You should have two rings of apples and can arrange the center circle in any desired pattern. Set aside.

For the caramel:

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and vanilla beans and stir until well combined. Place a medium size saucepan over medium heat and continuously stir the sugar until dissolved and turns to a light amber caramel. Remove the pan from heat, and carefully stir in the baharat, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Stir until all ingredients are dissolved. Pour caramel evenly over the arranged apples in the pan. Set aside.

For the cake batter:

Add eggs to a mixing bowl and beat on high. Slowly add in sugar and continue to beat for 8 minutes until the egg mixture falls of the beaters into the bowl like a ribbon.

While eggs are beating, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baharat. Set aside.

Lower the mixer to low and slowly drizzle in the vanilla extract, orange juice and olive oil. The batter may look broken. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until well combined. Scrape the bowl and fold to make sure all ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth.

Carefully spoon batter on top of apples and caramel. With a rubber spatula, spread batter evenly over entire pan.

Place pan on top of a cookie sheet, to catch any caramel that may bubble over during baking. Place in oven and let cook for 30 minutes. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, insert 3/4 of the way into the cake and check to see if it comes out clean. If there is batter sticking to the skewer, continue to cook checking every 5 minutes until completely cooked and the wooden skewer comes out dry.

Remove cake from oven and let cool 10 to 15 minutes. When slightly cooled, release edges of the cake carefully with a small paring knife or offset spatula. Place serving platter on top of pan and flip over. Carefully release pan from cake. Brush on honey ginger glaze.

For the honey ginger glaze:

Add all ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat gently and stir for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and with a brush generously glaze the top and sides of the cake.