A Delectable Apple Valentine

Caramel Apple and Honey Upside-Down Cake

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THINGS SWEET with your honey this Valentine’s Day (or if you just have a sweet tooth), try this delicious Caramel Apple and Honey Upside-Down Cake.

It was sent to us by Avra Friedfeld of Sharon, Massachusetts, who for many years worked at WGBH-TV in Boston as an associate producer for Julia Child’s program, “The French Chef,” among others. 

The recipe, taken from Jew-ish, a cookbook by Jake Cohen, creates “a delicious cake that was perfect for Rosh Hashanah and our book group meeting!,” Avra says, who adds that it is enjoyable to make. “It is so much fun to watch the sugar ‘magically’ turn to caramel!”

She includes more apples than the original recipe, and we replaced half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for extra nutrition.

The recipe calls for Honeycrisp, but other New England varieties can be substituted. There are plenty of good, crisp locally grown apples at supermarkets and grocery stores (if you don’t see them, ask for them!), especially CortlandEmpire, and McIntosh

Many more varieties are available at orchard stores, such as BaldwinBraeburnEvercrisp, Idared, and Winesap; check our Orchard Finder to see who is open and what they have.

Laying out the apples in the lined pan

We used Mutsu (aka Crispin), a large, late-season apple ranging in color from lime green to yellow, occasionally with an orange blush. Mutsu was developed in Japan in 1930 from a Golden Delicious crossed with an Indo, a Japanese seedling. It was introduced in the United States in 1948.

Mutsu is good for fresh eating and in salads (its flesh is slow to brown), but it excels in pies and baking. It has a sweet, light flavor when cooked, and it holds its shape well. 

No matter which varieties you use or how you slice it, Caramel Apple and Honey Upside-Down Cake will warm the heart of your loved one.

Starting the caramel
Caramel forming

Coating apples with caramel
Finished cake, straight from the oven
Flipped, removing parchment paper

Caramel Apple and Honey Upside-Down Cake

This recipe is adapted from Jew-ish, a cookbook by Jake Cohen, and submitted by Avra Friedfeld of Sharon, Massachusetts, who says, “A delicious cake that was perfect for Rosh Hashanah and our book group meeting!” She also enjoying making it. “It is so much fun to watch the sugar ‘magically’ turn to caramel!”

4 Honeycrisp or other large New England apples, cored and sliced into 8 wedges each

3/4 c sugar

3 T water

16 T butter (2 sticks)

1 c honey

3/4 c buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 c packed dark brown sugar

1 t vanilla

1 c all-purpose flour

1 c whole wheat flour

2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

Whipped cream for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a high-sided 9″ cake pan or springform pan with parchment paper cut to fit, then grease with cooking spray.

Line the bottom of the prepared pan with apple wedges, arranging them in concentric circles, then ‘shingle’ any remaining slices in the center.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, shaking or stirring the pan as needed, until an amber caramel forms, 6-8 minutes. Don’t let the caramel burn! Immediately pour the caramel over the apples in an even layer.

In another medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, until browned and nutty in aroma, 6-8 minutes. Pour the melted butter into a large, heatproof bowl and let cool slightly, then whisk in honey, buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and fold until just incorporated. Pour batter over the caramel-coated apples.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a paring knife around the edge of the cake. Place a plate over the cake pan and invert them together, then lift off the pan and remove the parchment. Let the cake cool slightly, then serve warm.

Top with whipped cream and drizzle with honey, if desired.



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