Make Ahead

Upside-Down Apple Cake with Walnut and Sage

January  6, 2012
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

This is what popped into my head when the contest was announced. Unfortunately I'm not a cake girl. Enter Shirley Corriher's CookWise (a well timed Christmas present). After three tries, some very wise caramel advice from hardlikearmour (thank you, friend!!), I think I've created my first cake. —gingerroot

What You'll Need
  • For Apple, Walnut, Sage & Caramel
  • 1 crisp, sweet, slightly tart apple, such as a Braeburn
  • 5 tablespoons walnuts
  • 5 sage leaves, washed and dried (approx. 2 inch)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • unsalted butter for greasing the pan
  • For the Cake
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round and butter the top of the paper.
  2. Halve and core the apple. Cut apple into 1/4 inch slices, as uniform as possible. Lay apple slices in your prepared pan, slightly overlapping. Arrange last pieces as desired in center.
  3. In a mini-prep processor, pulse 2 T of walnuts and sage leaves until walnuts are a mixture of fine pieces with chunks, and the sage is finely chopped. Add remaining walnuts and pulse a few more times. You want the walnuts to be varied in texture. Spoon walnut sage mixture over apples.
  4. Make caramel by putting water and squeeze of lemon (1/4 t) into saucepan. Mound sugar in the middle. Cover and bring mixture to a boil, swirling pan occasionally. Once sugar dissolves, mixture will bubble vigorously. After about 10 minutes, mixture should be fragrant and amber. Remove from heat and whisk in salted butter, 1 T at a time (be careful, mixture will be bubbling!). Carefully pour caramel over prepared apples. Allow to cool.
  5. In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk cake flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  6. Combine milk, crème fraiche and vanilla in a small bowl (I used my one cup measure). Set aside.
  7. Using a hand mixer, cream butter for 3 minutes, scraping down sides with spatula as necessary. Add sugar all at once and continue to mix and scrape, for another 3 minutes. Add whole eggs, one at a time, mixing in between. Continue to mix and scrape for another minute.
  8. Alternating between the flour mixture and the milk mixture, add to batter in three additions, mixing on low after each. Be careful to only mix until blended - do not over mix.
  9. With clean beaters, whip egg white until you have soft peaks. Fold into batter in two additions. Pour batter into cake pan, smoothing evenly with a spatula. Bake until fragrant, golden brown and when poked with a tester it comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  10. Allow cake to cool before inverting onto a serving plate. Enjoy!
  11. Note: Cake may be made one day ahead and stored in an airtight container.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Elizabeth
  • lapadia
  • Midge
  • mrslarkin
  • hardlikearmour

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

12 Reviews

Elizabeth May 31, 2016
absolutely fantastic. great crumb, very moist. I am not in a part of the world where creme fraiche is readily available so I subbed thick plain yogurt instead. Lovely recipe!
lapadia May 6, 2014
Delicious, how did I miss this?
gingerroot May 8, 2014
Thanks so much, Linda!
Midge January 12, 2012
Yum, this sounds delicious gingerroot.
gingerroot January 13, 2012
Thanks, Midge! Belated Happy New Year wishes!
mrslarkin January 6, 2012
I would love a slice of this right now with my morning coffee!!
gingerroot January 6, 2012
Thanks, mrslarkin! I'll trade you a slice for one of your martinis!
hardlikearmour January 6, 2012
This sounds scrumptious! Glad you were able to get it to your liking.
gingerroot January 6, 2012
Thank you, hardlikearmour! Your advice was spot on, you are definitely the Queen of caramel!
Fairmount_market January 6, 2012
I love how your vision became a reality with some good advice and experimentation along the way. This sounds delicious.
gingerroot January 6, 2012
Thanks, Fairmount_market! I was determined to make it come out the way I wanted.
gingerroot January 6, 2012
NOTE: Step 7 should be in a large stainless steel bowl. Step 9 should be in a separate, clean stainless steel bowl. Apologies for the omission.