Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake

It’s apple season! If you’re looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It’s packed with all the fall feels!

t's apple season!  If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list.  It's packed with all the fall feels!

Most of us have heard of an upside down pineapple cake. It’s a simple concept really. Pineapple slices are layered at the bottom of a baking pan, and a thin cake batter is poured on top. Once baked, the entire cake is inverted and the bottom becomes the top. In this way, the baked pineapple rings end up on top of the cake when it’s served. Fun concept, right?

t's apple season! If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It's packed with all the fall feels!

So I got to thinking the other day. What would happen if you use a fruit other than pineapple for an upside down cake? Could you use pears? Maybe. They might be too soft after baking, though. What about blueberries? Probably! Apples? Let’s try that!

We’re heading into one of my favorite times of the baking year – apple season. I do love a good apple straight out of the fridge – as long as it’s sweet and crisp. (Basically that means a Honeycrisp!) But I also love baking with apples. The combination of red and green apples with the classic autumn baking spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger really calls to me. With that in mind, I set out to make this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake.

t's apple season! If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It's packed with all the fall feels!

Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake

This Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake is basically an upside down pineapple cake, but with apples and baking spices. It’s delicious! I chose to finely dice the apples for this cake, and it worked well. However, next time I might use larger slices of apples…similar to what you see in the pineapple version.

t's apple season! If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It's packed with all the fall feels!

The diced apples tasted amazing, but I lost that visual appeal of seeing the sliced fruit on top of the inverted cake. I solved this problem with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar and some additional sliced apples. In the end, this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake tasted like a cross between a cake and an apple pie. It was the best of both worlds!

If you’ve ever baked an upside down pineapple cake, then you might remember that the cake portion is different than a classic cake. As opposed to a fluffy yellow cake that you might make for a birthday, this cake stays flat while it bakes. (That’s a good thing since you invert it for serving!) This cake also has a good bit more moisture in it than a traditional cake – as such, it takes longer to bake. It’s worth the wait though!

t's apple season! If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It's packed with all the fall feels!

If you’re in the mood for a unique dessert that features the classic autumn flavors of apples and cinnamon, then put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list! Happy baking!

Did you bake this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

t's apple season! If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It's packed with all the fall feels!

Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake

t's apple season! If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It's packed with all the fall feels!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 439kcal

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

For the Topping

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • cups finely diced apples I used a combination of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith

Instructions

For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Line the bottom of an 8” round baking pan with parchment paper. (Tip: I recommend a pan with a removable bottom. I use a springform pan when I bake upside down cakes.)
  • Spray parchment and sides of the pan with nonstick baking spray; set pan aside. (Tip: Spray parchment paper generously so that the apples don’t stick!)
  • Using an electric mixer, add sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow in color.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Using a separate bowl, add melted butter, buttermilk and vegetable oil; stir until well combined.
  • Add liquid mixture to the larger bowl and mix on low speed until just combined. (Tip: Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure mixture is well combined!)

For the Topping

  • Using a medium bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients (melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt and apples). Spread this mixture evenly into bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  • Pour batter over the apples.
  • Bake for 30 minutes and then cover top of the pan with aluminum foil. Continue baking for 25-30 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. (Tip: If using a pan with a removable bottom, put a sheet pan on the oven rack underneath to catch any potential drips.)
  • Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes.
  • Run a table knife around edge of the cake and then place a serving plate upside-down on top of the pan. Invert the cake onto the serving plate. (Note: If the parchment paper comes out with the cake, simply peel it off the top and discard.)
  • Let cake cool for 25-30 minutes before slicing and serving.
t's apple season! If you're looking for a unique autumn dessert, put this Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Cake on the list. It's packed with all the fall feels!

Looking for more apple cinnamon recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:

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32 Comments

  1. cant wait to make this soon for me for the cake can i use vegan butter and buttermilk and for the topping can i use vegan butter i never had upside down cinnamon apple cake before perfect for my after office snacks love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

    1. I haven’t used vegan butter and buttermilk myself, Ramya, but I imagine it would work well in this recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

  2. I was pretty much on board with this idea right from the get-go, but when you said cross between pie and cake, I was competely sold on it! I love apple cake, and it’s something you don’t come across a lot. And as far as I’m concerned, apple is the new pumpkin, so bring it on!

    1. You are absolutely right that apple cake deserves more attention. I have a recipe passed down in the family for apple cake with a bourbon sauce – holy cow is it amazing on a chilly fall day! This upside down cake was a fun experiment in the kitchen. It made the house smell awesome with all the fall feels!

  3. 5 stars
    I haven’t made this yet but seriously considering it because it looks amazing but I’m curious how do you recommend storing this? How long is shelf life? Can’t wait to try this with a big scoop of French vanilla ice cream on top!

    1. Hey Irma! This is indeed a fun cake to make. For storing it, I would recommend keeping it in an airtight container at room temperature. Like many baked goods, this one will taste best on day 1, but the leftovers were still tasty. We finished this cake on day 3 here in our house! (You could probably freeze half of it though…) Let me know if you have any other questions – happy baking and happy fall!

  4. This is a beautiful apple upside down cake. Your cake reminds me that fall cannot get here soon enough (laugh). Cooler weather, and apple season.

    best,
    Velva

    1. I hear ya, Velva! It’s still pretty warm here in North Carolina, but I know the cooler days of fall are around the corner. I’m ready for fall baking with the classic flavors of cinnamon and apple!!

    1. Yes! It hit me one day that there is no reason why pineapples are the only fruit for upside down cakes. This apple version was fun…and tasty!

  5. 5 stars
    Love a good apple cake, but turn it upside down? Such a great idea, David! I’ll take a slice with a dollop of vanilla ice cream 😉 Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    Interesting. An upside down cinnamon apple cake? Well if you can have an upside down pineapple cake then you surely can have an upside down cinnamon apple cake! And cinnamon and apple together are like a marriage made in heaven anyway. Yum!

    1. My thoughts exactly, Neil! Why does pineapple get to have all of the fun in the upside down cake world? This was a fun experiment, and it was a great way to kick off fall baking season!

  7. 5 stars
    David your post couldn’t have come at a better time as we’re going apple picking tomorrow. This will be made and I like the idea of the chopped apple vs slices. I see this with a generous pour of vanilla sauce (custard) on top. It’s a Swedish thing. Take care my friend and enjoy your holiday weekend…

    1. Ah! I hope the apple picking adventure worked well for y’all, Ron! We haven’t gone picking here in NC yet, although the orchards are open and ready. (We’ve just been a little busy…haha!) I’m thinking a vanilla sauce would be a pretty fun topping on this cake. I bet it would be similar to putting a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top…and you can’t go wrong there!

    1. You are absolutely right about moisture and flavor, Kathy! The juices from the fruit soak down into the cake. Yum! This apple-cinnamon version turned out well. You can’t ever go wrong with apples + cinnamon!

  8. 5 stars
    My father-in-law’s favorite cake is pineapple upside down cake and I’ve made dozens of them – but never an apple cinnamon version! This need so happen ASAP!

    1. You should totally play around with the fruit, Marissa! I mean I do love a good pineapple upside down cake, but pineapples need to share the spotlight a little bit, too. 🙂

  9. I keep reading this as “upstate cinnamon apple cake” and thinking that sounds perfect 🙂

    May have to give this a try in another month.

    1. I love apple baking season, too, Nicole! The combination of apples with fall baking spices (and perhaps a little chill in the air, too)…that’s the best time of the year if you ask me!

    1. Ah, I have indeed heard of tea cakes. Different than coffee cakes, but still equally as delicious! The apple + cinnamon combo really is one of my favorites!

  10. 5 stars
    David – this is such a fantastic spin on the traditional pineapple upside down cake. I simply LOVE your use of apples instead – and I can see some apple chunks on that picture of a slice of this cake. Speaking of slices, goodness, I wish I was munching on this instead of eggs for breakfast! And yay for apple season – hoping y’all get to go apple picking soon. Also speaking of which, there’s some fantastic apple orchards a hop, skip, and a jump south of y’all here in GA – like Mercier 😉 Just saying…

    1. Thanks so much, Shashi! There is indeed a good bit of apple flavor going on with this cake. Apples + fall baking spices = yum!! Haha. I remember those orchards in Mercier. We’ve been there! We also have some great orchards nearby in Hendersonville. We just need to make our way up there to check ’em out!

  11. 5 stars
    Who doesn’t love a pineapple upside-down cake? But now this is such a wonderful idea that leads us right into the Fall season. You can’t have enough “apple” recipes, right? And this is a beauty that I will definitely be adding to my Autumn recipe repertoire. Thanks so much David.

    1. I’m with ya, Kristy! A good upside-down cake is always fun. But then it hit me – why do pineapples get all of the upside-down fun? This apple version was great for fall baking season! 🙂

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