Saturday, December 26, 2009
Apples are my favorite fruit, hands down. Gingerbread is high on my list of favorites as well. Thats why when I heard about apple gingerbread upside down cake I knew it would be a hit. I mean whats not to love, apples, spicy gingerbread, caramel topping, sounds like a serious case of Kitchen Witchcraft to me!
The first time I made this gingerbread upside down cake I used McIntosh apples. While they did have good flavor the apples tendency to become overly soft when cooked was an issue. The 2nd time around I used Pink Ladies. Wow, what an improvement! The apple flavor is still very pronounced but the apples have a tarter edge than the McIntosh did, and a firmer flesh which stood up to the gingerbread, as well as the caramel topping, a lot better.
I decided to use my old standby cast iron skillet to bake this gingerbread cake in. What can I say, I love my cast iron!! Old fashioned pineapple upside down cake is made in an iron skillet, why not my apple upside down gingerbread? Here's how the cast iron helps make a superior upside down cake, or gingerbread:
~The caramel topping cooks in the same pan as the cake bakes in, less pans to clean!
~Cast iron holds heat extremely well. This means that the pan is pretty darn hot when you pour your batter into it, resulting in a very even bake and a delectable crusty edge
~Because the caramel is cooked and never removed from the pan it develops a deep caramel flavor, something that was lost in the original. (at least at my high altitude it was)
The cinnamon whipped cream is a Kitchen Witch exclusive. The slightly sweetened spicy cream is the crowning touch to an already delicious cake.
Apple upside down gingerbread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, serves 12
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges (I used Pink Ladies)
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup milk
1 T lemon juice
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg
Cinnamon Whipped cream
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 t vanilla
3 shakes cinnamon or 1/8 t approx
1 T powdered sugar
Heat a cast iron skillet over med heat. Add the topping ingredients to the pan, whisk well. It will take a bit of cooking but the mixture will go from grainy to smooth caramel, just keep working it! Cook the caramel for 5 minutes over med heat, stirring often.
Arrange apple slices on top of the hot caramel, using a spiral pattern. Remember this will be your presentation side! You will probally have about 1 apples worth of slices that won't fit into your pretty design. Dice them up & sprinkle over the top of the arranged apples.
In the work bowl of a mixer whip butter until fluffy. Add sugar, whip well. Add honey, molasses and egg, mixing well until smooth. Add the milk & lemon juice, mix well. The batter will be very curdled looking, this is normal.
Sift flour, spices, salt & soda together. Add dry ingredients to the wet in 3 installments, scraping down the sides after each installment. Batter will begin to smooth out after 2nd addition.
Pour batter over apple slices using care not to disturb the apples. Smooth batter on top and bake at 335* for 45-60 minutes. Start checking at 45 min, remove when a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 min before inverting.
USE CAUTION when inverting, the cast iron will be HOT still. Invert cake onto a large plate.
To make the cinnamon whipped cream add all ingredients into a work bowl and whip cream with a mixer. You will want stiff peaks, about 5 min of whipping.
Top cake with dollops of whipped cream. Best when served warm. Delicious with coffee.