Spiced Apple Upside-Down Cake

I can’t believe it’s been over a year and a half since my last post. But it’s been a busy year of sadness, change, buying a new house during a crazy housing market, moving, and retiring! Finally, though, life is settling into a rhythm, and when I made this amazingly yummy cake yesterday I knew, it was time to get back to the blog! Because now is APPLE PICKING TIME! And I picked a peck and a half at Blackman Farm Homestead last week!

11/13/22 – I realized I left a step out of these instructions when I remade this recipe, so I’ve corrected it (for anyone who may have tried it), and I’ve added one more spice!~

Finished upside down cake on a glass plate
Great caramel and juicy finish but the cake comes out so fluffy! This was my second try with more caramel.

Spiced Apple Walnut Upside-Down Cake
(inspire by a recipe I found on Epicurious!)

Special Equipment you will need:

  • Rimmed baking pan for toasting walnuts
  • Cast iron or oven-proof skillet (I use a 12″ ceramic coated cast iron pan the first time, and my 12” cast iron tagine most recently). Whatever you use, if it has a cover that will help with the apple cooking step.
  • Food Processor (or a mixer, but you need the chopping action for at least part of this.) I used my dough bowl with my Ninja and it worked great.
  • Note: This recipe is easily made vegan with just the few substitutes noted.


  • 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 10 TB butter (or vegan substitute), room temp
  • 4 small apples (I used Gala but any baking apple will do), peeled, cored, and cut in half top to bottom
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 TB water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-5.3 oz container Dannon Light & Fit Toast Coconut and Vanilla Yogurt (or use SoDelicious Coconut Yogurt, Vanilla flavored)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread walnuts on baking sheet and toast on the middle rack of your oven for 10 – 12 minutes, stirring them with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula at the 6-minute mark. Mine needed an extra minute or two. You want them nice and golden, but not burned. Remove from the oven and let cool
  • Heat your skillet on medium, adding 2 TB of butter, making sure the entire bottom of the pan is coated. Place apples in the butter, cut side down and cook until cut side is nicely browned (mine took a bit of time because they were more medium-sized than small.). Turn the apples over and cook on the rounded side for another 5 to 10 minutes until the apples are softened and you can easily stick a fork into them. Covering them while they cook for the final few minutes speeds up that softening process. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
  • To the warm skillet (allow it to cool a bit after removing the apples) add ½ cup brown sugar and 1 – 2 TB water. Set over low – medium heat and stir to melt the sugar. Cook for a minute or so until the mixture is thick and bubbling. Do not stir, just swirl the pan a bit to give it time to caramelize. Let cool in the skillet.
  • While things are cooling, start putting together the cake batter. Pulse toasted walnuts, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom in a food processor. I used our new Ninja and it worked great. Make sure you keep going til the walnut pieces are ground fine. Pour the walnut mixture into a separate bowl.
  • Combine granulated sugar, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 8 TB butter in food processor (you can leave the walnut mixture dust in there). Pulse until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla until mixture is smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple times during the process.
  • Add half the walnut mixture and pulse to combine, then the yogurt and pulse just to incorporate, then the remainder of the walnut mixture. Pulse just to combine.
  • Arrange apple halves cut side down into your skillet of caramel sauce. Fold your batter a few times to make sure it’s mixed and then plop spoonfuls of it over the apples, make sure to cover all and get it into all the open spaces between the apples and the edge of the pan. Depending on how fluffy your mixture is, it may just cover the apples, but as long as everything is covered well, you’ll be good.
  • Bake uncovered on the middle rack at 350 degrees (did you leave the oven on all this time? I did!) until entirely browned and the center springs back (or when your favorite cake tester tells you it’s done). Mine took about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes.

Browned apple cake out of the oven, but not yet flipped! Brown across the top with a few apple halves slightly visible.
  • Slide a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then set a wire rack on top and carefully flip the cake onto the rack. I placed foil on my rack to make sure pieces didn’t drop through.
  • Serve warm, or room temp. I added a bit of whipped topping to serve, but it really doesn’t need anything beyond a fork and a plate! Enjoy.
Finished cake fresh from the pan
That caramelly apple goodness is SOOO worth the time!

Interested in other posts?

I’d love to have you subscribe to my blog. Now that I’m back at it, I promise you won’t want to miss a post!

Tagged with: