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This warming Caramel Oatmeal Apple Upside Down Cake recipe merges a wonderfully soft + moist spiced apple cake with impeccably tender apples, all infused with the richness of delicious brown butter and a layer of indulgent caramel. It's the ultimate cozy, hassle-free fall bake that's slightly dense yet maintains a soft, deliciously flavorful texture. This cake is super easy to make + a great way to use up any extra apples you've got sitting around. Gluten-free + Dairy-free Option.
Let's make Thanksgiving cakes more of a thing...No shade on pies—I love them too! But this Caramel Oatmeal Apple Upside Down Cake embodies Fall + Thanksgiving without the pie crust fuss. By pairing a fluffy cinnamon-spiced cake (the base is inspired by my Apple Oatmeal Sheet Cake recipe) with luscious caramelized apples, it's like having two desserts in a single bite.
If you're anything like me, and you've got a sweet tooth for cakes (or, let's be real, just devouring them!), and especially if you enjoy a fruity twist, then you've gotta try my 1-Layer Banana Biscoff Cake + Jamaican Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe next. And while you're at it, don't miss my post on Best Cake Flavors for Any Occasion. It's a sweet journey worth taking!
This cake? It's a masterpiece—just the right sweetness, density, and softness, all wrapped up in caramel + brown butter magic. And that caramelized apple topping once you flip it? Absolute drool material! But the best part? It's the perfect dessert for any occasion—Thanksgiving, holiday bashes, or simply a snug evening in.
Absolutely! No baking experience? No problem! You can still create an impressive and delicious upside-down cake that will wow your guests. If you've ever been intimidated to flip a homemade cake before, join the club. It's a great cake to start with! Don't worry; I'll guide you through it! Whether you're a seasoned baker or a beginner, this cake is sure to impress and bring some sweetness to your day!
First things first, we kick things off with making the brown butter (I'll share all the delicious details on how to brown butter below). Then, onto crafting that oh-so-tempting caramelized apple topping, which sits snugly at the bottom before the big flip. After that, we dive into creating the cake batter itself, and then it's time to let the oven work its magic, baking it to pure perfection.
In a medium 10-inch skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir occasionally and let it cook for 6-8 minutes, until the entire butter becomes fragrant and darker (amber looking). Set aside and let it cool completely! It's that easy!
Here, I’ve curated a list of bakeware essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baking treats, especially with this Caramel Oatmeal Apple Upside Down Cake. Everything from my fave baking sheets, parchment paper, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!
Here are a few tips to make sure your apple dessert turns out perfectly every time-
Prep the plate--- Place a plate or cake stand on top of the pan with the cake, making sure it covers the entire opening.
Take a deep breath--- Gather your courage and take a moment to mentally prepare for the big flip.
Go for the flip--- With a swift and confident motion, hold the plate firmly against the pan and flip them both over together.
Be patient--- Give the cake a few seconds to work its magic. Watch in anticipation as the heavenly brown sugar and pineapple slices gracefully cascade down.
Remove the pan---Carefully lift the cake pan away, leaving the stunning apple topping exposed for all to admire.
Take a moment to appreciate your perfectly flipped apple upside-down cake—a true work of art!
One thing that I’ve learned about baking a cake is having the right tools. As a basic—-you should have a cake stand (preferably one that has a turnstile table), spatulas (big + small), piping bags + tips, correct baking pans, and parchment paper.
One of the essential ingredient combos for a light, silky cake texture is baking soda/baking powder and acid ingredient. When acid and baking soda/baking powder reacts, it creates bubbles and helps to create a nice rise for your baked goods, leaving an airy texture.
One of my latest tricks to a perfect cake has been to ensure that ALL of my dry ingredients are sifted. Trust me, ya’ll—-this works! Making all the dry ingredients fully sifted makes things airy, as you’ve guessed it and allows everything to combine faster.
Never Over-mix! When creating a cake, it’s so important to add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately and as soon as everything is combined very well, THAT’S IT! Over-mixing creates a more dense cake.
Even though this caramel apple oatmeal cake is based on using Gala apples you can also switch things up and add a slightly new flare to their flavor profile by adding any of the following for a bit more sweetness or tartness:
It is entirely up to you! I've made this recipe both ways and enjoy them both. I usually make this upside-down apple cake for my family, and my kid sometimes won't eat it with the skins on, so I peel them most of the time. I'm sure it goes without saying, but if you choose to leave the skins on, make sure to wash the apples thoroughly!
These events are a great excuse to eat cake!
Yes, you can use any dairy-free milk you like to make this Apple Upside Down Cake recipe. Here are some easy recipes to make your own milk that is cheaper and so easy to whip up!
This sweet treat has a place at brunch, tea time, and of course dessert! But it doesn't stop there.
Here are a few more creative ideas on how to enjoy this Apple Upside-Down Cake:
Classic slice--- Cut a generous slice of the cake and savor every bite. The caramelized topping + brown butter with the texture of oats make each forkful so delicious.
Warm + fresh--- Enjoy a slice while it's still warm from the oven. The caramel apple top and dense, moist interior make for a heavenly combination. Top it with homemade ice cream-- my favorites are No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream or No-Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream for some nutty goodness.
Brunch goodness--- Serve this cake as a sweet addition to your brunch spread. It pairs wonderfully with fresh fruit and a side of whipped cream.
When it comes to the main ingredient of this entire Caramel Oatmeal Apple Upside Down Cake recipe—-the flour, I enjoy using Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, which is ideal for all kinds of baking, including this one.
However, I do occasionally use Super-Fine Cake Flour which adds a nice airiness and fluffiness to your cakes as well.
To make this cake entirely gluten-free, simply substitute the flour with a great Gluten-Free flour option like Bob's Red Mill's GF 1-to-1 baking flour or All-purpose flour. If using any other flour, ensure that it has Xanthan Gum included or add 1 teaspoon in with any flour that doesn't. For the remaining ingredients, just make sure that they are GF-friendly and you use arrowroot starch which is very GF-friendly.
This issue can occur for TWO reasons: the first being that you didn't allow the cake to cool enough before removing it. I always recommend letting it cool for at least 15-20 minutes before removing it and letting it cool completely on a cooling rack. Secondly, the issue could be that the pan wasn't greased well. I like to grease + add cake pan parchment paper to the bottom.
Keep cake leftovers stored for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to keep the cake from drying out. You can also freeze the cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the cake on the counter.
Absolutely! You can always bake this cake the night or day before and let it cool, tightly wrap it, and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, whip together the glaze, add your favorite topping, and serve each slice!
Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake; if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cake is ready. Avoid overbaking to maintain its moistness.
If you loved this Upside Down Cake recipe then you have to try these delicious cake recipes next!
If you tried this Caramel Oatmeal Apple Upside Down Cake with Brown Butter recipe or any other other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!