Baking: Caramel Apple Upside-down Cake

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The plan of making 12 cakes in a year doesn’t seem daunting or too much, but somehow trying to find people to give them to is always a dilemma for me. I basically have two groups of people I typically give desserts to – my lovely friends and my coworkers. Since there is no one around the office (since all the managers were gone for a week long training in Orlando and it was almost Thanksgiving) and it’s not busy at work, I decided to reduce down this recipe to as small as I could.

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 I do love a good challenge, so I decided to reduce the recipe down into a third of the original recipe, put it into 4 ramekins, cross my fingers, and hope for the best. It actually turned out great! Much better than I had actually expected when I put it into the oven. I had actually expected the cake not to set up or things just going horribly wrong and not baking, just burning.

Instead, the apples were caramelized and soft while the cake was wonderfully spiced with a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (all the spices in pumpkin pie) – reminded me of everything fall. Perfect little dessert for the changing weather here in San Francisco. Had to include some ice cream too since I do love pairing cake with ice cream.

I had some leftover ramekins since I only had 1 myself so I gave it to my friends.  Since I finished the dessert pretty late at night, I had to put the rest in the fridge and hope for the best to reheat it when my friends wanted to have them. Suggestion? 10-15 minutes at 250o.

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Recipe:
(adapted from here)

Ingredients:
Apples
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3.5 Fuji or Granny Smith apples (about 5/6 pounds)— cored, cut into smallish pieces
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup sugar

Cake
6 tablespoons buttermilk (about 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice and the rest in regular milk)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
8 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Put 1/3 sugar in a pan. Heat it on medium heat until it starts to caramelize. Once you get it to a dark amber color, add melted butter and about 2 tablespoons of the cream. Once it boils, add the pieces of the apple and add the rest of the cream.  Keep it on low heat while you make the cake.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg yolk, and vanilla.
3. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together. Then add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and salt until well mixed. Afterwards, add the buttermilk mixture until well blended.
4. Spray with the 4 ramekins with pam. Add approximately one layer of apples (about 2 tablespoons) and 1 tablespoon of the caramel at the bottom of the ramekin. You will be left with some leftover apples – for future recipes or eat with ice cream later on.
5. Split the batter between the 4 ramekins and try and smooth over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes and invert onto a plate and serve with ice cream!

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