Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Cake
from Geoff Last
For the apples:
6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 c. (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 t. white or raw sugar
2-1/4 pounds (about 5) tart/sweet apples, such as Gala, peeled, cored and quartered (plus one peeled apple for grating into the batter)
1-1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
3 T. minced crystallized ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 large eggs
1/2 c. olive oil
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. grated orange zest
1 c. grated peeled apple (about 1 large)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a heavy 10” diameter ovenproof skillet (with 2” high sides) over low heat. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange the apples, rounded side down, in two circles, one inside the other, filling in the centre with a large piece of apple, using the trimmings to fill any large holes. Dust the apples with 1/4 t. of cinnamon and 1 tsp. of sugar. Place the skillet in the oven for 30 minutes to soften and caramelize the apples. If you use pears you can skip this step unless they are hard and under-ripe. Remove the apples from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes while you make the cake batter. Leave the oven on at 350°F.
Whisk the flour, sugar, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs, oil, fresh ginger, vanilla and orange zest in a large bowl to blend. Mix in the grated apple, then mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
Carefully pour the batter over the apples in the skillet. The batter is thick and a bit tricky to spread; a spatula works best. Bake the cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the skillet sides to loosen. Place a plate on the skillet over the cake. Invert the cake onto the plate. Cut the cake into wedges and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream. Serves 10.