So, I found this enticing recipe in Sift Magazine. Sift is a new publication created by King Arthur Flour and I try to grab a new copy every time I see one. In my classes, King Arthur is always the flour brand I recommend, and it’s the one I’ve been using since I started baking over a decade ago.
I love this company and the way in which they approach baking. Their recipes are both challenging, yet easy. When I saw the recipe for Apple Upside Down Cake in the fall issue knew I wanted to make it ASAP. It is almost apple season here in Virginia but since my good friend, Matt (you might remember him from this popular post here), had just come over for a Labor Day cookout bearing just-picked -absolutely gorgeous- peaches, I had to switch up the recipe a bit and accommodate my craving.
As always, I loosely followed the recipe (meaning I used the same amount of eggs, flour and oil) but other than that I kind of went wild and incorporated my own ideas. For example, peaches were the main event, but in place of the suggested corn syrup I used maple syrup, and instead of the boiled apple cider I used a mixture of some apple butter that I made last season, some salted caramel I had lying around and some apple cider vinegar because I thought the tang might balance the overly-sweet things. I also left out the spices because my apple butter already had them!
Oh yeah, I doubled the recipe, too!
The result was this heavenly cake, whose batter resembled something in between a cookie dough and a cake batter. Below is the recipe. It’s worth making two cakes because they will be gone in a jiffy! I brought one to my Cooking Club and gave away the rest to my amazing sitter and her mom (who is a close friend and neighbor). Everyone that has tried it has declared it “the best cake I have ever had” so I think it’s fair to say that you can make this recipe a lot this fall season and please many, many palates.
The Best Cake Ever: Peach Upside Down
Bring this to anyone, anywhere and get anything you ask for! It is a mesmerizing blend of sweet, tart, crunchy, chewy, airy, and fruity.
For the Topping
4 large, ripe peaches, pitted and sliced into thick wedges
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 Tbsp apple butter (spiced)
1 cup maple syrup
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
For the Cake
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp apple butter
2 Tbsp salted caramel (I used the Trader Joe's brand)
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking soda
3 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose King Arthur flour
1 tsp salt
Make the topping
- In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until butter is melted, all ingredients are incorporated and sauce is thickened slightly (it should be rolling with medium-big bubbles coming up to the surface).
- Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Make the cake
- While the sauce is cooking, slice the peaches and preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Using leftover butter papers (or cooking spray) generously oil two round 9-inch cake pans. Cut out two circles of parchment to fit in the middle of each pan's bottom by placing the pan on the paper, tracing it, cutting out the circles then pressing them into the oiled bottom.
- Spray the parchment with oil once again and arrange the peach slices in a circular fashion (see photo).
- In the bowl of a mixer (or by hand) combine oil, brown sugar, apple butter, salted caramel, and eggs.
- Mix until smooth and well-combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk baking soda with flour and salt.
- Add flour mixture slowly and stir until combined, leaving as few lumps as possible (but making sure not to overmix).
- Divide topping in half. Take one half and divide again, pouring each half evenly over arranged peaches. Reserve the rest for serving.
- Next, divide batter and pour evenly over peach and topping mixture. Using a spatula, try to encourage the cake batter to reach the sides, but don't worry too much. (It will spread substantially during baking.)
- Place cake pans in oven over a foil-lined baking sheet to catch the drippings.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes or until cakes are done.
- Remove from the oven, let cool 20 minutes, loosen outsides with a palate knife and then invert onto a plate carefully and peel back parchment rounds. Rearrange any peaches that many have slipped.
- Pour over reserved topping sauce to serve.
- Refrigerate for up to one week!
*Try any fruit you like, although peaches, apples, rhubarb + strawberries and pineapples will hold up best.