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  • Mary Kay

Turn it downside up! Spiked Spiced Apple Cake

Turn your Spiked Spiced Apple Cake upside down. Say that ten times real fast!

Turning leaves and cool cozy days remind us to turn our attention to fresh picked apples, corn mazes, pumpkins, fall spices and warm lattes. Baking up some of those traditional treats is half the fun in the fall when it feels good to have the oven on. Try my Spiked Spiced upside down cake, or as my Dad would say, "downside upcake." He had a way with turning words upside down and inside out.

Spiced and SPIKED upside down apple cake is a fun way to use your favorite apples in this altered version of Gram's spiced apple cake. She made it upside down. I'm making it real upside down with an apple liqueur. This dessert gives you an excuse to visit your favorite orchard, and take the kids and grandkids along - you can always use extra apple pickers.

Of course, Gram would never approve of my use of apple liqueur in anything, but she made a mean upside down spiced (not spiked) cake of her own every Fall with apples from her own apple trees. Inevitably she could make that cake all winter and on into the spring since her farmhouse had a huge dirt floor fruit cellar underneath it. Every winter it was filled with her annual treasure trove of of shelves laden with canned vegetables, fruits and beef, plus pork and sauerkraut in the huge covered stoneware crocks. Plus, on the ground she had covered bushels of apples, carrots, cabbage, pumpkins, squash, onions and much more. It was like going to the grocery store every time she needed to bake or cook a meal. Now, I wander and need to get back on track. See, how baking makes me think about my family?

Spiked upside down apple cake can be made with just about any SPICED apple cake recipe you may have. This one is not quite as fluffy as a store bought cake mix, and not as dense as a Bundt or pound cake. In this case, I took Gram's recipe, made a few adjustments and, of course, added a couple tablespoons of apple liqueur. It utilizes things you probably already have in your kitchen pantry, plus just 2-3 apples. And, don't forget, this cakes comes out delicious whether or not you add the Apple liqueur or Brandy. Enjoy making this spiked (or un-spiked) apple treat.

Prepare your pan:

Brush an 8-10" cake pan

Bottom turns upside down to make the top (caramel sauce):

1/3 C Butter

2/3 C Brown sugar

1/2 t Ground cinnamon

1/2 t Nutmeg (optional)

1/2 t Allspice (optional)

2-3 Apples, medium

Make the upside down part:

- To make the caramel sauce to place with the apples for the bottom of a 8-10" round cake pan, first melt the butter in a medium sauce pan on the top of the stove. Add the brown sugar and cook on medium low until it just barely comes to a boil.

- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the ground cinnamon.

- Pour in the prepared baking pan and spread evenly.

- Layer the apples, overlapping just a little, in a circle on the caramel sauce. Or, simply dice up the apples and sprinkle them on top of the caramel like I did.

Spike the cake batter:

1 1/3 C Flour

1 t Baking powder

1/4 t Salt

1 C Sugar

1/2 C butter, softened

2 Eggs, large

1/2 t Vanilla extract

1-2 T Apple liqueur or Brandy

1/4 C Milk

Prepare the cake batter:

- Prepare a round 8-9" baking pan by buttering the sides and the bottom.

- Start making the cake batter by whisking together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a a medium bowl and and set aside.

- In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.

- Add and beat in the eggs, then the vanilla and other flavoring, if desired.

- Beating slowly, alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter and sugar mixture. (Gram always used whole milk fresh out the cooler in the barn's milk house that morning. I used 2% milk because that's what I had on hand. It came out just fine.)

- Pour the cake batter on top of the apples and caramel layers.

- Bake for 55-65 minutes at 325F degrees. (I only had a 10" round pan, so I baked it for 45 minutes to see how it baked in the wider pan. With the clean toothpick test, it was actually done very nicely in 50 minutes.

- Let the baked cake cool for 10 - 15 minutes; no longer. Then turn it upside down on a serving platter to be admired and served.


- Drizzle caramel sauce on top. I heated and drizzled about 3 tablespoons of already prepared apple caramel dip. I first heated it at 10 second intervals in the microwave to get it to a drizzling state.

- Top with whipped cream, homemade or store bought.

- Top with caramel pecan or vanilla ice cream.

- Garnish each serving with raw apple slices.

Experiment with your recipes as Gram did:

Surely, my Gram did not add liqueur to her Apple Upside Down Cake, but she always added a variety of spices depending on what she had in the cupboard. And, every time it came out delicious, even though with just a little different flavor. It was always a topic of conversation by the ladies from the other farms when she hosted them for quilting or knitting events. "What did you add to your cake this time, Myrtle?" (I was lucky enough to be in attendance at some of these get togethers whether at her home or another farmhouse. I learned a lot about knitting and crocheting from the ladies.) She often made homemade caramel sauce to drizzle on top of the homemade whipped cream which was usually very heavy light yellow cream freshly skimmed off the top of the tin of milk from the milk house on the farm. That light yellow whipped cream was so much richer, much more flavorful and had more body than the white heavy whipping cream or frozen whipped topping you can buy in the store today. I have not found her recipe for caramel sauce, but I don't remember her ever following a recipe for that sweet treat. She never used measuring cups or spoons, just added a little of this or that until it came out right. What a delicious way of cooking. She was quite a baker.

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