I recently received three jugs of pure maple syrup as gift from a several friends who visit from the mainland and Canada. I love pure maple syrup on blueberry pancakes or waffles, but I don’t eat them often enough to make a dent in all of the syrup stashed in my cupboard. I thought this Maple Apple Upside-Down Cake would be a good way to start. I first noticed the recipe in Food & Wine magazine. It was developed by Joanne Chang, a well-known pastry chef and owner of Flour, a bakery in Boston. I noticed that the recipe called for baking the cake for 1 1/2 hours! This didn’t seem right so I searched around and found a couple of other versions of this recipe, one of them by Wendy of bookcooker blog. Wendy says to bake the cake for 45 – 60 minutes. That made sense!
Maple Apple Upside-Down Cake
Serves 10 – 12
1 cup pure maple syrup
3 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and quartered, each quarter cut into 3 equal slices (the Granny Smith apples I bought were large but if you have smaller apples you can cut the apple into eighths)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used lactose free milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice since there is no lactose free buttermilk available here on Maui)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, softened (or unsalted butter, increase the salt to 1 teaspoon)
1 1/3 cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan with 3-inch high sides. (You may use a 9-inch cake pan with 2 1/2-inch sides. You will not need all of the batter).
In a small saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high heat, then simmer over medium-low heat until very thick and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Pour the thickened syrup into the cake pan. Arrange the apples in the pan in 2 concentric circles. If your apples are on the large side and you are using a 9-inch pan, you may not need all of the apple slices.
In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 – 5 minutes. Beat in the dry and wet ingredients in 3 alternating batches until the batter is smooth; scrape down the side of the bowl. Mix until just combined.
Pour the batter over the apples and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 50 minutes.
Place a plate on top of the cake and invert the cake onto the plate. Let the cake cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve.