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Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake

Tell me this picture doesn’t make your mouth water just a little. This gingerbread apple upside-down cake is one of my favorite new things I’ve baked this Christmas. It is as delicious as it looks. Moist buttermilk-gingerbread cake sweetened with honey and spices, topped with sliced apples nestled in caramel. The only thing that makes this cake better is a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’m wishing I had a piece right now! My family devoured this cake in about two days. I even tried to convince my children to have ice cream cones – with sprinkles – instead, to spare one last piece for myself. No takers. One bite and they were hooked.

If you aren’t convinced about how great this dessert is, wait until I tell you how easy it is to make and that it includes whole wheat. Easy ? More nutritious? Delicious? That’s right. Keep reading.

This wonderful cake begins with a box of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Gingerbread Mix. Not only does the mix give this dessert a more nutritious beginning, it makes things so much easier and faster. The perfect amount of whole-wheat flour, spices, molasses and brown sugar are already measured and need only be mixed with a few other ingredients to get things underway. Peel a few apples, make a little caramel and you will be in dessert heaven before you know it. Gingerbread apple upside-down cake here we come!

First things first: Peel, core and thinly slice (about ¼-inch wedges) three medium-sized apples. I used McIntosh apples, but any baking apple would work fine. Set the slices aside and get ready to make the caramel.

Get a small saucepan and melt a stick of butter in it. Add ½ cup dark-brown sugar and let the mixture simmer over medium-low heat for four minutes. Watch the clock closely. Four minutes is the perfect amount of time – no more, no less. Stir the caramel a few times, but not continuously. Swirl in a pinch of salt when time is up, remove from the heat and pour caramel into a greased 10-inch cake pan. I used a 10-inch square baking dish that has 2-inch sides.

Arrange as many of the apple slices as you can in a fancy pattern in the caramel before it cools.

Chop the rest of the apple and sprinkle it on top of the slices, like so.

Now for the batter: Get a large bowl and mix ½ cup butter and ½ cup sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate, medium-size bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and honey. Alternate adding the gingerbread mix and the buttermilk mixture into the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the gingerbread mix.

Pour the batter over the apples and bake for 50 minutes to one hour in a 350o F oven. When the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, the cake is completely baked. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on a rack for five minutes, then turn it out onto a platter. Scrape up any bits of apple and caramel stuck in the pan and add back to the top of the cake.

My family loved this cake best warm – either from the oven or with a quick trip through the microwave.

Delicious, more nutritious and easy. Three words that speak to my soul and make my belly happy. Give this gingerbread apple upside-down cake a try this holiday season—and don’t forget the vanilla ice cream. Merry Christmas! Enjoy!

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake


Caramel Topping

  • 4 Tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup dark-brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices



Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan and then add brown sugar. Stir to combine and let simmer for four minutes. Stir caramel mixture occasionally, but not continuously. Swirl in salt and remove from heat. Pour into the bottom of the cake pan. Arrange apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop up any remaining apple and distribute evenly over the slices to fill in any gaps.

Mix butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk and honey. Alternate adding the gingerbread mix and the buttermilk mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Begin and end with the gingerbread mix.

Pour the batter into the pan over the apples. Bake at 350º F for 50 minutes to one hour or until the sides of the cake pull away slightly from the edges of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake. Let the cake cool for five minutes on a rack and then turn out onto a platter. Scrape the pan for any leftover apples and/or caramel and add back to top of the cake. Serve warm or cool with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Adapted from Smittenkitchen.com
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Author: Holly

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