Friday, October 10, 2014

Apple-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

by Sheila Connolly

I grew these!
In honor of the debut of Picked to Die this week, I decided to try a new recipe for an apple cake. I’m sure you can guess that I have a wealth of apple recipes, both sweet and savory. In fact, I have an entire binder full of them, but that doesn’t mean I’m not always on the hunt for more.

Ginger sounded like a nice addition, so I went hunting for a gingerbread that somehow incorporated apples. I found not one but two recipes, in prestigious newspapers from a few years back. And I didn’t like either of them. So what I came up with is this recipe, which blends the two, from the New York Globe/Boston Times. (BTW, I leaned toward the easier one!)

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar (dark or light, depending on your taste)

4 apples (abt 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" wedges

1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg
3/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger (or more!)
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter, then place what=s left of the butter in the pan. Set over very low heat and melt the butter (don’t let it burn). Add the brown sugar and mix roughly, then spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Make a pattern of overlapping apple slices on top of the sugar-butter mixture.  Fill in all the gaps.

In a mixer, blend the remaining 1/2 cup of butter and the sugar on medium low, then increase the speed and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses and buttermilk. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate adding the liquid and dry ingredients to the butter mixture in the mixer bowl.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes (okay, the original recipes called for 45-50 minutes, but the cake was nowhere near done by then. It ended up taking more like an hour and 15 minutes. Just make sure the center is set, and a toothpick comes out clean.)

Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn out onto a platter. (Sound of hysterical laughter. I used a non-stick cake pan, but butter+sugar=caramel, which is sticky. If you’re worried, line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make the butter/sugar mixture in another pan before spreading it on the bottom—just remember to peel off the paper before serving!)

It worked!

Serve with whipped cream if you like.

And here it is: Picked to Die, hot off the press (this past Tuesday). It's harvest season in Granford, but nobody expects to reap not one but two bodies, one old and one new. 

Find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as lots of independent bookstores.


  1. the apples are beautiful Sheila--and the cake too!

  2. Thanks, Lucy/Roberta. It's funny: since there are only two of us at home most of the time, you must think we're gobbling down vast quantities of all these recipes. My story is that I'm testing the "keeping" qualities, especially for the desserts. This one is just as good on the second day. And the third...

  3. This recipe looks wonderful (and so do your beautiful apples). I have a day off today and am making Indian Pudding in honor of the fall weather, but I am planning to try your apple-ginger cake very soon! And I really enjoy your books, too. :)

  4. How beautiful! Oh, this is right up my alley. Brown sugar and apples. Does it get any better than that?

  5. Congrats on the new release! Those apples are beautiful and the recipe sounds delicious.

  6. Nice photos. The caramelized apples in the finished product look picture perfect.
    Good job!

  7. Beautiful and delicious! Congrats on the release of Picked to Die - have a great first week out!
    Knock 'em dead - but in a good way!




  8. That sure looks delicious! Definitely going to try this!

  9. I just made this recipe and my family has pronounced it a success. There was more batter than would fit in my 9 x 9 pan so I baked the extra in another small pan and its delicious by itself but the cake...completely decadent! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.