Laura Vitale’s Caramel Upside Down Cake

A fluffy vanilla cake topped with sticky caramel and soft. Fall is in the air, my friends!

Youtube has never failed to amaze me. I don’t think the world could ever be the same anymore without the billions of videos found on Youtube- from cooking tutorials to movie trailers to family memories captured on camera. I personally visit Youtube multiple times in a day- whether it’s to post my own videos or to watch someone else’s. Youtube is sort of my way of escaping reality. I love to watch segments from The Ellen Show, or Jimmy Kimmel Live, they make me laugh and help me eat away the hours. I spend a larger portion of my time in this virtual world watching cake decorating tutorials and baking videos, clicking away minutes.

Amongst the various talented foodies I am subscribed to, a particular favorite is Laura Vitale. I admire the way she is able to present herself in front of the camera- naturally and effortless. At the end, I can almost smell the creations she gobbles up in seconds and then swoons over. Not only is her result impressive, it is also fairly easy to prepare and even more delicious to eat.

I follow her baking videos religiously, so to me, it comes as no surprise that I have selected her recipe to blog about. During the fall last year, I found myself mesmerized by all of Laura’s autumn treats, specifically her “Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake” recipe. Baked apples in any form make me smile and I cannot stop myself from mixing up a nice apply treat, especially if they are seasoned with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am enticed by such flavors. My favorite part about fall baking is the magical, rustic smell that wafts through the rooms of our house. It feels like home.

This cake does the trick. It has that buttery caramel goo on top of a pineapple upside down cake- or better- the top of a tart tatin. Next time (there will, of course, be a next time), I may add a splash of rum to flavor the caramel. But under those ooey gooey apples lies a cake. A cake so tender, so moist, flavored with the perfect amount of cinnamon and nutmeg, that makes it impossible to refuse a piece. Topped off with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, that is. Gobble it all up. Nom nom nom.

I started by peeling some apples…

Sliced them up, then squeezed a bit of lemon juice on top 
to prevent too much browning. Then I set it aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, I combined some butter and brown sugar 

…and constantly mixed them together until they reached a boil.
At that point, I switched off the heat, 

… and poured the mixture into a prepared baking pan greased with butter. 
I lay the apples atop the caramel mixture.
You can never have too many apples!

In a bowl, I combined some flour, baking powder,
nutmeg, and of course, cinnamon and set it aside. 
In another bowl, I creamed together some soft butter and sugar.

Then I added in some vanilla and cracked in the eggs. 
Finally, I added some milk and flour- in two batches. 
I scraped down the sides of the bowl to make sure 
everything was incorporated. 
I gently plopped it on top of the apple-caramel mixture
…and spread it out evenly. Into the oven it went. 

The cake was golden in color from the top.

And well done, as you can see through my many testing holes!

I ran a knife through the edges of the cake and flipped it onto a plate. 
I rhythmically beat the cake pan on it’s bottom

…and gently removed it. Out came Mr. Fabulous.

All that’s left is cutting a nice slice
and topping the warm cake off with some vanilla ice cream!

I served this to some friends after dinner.

Here are my two favorite Looney Toons 🙂
Recipe adapted from Laura Vitale – Click here
or
just scroll down below for my little nips and tweaks
Makes 1 9×9 inch cake- circular or square
For the caramel:
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp rum (optional)
For the cake:
3 regular sized apples
squeeze of lemon juice
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
(Laura uses 1/2 tsp orange zest, but I didn’t have any on hand)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar 
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
 Plan of Action:
Preheat the oven to 325  F or 160 C. Grease your baking pan with some butter. 
1. Peel, slice, and core the apples. Drizzle atop some lemon juice (about 1 tsp) to prevent browning. 
2. In a saucepan or skillet, combine all the ingredients to make the caramel over medium low heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat, and pour into prepared pan. If you want, you could bake the cake in the skillet you make the caramel in by repeating the same steps without transferring the caramel.
3. Place the apples in rows or spirals- or whatever onto the caramel. Use them all! You can never have too many apples (unless your pan is too small, in which case, use a taller pan!). 
4. In a bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. 
5. In another bowl cream together the butter and sugar until well incorporated. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and beat yet again. 
6. Add 1/2 of the milk and 1/2 of the flour. Mix only to combine. 
7. Add the rest of the milk and flour, and give it a final stir. Make sure everything is incorporated well into the batter without over-mixing.
8. Evenly spread the batter on top of the apples.
9. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
10. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife through the edges of the pan. Place a plate on the top of the cake and flip it over. Tap the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. The reason this should be done warm is so that the caramel doesn’t set too much and does not stick to the pan. 
Serve warm with good quality ice cream. Sit back, relax and eat.