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Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Cake

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett
Hands-on time 38 mins
Total time 1 hr, 38 mins
Yield Makes 8 to 10 servings
The brown sugar, apple, and pecan mixture that’s cooked in the skillet and then topped with a spiced cake batter become a gooey, rich topping for the cake when it’s inverted.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
  • 2 teaspoons brandy
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose baking mix
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 375°.

  2. Toss apple slices with lemon juice, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

  3. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in brandy. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

  4. Sprinkle pecans over brown sugar mixture. Arrange apples in 2 concentric circles over pecans.

  5. Beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add milk, sour cream, and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla, beating just until blended.

  6. Whisk together baking mix, nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add nutmeg mixture to butter mixture, beating just until blended.

  7. Beat egg whites in a large bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Spread batter over apples in skillet.

  8. Bake at 375° for 50 to 54 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted halfway into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto a serving plate, replacing any topping that sticks to skillet on cake.

  9. Note: We tested with Bisquick Original All-Purpose Baking Mix.

Cook's Notes

To get a true reading of doneness, insert the wooden pick only halfway through the cake when testing.