---Taken by my mother.
I embarked on a brand new recipe, Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake, adapted from this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
Peel, core, and cut apples into thick slices.
Apparently, Apple Hill apples are wonderfully different than other apples, because I cut up the requisite four apples and probably only used two, perhaps two and a half. I used Honey Crisp apples, my favorite!
Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add 1/2 cup dark brown sugar and simmer.
Now I like to think that I have become very good at sort-of timing things due to a darkroom photography class, so I would recommend simmering about 4-5 minutes, which is the amount of time you should fix a black-and-white print. :D
While the original recipe calls for a 10-inch cake pan, I discovered we were lacking in such things and used a 9 1/2 inch pretty blue pie pan. Here's the part where you butter the pan. Here's the part where I forgot to butter the pan! Oops.
Pour the carmel mixture into the pie pan and arrange the apples in a pretty pattern on top of the carmel. Fill in any large gaps. Set aside.
Cream 1 stick butter with 1/2 cup sugar. Here, the recipe calls for mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately and gradually adding them to the butter mixture. It probably makes it much easier to mix, and makes the cake fluffier.
I did not do this.
I am lazy.
Add to the butter mixture 1 egg, 1/3 cup dark molasses, and 1/3 cup honey. (Yes, this recipe contains FOUR kinds of sugar! Wow!)
The original recipe calls for 1 cup buttermilk, which I did not have, so I made sour milk from 1 cup 2% milk stirred with a little rice vinegar to curdle. In general sour milk gives a more delicate flavor and texture than buttermilk.
Lazy Person's Tip: Since you aren't adding things gradually and alternately, stir slightly as you go.
Add 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt.
The fun part is always the spices! They give that nice homey fall-y taste: 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp cloves. Next time I think I will add more a tad more spices, and maybe even some nutmeg!
Stir or mix until the batter is smooth. (I don't have a fancy mixer, though it's always been on my cooking wish list! In general, mixing the batter by hand can be done with ease, so it's more of a dream than a necessity for me...)
Pour the batter over the apples and carmel. Place in 325-degree oven.
I have this thing about preheating ovens--I never do. It makes greater cooks than I cringe, but I've never noticed a difference....
Warning! This cake behaves like a fruitcake! That means it needs to bake for a long time on a slightly lower temperature. If your oven has a speed bake, do not use it! You'll bake the top of the cake and not the center. Oops. That's why I don't have an exact baking time for you! Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, which is about 40-50 minutes.
Turn the cake out onto a platter, expecting that the carmel might spill a little.
Delicious! And it makes a lovely coffeecake when it's cooled, by the way, despite the richness :)
Plans for next time: Try decreasing the sugars slightly. Add more spices.
Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake (adapted from this recipe):
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2-4 apples, depending on size
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup milk plus a small amount of rice vinegar to curdle
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves