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Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake

Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake. A decades old family recipe that uses very simple ingredients to create a comfort food dessert that everyone will love. 

Close up photo of uncut Apple Upside Down Cake

Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake.

When I say old fashioned, that’s exactly what I mean. Made from scratch using simple ingredients just like your grandmother would have made. I’ve been making this one for decades.

sing;e slice of Apple Upside Down Cake on a white plate

Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake.

Especially at this time of year, this apple upside down cake is one of those recipes that you make when “there’s nothing in the house”. You likely have all the ingredients on hand to whip this one up at any time.

Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake.

I like to serve this one warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean or even caramel swirl ice cream or a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Delicious for a fall Sunday dinner dessert or at any time of year.

The only improvement I would make is to add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Red delicious apples on a red background. Stock photo.

I like Red Delicious Apples for this recipe but you can use any kind you like.

Originally published Jan 30, 2008

Apples in water s they do not discolour.

Apples in water s they do not discolour.

Preparing the glaze for the apples

Preparing the glaze for the apples

Apples cooking in a large saute pan.

Getting the apples ready for the cake

Arranging the apples in the bottom of the pan.

Arranging the apples in the bottom of the pan.

Love homemade cakes from scratch? We’ve put together a collection of the 25 Most Baked Cakes of the last 12 years on Rock Recipes. You are sure to find several to love.

Top Ten cake recipes photo collage with title text for Pinterest


Originally published September 2016 Updated March 2020.

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Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake photo with title text added for Pinterest

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Close up photo of uncut Apple Upside Down Cake
Yield: 12 Servings

Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Old Fashioned Apple Upside Down Cake - a decades old family recipe that uses very simple ingredients to create a comfort food dessert that everyone will love; a classic Autumn dessert that's only improved by a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.


For the Apple Layer

  • 6 apples peeled, cored and cut into thick wedges
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar, you can use light brown sugar if you prefer
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Cake Layer

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract (I use 2)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk


To Prepare the Apple Layer

  1. Melt the 1/3 cup butter in a large non-stick sauté pan.
  2. Add the sugar, water and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the mixture gets foamy, then add the apples.
  3. Cook the apples in the cinnamon and sugar syrup just until they begin to soften.
  4. Transfer the apple slices to the prepared pan and pour the syrup from the pan over them.

To Prepare the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan or a 10 inch round cake pan well.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Sift together the flour and baking powder.
  6. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. In general, I add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the milk in 2 additions.
  7. Dollop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls all over the surface of the apple layer and then spread out evenly to the edges of the pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. The toothpick test is the best way to ensure that this cake is fully baked.

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

    Nutrition Information



    Serving Size

    12 Servings

    Amount Per Serving Calories 277Saturated Fat 8gCholesterol 63mgSodium 133mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 2gSugar 34gProtein 1g
    Levelling the flour with the back of a butter knife
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    Honey Oat Bran Bread

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    Thursday 26th of November 2020

    Barry,I made this cake for a different dessert for Thanksgiving and I must say that while I LOVE pineapple upside down cake,THIS is my new favorite! It cooled as we ate dinner,mad because after about 15 minutes it was still hot(I forgot about it and STILL hadn't turned it over).A little steam rose from it and my boys (hubby and sons) were drumming their fingers in anticipation. They WOULDN'T wait for me to make a whipped topping so bryers vanilla ice cream was quicker. THANK YOU so much for such a delicious dessert!

    Susie Holly

    Tuesday 3rd of November 2020

    I want to make this today but I do not see anything about turning this over to show the apples on top. Isn't that what an upside down cake is supposed to look nice.

    I have a stone w/a lip that will hold it. Everything comes out better w/this stone, I did have a recipe for something like this one, and because of the stone, it looked and tasted better. I just need to know how to turn this recipe upside down. What is the prep for the pan and how long after the oven will it take before I try the upside down part.

    Can anyone help me? I really want to make it today.

    Thanks everyone, Susie

    Cheryl Wilkins Krause

    Sunday 25th of October 2020

    This was great. I baked in my large cast iron skillet I did add 1 tsp salt when I sifted the flour and baking powder together. Can’t imagine using 2 cups of flour with zero salt in any cake


    Saturday 19th of September 2020

    I made this in a 9 x 9 today and when I took it out of the oven there was about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pan. I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem. It smells wonderful but my creation seems more like a cobbler than a cake.

    Richard Moore

    Sunday 13th of September 2020

    Too much blogging before the recipe, I'm stupid, you didn't sat=y to turn the cake upside down on a plate before removing it from the pan. I used a spring loaded cake pan which worked fine. great recipe otherwise, total success!

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