adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Cardamom Apple Upside Down Cake

On Sunday, our dear friends Nate and Jess had us over for a delicious farewell dinner.  It was our first of many goodbyes and it wasn't easy!  We always love spending time with them, and lately their friendship has been especially valuable because a few years ago they also relocated to France with the same company as The Hub.  We've been picking their brains and asking them countless questions over the last year as we've worked to make this move happen, and they've been so helpful - we owe them so much! These two sure sent us off in style with a fancy twist on some All-American favorites.  The menu consisted of a mix of Lamb and Pork Sausage Burgers with Carmelized Onions and Mushrooms, Oven Fried Potatoes with Harissa Aoli, and Romaine-Raddichio Salad with Asparagus and Goat Cheese.  I was so busy stuffing my face that I forgot to take pictures.  I decided to follow along with this theme by making some kind of unique apple dessert.  After all, what's more American than Apple Pie?  Even though it's more of a fall dessert, when I found this recipe for Cardamom Apple Upside Down Cake on The Kitchn, I knew it was the winner.


So what is cardamom anyway?  Well, it's a spice commonly used in Indian cooking that looks like ground pepper and tastes like cinnamon and cloves mixed together.  You don't want to have a heavy hand with this spice because it is strong!  The cake turned denser than I thought it would, but the top crust formed by the brown sugar and butter made for a yummy complement to soft apples and aromatic spices inside.  I topped it with some homemade whipped cream and everyone gobbled it right up. 

This recipe is not a one bowl recipe like the last cake I made, but it was still pretty easy to make. Here's how it's done: You'll Need:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 medium-sized firm apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for the apples
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
Directions Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until well-combined. Let it bubble for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and spread in the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

bubbling butter

Peel the apples and core them. Cut them in thick slices, and cut each slice in half. Arrange the apples cut-side up in the prepared pan. Sprinkle them lightly with cinnamon.

pretty apples


Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, as well as 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder.
dry ingredients
Warm the milk in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and keep warm until the butter melts completely.

warm milk and butter

While the milk is warming, beat the eggs for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are very thick and pale.
beating the eggs
Gradually add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes. Add the flour mixture, and then the hot milk. Stir until the batter is smooth, and pour it over the apple.

all ingredients stirred together

ready for the oven!

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for a full 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the inside of the pan to help release the cake, and invert onto a serving plate.

nice and golden brown

pretty cake!

Serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

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