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Apple Upside-Down Cake with Calvados Caramel Sauce

Posted May 28 2009 12:23am

This is a gluten free adaptation of a cake that I made years ago. It is a white cake topped by carmelized apples and just dripping with an intense Calvados caramel sauce. I had been fantasizing about this cake recently. My husband asked me the other day if Calvados (apple brandy) was gluten free (it is), which triggered memories of eating this decadent upside-down cake.

The original recipe is from the November 1995 edition of Gourmet magazine. For my version, I made it gluten free, dairy free and egg free. I replaced the butter with Earth Balance buttery spread (margarine), the sour cream with soy milk, the sugar with Succanet (unrefined sugar), and the eggs with egg replacer. Instead of making my own cake I bought a box of Whole Foods' new gluten free version of white cake mix and added cinnamon, chopped apples, and vanilla to the batter.

This cake got two thumbs up from my in-laws, here for Thanksgiving, who couldn't tell that it was a gluten free cake. In fact it was so good my mother-in-law asked for the recipe !


3 1/2 Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (or other margarine)
2/3 cup succanet

Cake Batter:

15 ounce package 365 Gluten Free White Cake Mix (or other mix)
1/2 Granny Smith apple
1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
2 eggs or egg replacer
1/2 cup soy or nut milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Calvados Caramel Sauce:

1 cup Succanet
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy)
1 tablespoon Earth Balance buttery spread

To make the topping, peel and quarter 3 1/2 Granny Smith apples, reserving the remaining 1/2 apple for the cake batter.

In a well seasoned 12 inch cast-iron skillet, melt Earth Balance over moderately low heat until just melted. Stir in Succanet until combined. Arrange apple quarters, cut side up, in the skillet. Cook on low undisturbed about 25 minutes or until apples are tender in the center, and Succanet mixture is carmelized.

Make the cake batter while the apples are cooking.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Peel the remaining half apple and cut into small dice.

In a large bowl, mix together softened Earth Balance with vanilla, eggs or egg replacer, cinnamon and milk. Add cake mix and mix will (you can use and electric mixer if you have one, I just mixed by hand and it came out fine). Fold in diced apple.

Remove skillet from heat, and gently pour batter over the apples, being careful not to disturb them. Use a spatula to spread the batter over the apples more evenly. Put the skillet in the oven, either on a baking tray or aluminum foil (to catch any caramel drips) and bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around edge of pan to loosen and invert onto a plate.

To make the caramel sauce, cook succanet over moderate heat, stirring, until melted. Remove from heat and stir in water and Calvados. Return to heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Stir in butter.

Serve the cake with vanilla (soy) ice cream and warm caramel sauce (and a glass of Calvados).

This cake takes a little bit of time to make but it is well worth the effort if you want something really spectacular.

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