Upside Down Bourbon-Caramel Spiced Apple Cake

Upside Down Bourbon-Caramel Spiced Apple Cake: The Briarwood Baker

For the past couple days after Christmas our house has been filled with FOOD (mainly sugary, delicious, “I’m raising your blood sugar levels to astronomical proportions” types of food), so I swore off baked goods and sugar for a week. That lasted allll of…one day. The Briarwood Baker swearing off baked goods…ha ha. Anyways, since yesterday concluded our slew of Christmas parties with both sides of the family, I got back in the kitchen to develop an easy dessert to serve. I don’t know if you recall the fabulous Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart I made for Thanksgiving, courtesy of the fine folks at Fine Cooking, but the caramel used was fantastic in a rich, smooth, bourbon-y kind of way. And because I realized that the majority of my recipes use booze, which adds a wonderful flavor to any dessert, I decided to carry on the tradition and make a cake with the bourbon caramel.

Upside Down Bourbon-Caramel Spiced Apple Cake: The Briarwood Baker

Since we still have apples from our orchard, I wanted to use them up, and I thought of making an upside down apple cake with the bourbon caramel glazing the top. To add some texture to the cake, I chopped up some walnuts and sprinkled them on top of the apples before spreading the cake batter over them. And to add even more texture, I sprinkled the top (which ends up being the bottom) of the cake with brown sugar. The sugar caramelizes and becomes crunchy and adds a nice contrast to the cake and apples.

And after
And after

This cake can be made in a pinch, is super-easy since you layer everything in one pan, and has a complex combination of flavors between the bourbon, caramel, and spices. Even though I failed in my post-Christmas resolution, this upside down bourbon-caramel spiced apple cake (try saying that ten times fast) made it completely worth it.

And as I was contemplating the state of my blood sugar, I remembered the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This dessert counts, right? Right.

Upside Down Bourbon-Caramel Spiced Apple Cake: The Briarwood Baker


Upside Down Bourbon-Caramel Spiced Apple Cake

For the caramel:

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup bourbon

For the cake:

2 medium Honeycrisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Pinch of cloves

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Additional dark brown sugar for sprinkling on top


For the caramel:

In a two quart saucepan, cook the brown sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat until the butter and sugar is melted. Slowly whisk in the cream and simmer 7-9 minutes (some sugar will initially seize) or until the mixture is thick and smooth and the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Whisk in the bourbon and simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the mixture is once again thick and the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible. Pour into a heat proof measuring cup and set aside as you make the cake.

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan and set aside. Peel and slice the apples, chop the walnuts, and set both aside as well.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined, about 3 minutes. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, beating until smooth. Add in the yogurt and mix until combined.


Pour 3/4 cup of the bourbon caramel into the bottom of the cake pan. Arrange the sliced apples on top of the caramel, completely covering the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the apples, and then pour the cake batter over the apples and nuts, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the top of the batter with brown sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes and then invert onto a cake plate. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top of the cake.

The cake is best served warm.

Serves: 12


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Charisma says:

    Oh this look incredible! I love the flavours here!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!

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