Dairy Free,  Dessert,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Layered Cinnamon Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake (Vegan)

Happy weekend again!


I’ve broken into some more really festive flavors today and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you. If anything says “Hello Autumn!” better than apples, caramel, and cinnamon all together in one amazing package then I’d love to know what it is because I can’t imagine.

I’ve had a lot going on this last week, actually it’s been more like this whole last month. I’ve been telling you guys some of the stuff going on in my behind-the-scenes life so I don’t want to repeat, but have I mentioned how this is the time of year that our little lakeside town in Patagonia starts to come alive with tourists? Yeah, and the weather has been drastically turning into Spring so that’s making it hard to focus on anything inside when you can literally smell the season in the air with all the windows open (which I’m so excited it’s warm enough for that now!). And then, in defiance of the season, I’ve been trying to get inspired by autumn foods like this cake at the same time so it’s getting a little confusing.

On another side note; you know, I love what I do but it’s surprisingly hard to describe what it’s like to be a food blogger. I mean, I know food blogging has many similarities to other hobbies or occupations as far as trying to balance the chaos and multi-task inside it, but there really is so much more to it than people think. I’ve recently tried explaining some things about it to different people, but I never feel like anyone can fully understand until they’ve done it. It’s the type of thing that you develop a love/hate relationship with. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely more love, but my point is that it’s not all sunshine and cupcakes, it’s tough stuff. Just sayin’.

So since I’ve been crunched for time more often lately, I’ve found myself dreaming up some great shortcuts to make my overall cooking easier. For example, this cake has been on my list for a few weeks now because I got inspired when I made my first upside down cake a few months ago. As soon as I flipped that skillet and saw the yummy caramelized fruit on top I pictured how good it would be with apples and also how gorgeous it would be as a layered cake so I’ve been planning to make this ever since. I only slightly adapted the recipe to make it fit this version and, I don’t know why exactly, but it felt like cheating somehow.

Then I started asking myself why and how it could possibly be a bad thing when my simplifying is making your life easier too. Can you see my logic? Not to mention that I was combining the best of the best for this creation by taking some pieces from other favorite recipes, like the caramel sauce I originally made for these cookie bars. The secret is browning the butter first and it’s become my favorite way ever to do caramel. It just had to be included here. Then besides the cake and caramel, the other part of the recipe is the cooked apples of course and for that it’s relatively the same as making a pie filling, very easy.

I came to the conclusion that at the end of the day there was no way to go wrong with this whole idea. It was agreed that when the craving for apples hits at any time during the season, this is the go-to cake for it. Oh, and a very important detail, this cake is most enjoyable while wearing cozy sweaters and/or fluffy socks!

Layered Cinnamon Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake (Vegan)

Nothing screams Autumn quite like caramel and apples. This cake celebrates this age old favorite combination in an incredibly delicious way!

Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 16 - 18 servings

Ingredients

Caramel:

  • 1/4 cup 1/2 stick vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or any plant-based milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons strong black coffee
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Apples:

  • 7 - 8 medium apples peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cake:

  • 1 cup aquafaba liquid from 2 cans cooked chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup organic vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or organic vegetable shortening melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • non-dairy vanilla ice cream or non-dairy whipped cream for serving optional

Instructions

For the Caramel:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until butter is melted and bubbling. Turn off heat for a minute and slowly pour in the cream, milk, and coffee (careful, it will sizzle), After that, add the sugar and salt and return to heat and stir gently until it comes to a boil. Boil for about 7 or 8 minutes until its thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla. You should have about 1 1/3 cups.

For Apples:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the apples and lemon juice. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add the sugar and continue cooking for another few minutes until the juice has started to caramelize with the sugar, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle in the vanilla and cinnamon then gently stir to combine. Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans with butter or oil and spread 1/4 of the mixture (per pan) into an even layer on the bottom of each of the 3 pans, reserving the last of the apples for the top of the cake. Pour 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce(per pan) over the apples and spread with a spatula.
  2. For Cake:

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Pour aquafaba into bowl of stand mixer and beat until its begins to look light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Slowly drizzle in sugar while beating on high and continue until it forms stiff peaks (it should take about 5 more minutes). In separate bowl, stir together the lemon juice, applesauce, melted coconut oil, oil, and vanilla extract.
  2. Now, while continuing to beat the aquafaba mixture, slowly pour in the liquids and beat just until evenly combined (the volume of fluffiness will fall a bit but don't worry, it was still worth it for the end result).
  3. Now in another separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and add the sifted dry ingredients. Use a large spatula to gently fold in the ingredients just until fairly combined. (It's actually better to leave some small lumps then to overmix and lose volume.)
  4. Carefully pour the batter over the apples in the prepared pans and place them in the oven to bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the top starts to brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Remove cakes from oven and allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes then loosen the edges all the way around with a thin bladed knife. Now, wearing oven mitts, invert a large plate over each of the pans and carefully flip them upside down while holding the plate tightly to the pan. Use a rubber spatula to scrape out any of the extra syrup left in pan and pour over each cake.
  6. Allow them to cool for another few minutes to avoid damaging the cake, then carefully layer all three on top of each other so that you have a triple layer cake. Spoon the reserved apples over the top and drizzle extra caramel as desired. You can also add any garnishes you'd like such as nuts or leaves and flowers for decoration.
  7. You can eat it while it's still warm or allow it to cool completely (warm is AMAZING!!). Oh, and ice cream or whipped cream with it is delicious!

9 Comments

  • CakePants

    Wow, this cake looks phenomenal – the perfect combination of flavors for fall! I definitely sympathize with you that blogging isn’t all sunshine and cupcakes. Sometimes it’s annoying dark skies that make photography nearly impossible or recipes that you just can’t get right or recipes that do turn out perfectly but are too hideously unphotogenic to ever make it on the site. For what it’s worth, though, your gorgeous posts always make my mouth water…and this one is certainly no exception!

  • Shannon

    Wowee! Can’t wait to try this on the family! You’ve outdone yourself Tori! 🙂 Any recommendations on what varieties of apples might work best from the ones here in the States? I live in California where we are fortunate to have so many varieties available to us. Just wondering if you had any particular favorites.

    Thanks for your continued amazing work! You do a beautiful job…and yes–I can only begin to imagine how crazy it must be keeping up a food blog. Continued blessings and success being sent your way from the San Francisco Bay Area!

    • Tori

      Hey Shannon, thanks for your sweet comment. My favorite apples are definitely Pink Ladies but for this cake I actually used a combination of some sour green apples and some very sweet galas, but any type will be delicious. I hope you love this if you have a chance to make it!

  • Laura

    Hi there! This looks delicious. I’m not a coffee drinker – could I substitute water for the 2 tbsp coffee in the caramel?

    Thanks!
    Laura

    • Tori

      Hi Laura! I totally understand and you can definitely skip the coffee, however it’s not necessary to replace it with water. I hope you love this!

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