Toffee Apple Upside-Down Cake

toffee apple upside down cake from gbbo great british bake off bbc recipe review

Made a couple to weeks back, this cake was an amazing dessert to accompany a big Sunday lunch.  Not that it lasted long enough, but I’m sure a slice would be amazing any day of the week!

I wanted to make a dessert that used apples – as some of the best traditional desserts do – but something with a bit more of a challenge than your usual pie or custard.

toffee apple upside down cake granny smith apples three

Not very much research later, and I stumbled across this great recipe over on the BBC, from last years Great British Bake Off. As I’ve never made anything upside-down before, let alone something so spectacular, I followed the letter as close as I could, so won’t retype here. The only thing I added was a little spice to the cake mix which really ramped up the taste – a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and half a teaspoon each of ginger and nutmeg.

First step in the cake was by far the most challenging – toffee! I’ve not made anything like a tarte tatin before so was intrigued to see how this would work. Such a simple combination of water and sugar, boiled over a high heat until golden. But leave it just 10 seconds too long and it turns into a black, vicious, tar-like substance that will smoke out the kitchen!

burnt toffee sugar and water instructions
smoke in kitchen from burnt baking

Oops! Lesson learnt, and pan cleaned (you need HOT water to get this toffee off anything…), a second batch fared much better, and it was poured into the tin and covered with apple rings and slices.

layering apple rings in toffee upside down cake loose bottomed tin

Cake batter mixing and baking was a doddle after the caramel disaster (and to add insult to injury the house smelt of burnt sugar for a good few days after).
The next obstacle was to turn the cake out, and the moment of truth for its’ upside-down-ness, would it stay in one piece?

toffee apple upside down cake viewed from the top

turned out toffee apple upside down cake apple rings didn't stick

It made it! Just about – you can see a few small pieces of apple stuck on the greaseproof paper in the background. Next time I’d perhaps use large slices of apple, and not so many small bits.

As it cooled on the rack I was slightly concerned that all the toffee seemed to be dripping down the sides…

toffee dripping from upside down apple cake like tart tatin

…but other than put a tray underneath to catch the drips there wasn’t a lot I could do! Actually it turned out this wasn’t such a bad thing, when we ate the cake it was good to have sticky toffee flavour all the way down.

Finally – a third batch of toffee:

making caramel from sugar and water easy recipe bubbling in non stick pan

This was drizzled over the cleaned baking tin bottom, so as to create a sugar sculpture shell that was the same size as the cake itself.

toffee drizzles on round baking pan for hardened sugar topping freeform artistic cake topping

Quite how it was supposed to “gently remove” in one piece is still completely beyond me, but I was quite happy with my 3 pieces, you can hardly tell and they still finished off the cake to a T!

caramel apple upside down cake with abstract freeform sugar work on op

caramel toffee crown on apple upside down cake sugar toffee pieces

I have to say it looked amazing – the colours on the top were just fantastic, reds, golds, and browns, more autumnal than our current weather! On arrival at our Sunday dinner I took the lid off the tin to reveal an amazing scent of spices, apples, and sweet, sticky, sticky toffee.

hardened sugar pattern caramel on for toffee apple upside cake from gbbo recipe

toffee apple upside down cake caramelised sugar crownt topping

So I’d say another technical challenge really rather well conquered! Any suggestions on what to try next…?

toffee apple upside down cake with toffee sugar caramel crown art

toffee crown sugar artwork on top of upside down cake


9 thoughts on “Toffee Apple Upside-Down Cake

      • Wow, that’s an impressive first! I usually use a combination of butter and sugar to sit the fruit in before pouring over the batter. If I’m feeling really lazy then a few spoons of golden syrup does the trick magnificently, very sweet though! {in a good way!}
        I have never finished them off with a caramel crown, Upside-downs are usually my back-up quickie!

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