Warm Apple-Cornmeal Upside-down Cake

I kept my promise and managed to join in the Bake Along #30, hosted by Joyce of Kitchen FlavoursLena of Her Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids. This time it’s a specific recipe: Warm Apple-Cornmeal Upside-down Cake from Bon Appetit. You’ll be seeing all different renditions of this cake popping up around the blogs soon!

Honestly I was thankful for the opportunity to use up my overflow of apples. A couple of weeks ago at a Mingle event organised by The Expat Magazine, we were given bags of apple by the event sponsor, Luv’ya, an apple export company. These apples are from New Zealand and there were quite a mixture, from Royal Gala to a new variety called Smitten Apples (what a name!). I’ve been making apple desserts since. Though nothing as special as this cake. It calls for cornmeal. Initially I was confused: isn’t cornmeal basically polenta? Google told me they differ in grind sizes but basically are the same thing. *shrugs* Time to explore more recipes using cornmeal then.

Apparently the recipe in the book differs slightly from the one on the website. I’ve used the website version and it turned out alright — The whole cake was gone within 24 hours and we only have 2 persons in this household!

Warm Apple-Cornmeal Upside-down Cake.

Recipe from Bon Appetit

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar for caramel and cake batter
1 1/2 pounds Apples (about 4 medium, I’ve used a mixture of Royal Gala, Ambrosia and Smitten Apples), peeled, quartered, cored, each quarter cut into 2 wedges
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup boiling water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 1 1/2-inch-high sides; line pan with 10-inch-diameter parchment paper round (parchment will come 1/2 inch up sides of pan). Butter parchment.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch-diameter nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and cook until sugar dissolves and mixture turns deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add apple wedges and gently shake skillet to distribute caramel evenly. Cover and cook until apples release their juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until apples are tender and caramel thickens and coats apples, stirring occasionally, about 13 minutes. Transfer apples and caramel syrup to prepared cake pan, spreading evenly.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl to blend. Place cornmeal in large bowl; pour 1/2 cup boiling water over and stir to blend. Add 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar to cornmeal mixture. Using electric mixer, beat until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk in 2 additions each. Pour batter over apples in pan.

Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (only took me about 30 minutes). Cool cake in pan 5 minutes. Run small knife between cake and pan sides to loosen cake. Carefully invert cake onto ovenproof or microwavable platter and peel off parchment. Cool 15 minutes.

Ohai slightly off-centre shot. Check out the lovely sheen from the caramel. The aroma is incredible.

It would be wonderful to serve with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, but I didn’t want to add even more calories to this! Delicious enough on its own.

Fancy a slice?

I love how the cornmeal gives it a different texture and taste. The cake is slightly denser than usual too. The caramel just completes the cake. This is really quite divine! A keeper, definitely.

I’ll be heading to Melbourne tomorrow for a week, there will be one or two scheduled posts while I’m away (I’m slightly more organised this time). Looking forward to catching up with my friends. Do drop me a facebook message or a comment here if you have time to meet up too.

Meanwhile, do check out the other blogs with their apple cakes!

36 Comments Add yours

  1. theragingcook says:

    Yep, fancy a slice right now! I like the presentation and arrangement pattern of the apple slices well done!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thanks!! Should be a piece of cake for you. 😀

  2. Hi Kelly,
    Gone in 24 hours, and only two persons are responsible for that? Hahaha! I’m glad that you enjoyed the cake! Thank you for baking along with us once again!
    Have a good trip!

    1. kellysiew says:

      I know! I was supposed to give a quarter or even half to my friend but ummm…… we were both equally as guilty! lol.

  3. Ames says:

    Looks lovely, Kelly! Definitely a fan of anything with apples in it so this is my kind of dessert for sure 🙂

    1. kellysiew says:

      Yeah love finding new ways to make apple desserts!

  4. I went to the baking store this evening and saw polenta. Almost mistaken that for cornmeal 🙂 This would be my first time baking with cornmeal. Yours look as good as the others, well done!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thanks for dropping by! Good luck with yours!

  5. lena says:

    hi kelly, now i am also confused..i think i’ve seen polenta before and if i remember correctly, they come in blocks..it could be another thing. Your apple cake looks kind of rustic to me and i can see that the texture is slightly different. Happy to hear that you find it delicious, have a safe trip to melbourne , catch up later! Thanks for your participation!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Polenta is meant to be slightly coarser but there are finer ones too. The reason they look like a block it’s because the packet is vacuum packed. When you open it it looks just like cornmeal haha. I hope that hadn’t confused you even further! Let’s not throw grits into the discussion 😛

  6. jeannietay says:

    Hi Kelly, I used the same recipe as yours too, I think this cake is very delicious! Yours looks so golden!

  7. Zoe says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Glad that you are baking along with us! Glad that you like this cake. I can see that your cake is slighter denser than mine… maybe the slight difference did make a little difference 😀


    1. kellysiew says:

      It’s nevertheless delicious though. Thanks for picking the recipe!

  8. Anuja says:

    Gone in 24 hrs…now that sounds like a “hit” cake! This is really a nice recipe to have in your repertoire. Love the caramalised apples on top.

    1. kellysiew says:

      It is! I’m not even a huge desserts lover hehe. 🙂

  9. Wiw that looks so good! The last time we attempted a tarte tarn thing it failed 0_0

    1. kellysiew says:

      I love apple tarts Aton too! But I used a store bought puff pastry last time so it was ok. Hehehe

  10. Kelly, your cake looks beautiful! Wow I am impressed that two persons can eat all that cake. But yes, this cake is addictive!!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Yeah! I couldn’t believe how good it was!

  11. Ben says:

    That looks great!

  12. I like upside down cakes in general and this one would be gone like in an hour. Looks delicious.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Yah! Looking forward to trying the pineapple version next time.

  13. Hi Kelly,
    I knew you from bake along, Just like to drop by to say hello. Your apple cornmeal upside down cake looks great. I love this cake too and wow! yours was gone in 24 hours..that must be really yum.

    mui mui (doreen)

  14. Have a pleasant trip to Melbourne. Its a lovely place, I been there twice,,:)

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thanks for dropping by! Yeah I’ve lived in Melbourne for about 12 years before I moved to KL temporarily and I miss it everyday. It is indeed lovely! I still come back every few months to see my friends though.

      Glad to be baking together, see you at the next one I hope!

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