I kept my promise and managed to join in the Bake Along #30, hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Lena 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!
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.
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.
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.