Grilled Apple Upside Down Cake with Creme Fraiche

I love to make this recipe and hope that you will too!

Grilled Apple Upside Down Cake with Creme Fraiche

Serving Size - 8 people


1 stick unsalted butter ¼ cup sugar 4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters Juice of half small lemon 2 cups Granny Smith apples, roughly chopped 2 cups sugar 2 eggs ¾ cup Wesson or other vegetable oil 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus a pinch for sautéed apples 2 teaspoons vanilla 4 cup black walnuts, lightly toasted Creme Fraiche for serving (see below)

Homemade Creme Fraiche I love making my own creme fraiche and like the taste better than store bought, so I urge you to make it, but be forewarned it takes a couple of days to thicken before you can use it.

2 pints heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Pour heavy whipping cream in a clean glass jar with lid. Add the buttermilk, shake gently and close lid. Place jar in the warmest part of your house (i.e., on top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 2 days until thickened. When the cream has cultured, use immediately and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Preheat grill (Indirect/Medium-Low Heat) or oven to 350ºF. Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet, small braiser or other oven-safe pan on the stove. Add butter to the pan and melt. Add sugar and stir until sugar starts to turn brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the sugar; it will continue to cook even after you add the apples. Add a pinch of sea salt and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Lower the heat and add quartered apples. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until caramelized and slightly soft. Arrange sautéed apples neatly in the bottom of pan or in a 10-inch cake pan. Let cool to room temperature.

Mix coarse chopped apples with sugar and set aside. Meanwhile, using a blending fork or whisk, beat eggs with oil just to combine; add vanilla. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and set aside. Mix flour into egg mixture a little at a time until all the flour is incorporated and there are no lumps.

Add apple-sugar mixture and their juices. Mix well to evenly distribute apples, sugar and batter. Add walnuts. Let sit for 15 minutes to extract juices from the apples. Mix again to incorporate any apple juices. The batter will be very thick, almost like cookie dough. Place batter on top of sautéed apples. (If you have any batter left over bake in muffin cups.)

Place in the center of the cooking grate and bake at 350º F for 11/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: start testing for doneness after 60-70 minutes since all oven bake slightly different. This cake takes a full 90 minutes in my oven but takes just over an hour in my mother's oven. Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a clean cake plate. Serve warm with creme fraiche (see recipe for homemade version).