This was my second attempt at apple-rosemary cake, but I don’t think I documented the results that time (it’s been a while). On my first attempt, I followed this recipe to the letter: http://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/apple-rosemary-upside-cake/ and while I liked the topping, I found the cake too dry and lacking in flavour, so this time I made some changes.
I kept the topping pretty much as is–I tend to use a bit less salt than most recipes call for, and I used two apples this time, because the first time they shrank so much that they looked skimpy on the finished cake. I used honeycrisp apples, as the recipe calls for, although I noticed that most other similar recipes specify granny smith. For the cake, I used the America’s Test Kitchen recipe for plain apple upside-down cake. (ATK is strict with access to their recipes if you don’t have one of their cookbooks, but you can find the one I used here, if you’re willing to do a free trial or you already have a subscription: https://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/4872-apple-upside-down-cake.) It suited my taste perfectly–a little like a pound cake in texture, although a bit lighter, and soaked up the caramel topping. It was a bit too soft in the middle, but this was the result of either because I didn’t cook the apples beforehand–the PBS recipe says not to, the ATK recipe says do–or because I didn’t leave it in the oven quite long enough. This is actually a common issue with my oven, and I find that many of my projects require 10 to 15 minutes longer than the recipe specifies. (I have no idea whether this is because of some issue such as altitude or humidity, or if it’s just that my oven is is a bit crap.)
Here are most of my ingredients. I got to use fresh rosemary from the garden, which always makes me feel sophisticated even though where I am our rosemary grows like a weed and requires little care. (Although it does have to be cleaned and checked for gremlins before use, unlike store-bought herbs.) The jar on the left-hand side contains light brown sugar–I should have opened it.
For future reference, I will rarely include flour in any picture of ingredients, because I keep my all-purpose flour in a massive 2-gallon jar in a corner and it’s usually too heavy to move about.
I used a 9-inch cast iron skillet to bake the cake in, because it allowed me to make the caramel and then just layer the apples and pour the batter on; the PBS recipe allows for the use of a cake pan, if you prefer it, and the ATK recipe actually specifies that. The recipe(s) involve a few steps, but none of them are particularly tricky. Here’s the caramel:
The apples go straight in over the caramel. I like putting them in a pinwheel pattern, but this is by no means necessary. The batter went straight over them–the batter barely covered the top of the apples, and I actually had to smooth it over with a spatula a few time to make sure the apples were all coated properly. The cake rose enough so that the apples were still more towards the top of the cake when it was turned out onto a plate. The finished cake reached just about to the top of the pan, but the only overflow was a little bit of the caramel that bubbled up near the handle.
The completed cake, before turning it out onto a plate and after. I let it cool in the pan about 15 minutes before turning it out.
This is definitely becoming one of my go-to desserts; it’s easy, relatively quick, requires little clean-up, and I really like the hint of savoury from the rosemary and salt. My father will not say that he liked it, but he had two large slices and asked what it was called, which is usually a sign that he’ll ask for me to make another one at some point.