It's been weeks and weeks since I shared a Famous Fridays post with you so maybe it's fitting that I return with an homage to a magazine that is largely responsible for making me the cook that I am today: Bon Appétit!! To say that I love this magazine is a bit of an understatement--I think I've been subscribing to it for about 20 years now (it's the only cooking magazine I regularly turn to since the demise of Gourmet some years back, sniff, sniff) and over the years, it's rewarded me with scads of amazing recipes and food trends and restaurant and cookbook reviews and so much more. What I love about the magazine is that while it sometimes showcases highly trendy only-a-true-chef-could-make-it-kind-of-recipes, it also is chock full of recipes that taste like they could be found in your favorite restaurant, but are totally doable at home, like this wonderful recipe for Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cakes. And with apple season in full swing now, it's the perfect time to try this delectable dessert--the title alone had me drooling! Bring on the weekend and some Bon Appétit goodness!
Every month I do a little happy dance when I get my Bon Appétit issue in the mail and it's because of recipes like this! Who wouldn't be thrilled to have their very own little cake complete with apples, homemade caramel and ice cream served to them after a home-cooked meal? And for how fancy and pro it looks, it's actually pretty simple to make. You start by making the caramel, which takes no more effort than boiling sugar and water together and your complete attention, because the moment that you walk away, is the moment that your caramel will burn! Once it's done, you quickly fill the ramekins with the hot caramel.
Next you prepare the sautéed apples and arrange them on top of the caramel in the ramekins.
All that's left to do now, is make the batter, pour it over the apples and caramel in the cups and bake.
Once the cakes are done, you simply loosen them around the sides and invert them onto a plate. The top is now gorgeously gooey caramel covered apples with tender cake below. Divine!
Top with a generous scoop of vanilla (totally optional, but not in my book) and people will bow down to you!! These were a huge hit with my crew! Thanks Bon Appétit--you've got yourself one loyal fan here--can't wait to see what's coming next month!! Have a great weekend everyone--for those of you in the hurricane's path, my thoughts are with you--please be safe! I'll be back next week with some terrific seasonal recipes as we (gulp) head into mid-October!!!
Bon Appétit's Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cakes-Famous Fridays
Prep Time: For the Caramel and Apples: 20-25 minutes; For the Cake: 10-12 minutes to mix and about 35 minutes to bake
For the Caramel
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water
For the Apples
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large Golden Delicious apples (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges per apple
For the Cakes
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
Storebought vanilla ice cream or this recipe for serving (optional, but not really)
1. To make the caramel: Set up 6 1 1/4 cup ramekins on the counter. Set aside. Place the sugar and water in a heavy small saucepan and stir together. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then turn heat up, stop stirring and bring to a boil cooking until the mixture is a deep amber color. Every so often, swirl the pan around and use a wet pastry brush to brush down the sides of the pan if necessary. The whole process should take about 8 minutes. As soon as the caramel is done, pour it evenly among the ramekins. Carefully tilt and rotate the ramekins so that the caramel is evenly spread in the bottoms. Set aside.
2. To make the apples: In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apple wedges and sauté for about 10-12 minutes, until apples are slightly tender. Carefully arrange apple wedges into the caramel-lined ramekins, pushing down on them slightly.
3. To make the cakes: Preheat oven to 325ºF. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. Use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter with the sugar until well mixed together. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula in between additions, if necessary. Add in the vanilla and mix well. On low speed, add in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in two additions, scraping down the bowl as needed.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly over the apples and caramel in the ramekins, smoothing the tops and bake for about 35 minutes until the cakes are light golden brown and a tester inserted into the cake center comes out clean of cake crumbs (you may notice some caramel on the tester--this is fine). Carefully, run a small thin knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen and invert them onto plates. Serve immediately as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Note: Recipe adapted from a 2007 issue of Bon Appétit Magazine.