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Apple and Calvados Upside Down Cake

June 29, 2014 Deanna No Comments


In the spirit of keeping my promise from the last post– here it is- An Apple and Calvados Cake.

This is a cake made from inspiration and love.

Inspiration from that dreamy trip to Normandy, where I bought the Calvados. A little more French inspiration from their beloved cake, the Tarte Tatin.

Combine that with my love of cakes, and ever more so, of upside-down cakes, and so this cake was born.


Made with caramelized apples, pure vanilla extract and Calvados, this cake is almost as heavenly as my time in Normandy.

After we photographed this beauty I took it to my sons graduation party at school. Within just a few minutes the cake was long gone and I was immediately bombarded with the demand “Recipe, NOW!”.


apple calvados cake

So here you go:

Apple and Calvados Upside-Down Cake

After a few trials I realized that could shorten the baking time if I didn’t cook the apples ahead of time, and the cake actually came out better. The liquids from the apples actually softened the caramel and created a really delicious top layer. If you don’t have Calvados you should- it really does add a unique flavor to the cake. The recipe will work without, so don’t sweat it if you cant find it.

Ingredients for one 10-inch cake pan:

For the caramel:

3 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ cup sugar

¼ cup Calvados

25g/1 oz. butter

A pinch of salt

For the cake:

150gr./5 oz. butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 tablespoons Calvados

2 cups self-raising flour

200 ml. yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F degrees. Line cake pan with parchment paper
  2. Place apples in a small bowl and pour over the lemon juice.
  3. Prepare the caramel: Heat a skillet over medium heat,  and add the sugar until melted (do not mix!)When the sugar has melted and turns a deep golden brown, carefully add the Calvados and stir to combine. Add the butter and stir until completely dissolved into the caramel. Pour the mixture into the bottom of the cake pan.
  4. Arrange the apples in a fan-like manner, overlapping slightly so that they cover the entire bottom of the pan.
  5. Prepare the batter: in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing until combined. Add the Calvados and vanilla and mix for another minute until combined.
  6. In a large bowl mix together the flour and yogurt/buttermilk/sour cream. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and fold until combined.
  7. Pour the batter over the apples and smooth out until even.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minute until a knife stuck in the cake comes out smooth. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

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