Photo by Judith Hausman
Typically, this recipe would be topped with a cornstarch-thickened sauce, maybe lemon, butterscotch or vanilla-flavored. This variation is more similar to an upside-down cake, for which I’ve always had a weakness. The lightly sweetened apple slices line the bottom of the baking pan, and the cake batter is poured on top and baked.
This is a recipe you might find on a stained index card in your grandmother’s collection. It’s a dessert each cook can make her own. For example, there’s no reason blueberries, pear or pineapple wouldn’t work just as well. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or a sprinkle of cardamom or nutmeg, as I did. Flip the servings over when you serve it if you want to show off the fruit. Bake it in a pie pan to serve in wedges or a square pan instead. Add whipped cream or ice cream to fancy it up. One recipe I found called for two separated eggs, which would make a lighter cake. Another suggested layering marmalade, rather than fruit or sauce, on the bottom of the baking dish in a pinch.
This recipe is adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 6th edition, published by Little, Brown and Co. (original copyright 1896 by Fannie Merritt Farmer).
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium apples, peeled, if desired, and sliced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon & nutmeg
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange the sliced apples in a greased pie pan or 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Add the egg, and beat until smooth. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and add this to the butter-sugar-egg mix, alternating with the milk. Spoon this batter over the apple slices. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting.
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