Need a dessert on a moment's notice? This cake has you covered - from start to table in 30 minutes. The spice and apples pair perfectly together and the touch of salt elevates the sweet maple caramel.
Microwave Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Maple Caramel
This cake is QUICK. When have you ever had an upside down cake on the table and ready to serve in 30 minutes? It's made in the microwave so no need to set the air conditioner to arctic blast just to compensate for the microwave. And it's super easy - just throw it together and it'll be ready by the time you finally decide on a movie to watch. Or ya know what? Serve it for breakfast with your coffee! I'm not much of a rule follower.
Can you cook a cake in the microwave?
Yes. yes you can. Is it going to be the best cake you ever had in your whole life? Probably not. But what this cake may lack in some areas, it more than makes up for in taste and ease. The spices pack a punch (kick up the ginger just a notch if you want - trust me!) The apples are just crisp enough and the salt sets off the sweet caramel like - WOW. If the thought of cooking in the microwave sets your teeth on edge like Mr. Reckon, then you can bake it in the traditional oven. Check out the recipe notes for instructions.
How do I bake a cake in the microwave?
Let me show you. I'm one of those people who keeps a cake mix in the house "just in case"; you never know when you're going to need to whip up a cake in the blink of an eye. So grab a standard white or yellow cake mix, I actually used French Vanilla in this recipe because that's what I had. If you have a spice cake mix - even better, just leave out the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. You'll need some applesauce and Apple butter. I'm going to stop there for a second for two things. One, I like chunky applesauce. ANY applesauce will do. Unsweetened... cinnamon... whatever. Two, do you have to use the apple butter? No. I think it gives the cake a little richer color and I always have it on hand because my bestie Kimmie makes killer apple butter; but it's not necessary, just use more applesauce to make up the difference. Grab a nice, firm, red apple and you're ready to make your cake. We'll talk about the sauce later.
First, peel, core, and slice your apples. Using a mandolin will ensure nice even slices.
You'll want your slices to be no less than ¼" in thickness; any thinner and they'll turn to mush, much thicker and they won't cook all the way through.
After you coat the baking dish with a thin layer of oil, arrange your apples in a single layer, slightly overlapping each slice, in a full circle around the dish. Throw in a few pecans for garnish in the center if you like (just make sure you put them in upside down.)
In a large bowl, mix the rest of your cake ingredients for about two minutes with a hand mixer on medium speed. Mine only has two speeds, super fast and warp speed, so be careful not to splatter batter all over yourself. 😉
The batter will be quite thick so you may want to spoon it out on top of your apples. I find if I just pour it in, the apples slide around and you'll loose that pretty apple ring you spent 3 minutes making. Make sure its all nice and level. Cover it and ...*sigh*... cook it in the microwave for 10 to 11 minutes. The cake will be done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, the cake springs back to the touch, and it has pulled away from the sides a little. Be careful taking it out of the microwave, the dish may be very hot.
As soon as you put the cake in the microwave, start your sauce. It only has two ingredients: maple syrup and butter. You'll need a little coarse sea salt to finish it off.
In a small saucepan, heat the syrup on medium and when little bubbles start to form around the edges, add in the butter.
Once you add the butter in, you're going to have to stir it all the time. Bring it to a boils and cook for an additional minute. Let cool for at the very least 10 minutes or until it has the consistency of honey. Just about this time your cake should be done and you will need to let it cool in the dish for about 10 minutes. Then very carefully, invert it on to your serving plate. Slowly drizzle the sauce over the cake making sure it reaches from edge to edge. Sprinkle the top with a good pinch of coarse sea salt. Now not all sea salt is the same consistency; some have some pretty huge chunks and who wants to bite into a salty boulder. If your grains are too large, pull out that mortar and pestle you hardly ever use and grind them a little smaller.
Grab a little whipped cream if you like and enjoy! And by the way - you don't have to tell anybody that you made it in a microwave - they really won't know the difference. But if you do be prepared to hear a lot of "Really? You made this in a microwave?!?" Don't say I didn't warn you.
Microwave Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Maple Caramel
- Microwave oven
- 2.5 quart round microwave safe baking dish
- 1 box white or yellow cake mix
- 1 apple peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 ¼ cups chunky applesauce
- ¼ cup apple butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 Tbs oil
- 3 Pecans for optional garnish
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbs cold butter
- Coarse sea salt for garnish
- Brush the inside of a 2.5qt round, microwave safe dish with the oil. It needs to be completely coated, including the sides
- Peel, core, and slice the apples to about ¼” thickness
- Arrange the apples in a single layer, slightly overlapping, around the edges of the dish until the circle is completed. Place a few halved pecans (upside down) in the center if desired
- In a large bowl mix all of the remaining ingredients with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, the batter will be quite thick
- Spoon the batter over the apples evenly and carefully as not to move them, smooth out the batter to make a level top
- Microwave covered for 10-11 minutes
- While the cake is cooking, make your sauce
- In a small saucepan, heat the syrup, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles start to form all around the edges
- Add the butter, and stirring continuously, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute stirring constantly
- Remove from heat and let cool about 15 minutes or until it is the consistency of honey
- The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake springs back to the touch. Uncover and let cool on a wire rack in the dish for 10 minutes
- Once the cake has cooled, carefully invert onto a serving dish
- Just before serving, pour the caramel over the cake, making sure the entire cake is covered
- Lightly sprinkle with sea salt