Our apple upside-down cake is the ideal fall dessert. A classic upside-down cake recipe, it combines the best of fall flavor—from the actual spice cake batter, made with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, to the brown sugar, apple, and pecan topping. The brown sugar, apple, and pecan mixture that's cooked in the skillet becomes a gooey, rich topping for the cake when it's inverted. One of the best things about this apple upside-down cake is that it cooks in your cast-iron skillet from start to finish. If your cake doesn't come out of the skillet completely clean, no worries. Simply spoon the remaining topping on the cake. Unlike perfectly iced layer cakes, upside-down cakes don't have to look picture perfect this holiday season. Whether you're settling in for a cozy fall night or hosting Thanksgiving lunch for the family, this Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Cake is going to be a hit.

Southern Living


Credit: Jennifer R. Davick

Recipe Summary test

38 mins
1 hr 38 mins
Makes 8 to 10 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 375°.

  • Toss apple slices with lemon juice, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

  • Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in brandy. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

  • Sprinkle pecans over brown sugar mixture. Arrange apples in 2 concentric circles over pecans.

  • Beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add milk, sour cream, and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla, beating just until blended.

  • Whisk together baking mix, nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add nutmeg mixture to butter mixture, beating just until blended.

  • Beat egg whites in a large bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Spread batter over apples in skillet.

  • Bake at 375° for 50 to 54 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted halfway into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto a serving plate, replacing any topping that sticks to skillet on cake.

Chef's Notes

We tested with Bisquick Original All-Purpose Baking Mix.

To get a true reading of doneness, insert the wooden pick only halfway through the cake when testing.