Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

Well this is turning out to be one of the most random internships I could have imagined. Yesterday I spent all day folding origami butterflies for a monarch exhibit and scanning pictures of wildflowers from the 1940s. Today I folded more butterflies and cut out little magnetic pictures of plankton. 

Among these funny little crafty things I'm doing, I am learning some interesting stuff about the inner workings of museum curation and the collection of local natural history. Plus I get to go to the Pacific Grove monarch sanctuary and film and take pictures of the butterflies as part of my job... not too shabby!

When I'm not working, I'm off exploring Monterey, shopping at little thrift stores, and cooking and baking with my friends who are hosting me! My friend Maria, who is an expert baker and has even made award-winning cookies, has never actually tried vegan baking before. I knew I had to find an incredible recipe to prove that baked goods can be just as delicious without all the dairy and eggs. Angela's Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake turned out to be the perfect thing.

Unfortunately, Trader Joe's does not carry brown rice syrup, so we used a different recipe for vegan caramel. The cake still came out amazing- everyone in the house was blown away!

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Spice Cake

For the caramel (adapted from The New Vegan Table):

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup earth balance
3/4 cup soy creamer
1/2 tsp vanilla

For the cake (from Oh She Glows): 

4 apples (we used sweet fuji apples- yum!), peeled and sliced thinly

1/2 cup earth balance
1/2 cup sugar
1/3+1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

1. To make the caramel, stir together the sugar, water and maple syrup in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until it reaches 248º. Carefully add the earth balance and soy creamer and whisk quickly. Lower the heat and stir for about 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

2. Grease a 9-10" round pan and once the caramel has cooled slightly, pour about 2/3 of the batch over the bottom of the pan. Place apple slices on top, layering them if necessary. 

3. Preheat the oven to 325º. With a mixer or by hand, mix the earth balance and sugar until fluffy. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a small bowl, and combine the dry in a medium bowl. 

4. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the butter and sugar, mixing well as you go. Pour the batter over the caramel and apples and spread evenly with a spatula. 

5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 10-20 minutes, then flip onto a plate and pour the rest of the caramel sauce on top. Serve and enjoy!

This cake is warm and comforting on a chilly day!


  1. haha, I remember doing some crazy things on my first internship at an art museum during high school.
    I ended up having three internships there - the last two being the best. I did school tours and art classes for kindergarten kids at the museum on the second, curating exhibits on the third.
    Is curating what you want to pursue? Just asking because that's what I'm hoping to do after college, too :)

    Anyway, this upside down cake looks divine! I'm not sure that I have ever tried an upside down cake, but they definitely look tempting.

    1. Photography and studio art is actually what I would really love to do, but I figure if I get into the visual art world it would be great to have museum curation skills! It's all really interesting stuff, too. That's awesome that it's what you're pursuing. Teaching art classes to kindergarteners sounds like a fun (and exhausting) time, I might be doing some of that later on in this internship!

      Oh, and upside-down cakes are my favorite things to make. I have another one coming up soon, so you'll have some options if you want to try :)

  2. This cake looks delicious! I think I will try making it to celebrate finishing the book dummy I am almost done with! And the monarchs on the tree look like leaves! Beautiful.

  3. Anonymous15.1.12

    Yum! I love decadent looking vegan desserts that are simple. Your intern sounds like fun. Is it paid? I forget how internships work.

    1. Thank you! And nope, it's a volunteer internship!

  4. so glad you are enjoying your time in california and lucky that you get to spend time in with butterflies! Never been to the monarch conserve but would love to go... beautiful cake btw!!

    1. It's a lovely place to visit, definitely check it out! And thank you!

  5. Caramel cakes and butterfly trees. I want to go there!