Whether you are looking for a dessert to serve at Thanksgiving or you just crave an over-the-top apple dessert, this Apple Upside Down Bundt Cake recipe is for you. It takes the sticky, caramel goodness of an apple upside down cake and mixes it with the slightly crusty, yet insanely moist texture of a Bundt cake. Your friends and family will be begging for a second helping!
I love bringing this cake to any autumn event: Halloween parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas parties... It is truly a versatile dessert that everyone will be happy to see at their dessert table. To be honest, I sometimes make this cake in the spring and summer! Apples are always available at the supermarket, so why not?
I love serving this cake after a meal of Baked Chicken Thighs with Apple Cider Sauce, Autumn Roasted Vegetables, and Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes. If you are looking for additional autumn-inspired dessert recipes, try my Hot Toddy Spice Cake (also baked in a Bundt pan!) or my Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can wash it all down with a glass of Hot Apple Cider.
This recipe calls for many standard cake-baking ingredients, with a few surprise ingredients thrown in for some pizzazz!
- apples (I like using a mix of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp Apples)
- baking soda
- ground nutmeg
- ground ginger
- unsweetened applesauce
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- brown sugar
- apple cider (homemade or store-bought)
See recipe card for quantities.
Below are the steps I follow to bake an Apple Upside Down Bundt Cake.
Make the Caramel Topping. Spread evenly into the bottom of your Bundt pan.
Fold together the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients using a spatula.
Peel and thinly slice 2-3 apples. Peel and chunk 2-3 apples.
Place each thin apple slice into the caramel filling in the Bundt pan, making a pretty design of your choice.
Toss the apple chunks in flour and gently mix into the cake batter.
Pour the cake batter into the Bundt pan and bake in the oven at 350°F/177°C.
Hint: I always peel and slice my apples last so they don't turn brown, or oxidize.
Below are two short videos demonstrating how to slice the apples for this cake.
Let's Talk Cake Pans
This recipe is baked using a standard, 10-inch Bundt pan. (affiliate link)
If you don't have a Bundt pan, fear not! You can assemble this cake using a standard cake pan. I recommend using a 10-inch round (affiliate link) or a 10-inch square cake pan (affiliate link) in place of the Bundt pan.
If you have another size of baking pan, reference this awesome chart to see if you need to adjust the recipe to increase or decrease the batter amounts.
As always, if you are using a different size pan than what the recipe calls for, please be aware that you may need to adjust batter amounts or cooking times to accommodate your needs.
You can make the caramel topping and the batter a day in advance and then assemble the cake the next day. I don't recommend chopping the apples ahead of time - they turn brown pretty quickly when exposed to oxygen for a period of time. If you must prepare the apples in advance, you can try using lemon juice or ascorbic acid (affiliate link) on the apples. I've always preferred to process the apples on baking day.
This Apple Upside Down Bundt Cake will be good for up to 3 days after baking. It is better to refrigerate the cake if you aren't serving it the day you baked it. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving it.
If you want to freeze the cake, wrap it very well in plastic wrap. It will last up to a month in the freezer. When you are ready to defrost the cake, place it on your counter at room temperature. Don't unwrap it until it is fully thawed. It should take about 1-2 hours to thaw.
Tip 1: Make sure your butter for the Caramel Topping is pretty soft. Cream the butter and brown sugar together before adding the apple cider and salt. If you see any separation of the apple cider and the butter mixture, don't worry. It will all melt together beautifully in the oven.
Tip 2: When it comes to flipping your Bundt cake - be sure your cake is cooled and your plate is big enough! When in doubt, use the help of a buddy to make sure your cake doesn't flip onto the floor! (I've had this happen before and it wasn't pretty.)
Tip 3: Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. This will ensure that they incorporate easily into your batter. Cold eggs might make your batter lumpy and your cake dense. Not ideal.
Tip 4: Be sure you toss your chunks of apple in a little flour before folding them into your cake batter. This will prevent the apple chunks from sinking to the bottom of the cake pan and will encourage more even distribution of fruit.
Don't try to flip the Bundt cake right out of the oven! I like to let the cake cool on my kitchen counter for about 20 minutes before I attempt to flip it.
Bundt cakes are notoriously misleading. They may look golden brown and delicious on the outside but are completely raw on the inside. Be sure you bake the cake for the full baking time on the recipe card. To test the doneness of the cake, insert a long toothpick or wooden skewer into the center of the cake. The toothpick should come out clean. If it comes out with batter stuck to it, pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes.
Another way you can test is by inserting a thermometer into the cake. A fully baked bundt cake should have an internal temperature of about 200°F/93°C.
The best apple for any apple cake, including this one, is a firm, tart apple. I love Granny Smith apples for my apple cakes. If you want something sweeter, you can use a firm, sweet apple, like a Honeycrisp apple. I sometimes use both!
I almost always sift dry ingredients together when I'm baking. I prefer this method because it eliminates the chance of clumping. It also helps your baked goods develop a lighter, fluffier texture.
All cakes in a deep baking pan will need more time to bake. In addition to this, apples have a lot of water in them. During the baking process, apples break down and the water creates a wetter batter, which results in the requirement of a longer bake time.
Apple Upside Down Bundt Cake
- ¾ cup brown sugar light or dark - either will work
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (2 sticks)
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 1 pinch salt
- nonstick cooking spray
Apple Bundt Cake Batter
- 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour divided
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ¼ cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature, beaten
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 4 large apples (like Granny Smith and/or Honeycrisp) 2 apples peeled and sliced thinly, 2 peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks ***NOTE*** prepare these right before assembling cake!
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
Prepare the Caramel Topping
- Lightly spray a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small mixing bowl, cream brown sugar and softened butter together using a hand mixer. If preferred, you may use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Once brown sugar and butter mixture is creamy, mix apple cider and a pinch of salt using a hand mixer. The mixture should be light in color and fully incorporated. (See pics in blog post)
- Using a spatula, scrape prepared caramel topping into the bottom of the greased bundt cake pan. Set aside.
Prepare the Apple Bundt Cake Batter
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and salt.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together applesauce, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Using a spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Don't overmix - gently fold the batter until wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
Prepare the Apples
- Peel 4 apples using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife.
- With 2 apples: Using a sharp knife, make 4 cuts around the core, discard the core. Thinly slice each side of the apple. (See video in blog post for demonstration.)
- Place each apple slice into the caramel filling in the Bundt pan, making a pretty design of your choice.
- With 2 remaining apples: Using a sharp knife, make 4 cuts around the core, discard the core. Chop the sides of the apple into ½" chunks. (See video in blog post for demonstration.)
- In a small bowl, toss apple chunks in remaining ¼ cup all purpose flour. Fold apples into Apple Bundt Cake Batter gently, using a spatula.
Finish Assembling Cake
- Pour Apple Bundt Cake Batter into the Bundt pan, covering the Caramel Topping and sliced apples. Smooth batter evenly, using a spatula.
- Place Bundt cake pan on a sheet pan, to prevent spillage during the baking process.
- Bake at 350°F/177°C for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick/wooden skewer inserted in center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool and Flip Cake
- When cake is finished baking, allow it to cool for 20-30 minutes.
- After cake cools, place a large plate (at least 10" in diameter) on the top of the Bundt pan. Carefully flip the pan over and set the plate on your work surface.
- Gently lift the Bundt pan in an upward position. The cake should release easily onto the plate with the Caramel Topping and apple slices on top.
- If your cake sticks to the pan, take a butter knife and gently run it around the outside and inside of the Bundt pan to help the cake loosen.
- Enjoy the (literal) fruits of your labor!
- If you have extra thinly sliced apples, you may roughly chop them and add them to the cake batter or eat them as a tart, yet delicious snack!
- If cake starts looking brown around the edges during the baking process, you may tent the top of the cake with aluminum foil to prevent the cake from becoming too brown.
As always, food safety is my primary concern. Be sure to follow these food safety tips so you may bake a delicious and safe-to-eat Apple Upside Down Bundt Cake.
- Make sure your cake is fully baked before serving. The internal temperature should be at least 200°F/93°C.
- Cake batter might be tempting, but don't even think about eating it! Raw flour and raw eggs can cause illnesses such as salmonella, so please don't consume cake batter.
- Use the temperature and cooking time, as specified in the recipe card.
- Make sure to thoroughly wash all utensils and cooking tools that come in contact with raw ingredients.
- Make sure to tie back long hair and bake on clean surfaces using clean tools and utensils.
- Always, ALWAYS wash your hands often!