My grandparents own a vacation house in France in the Champagne-Ardenne. My family goes there usually during fall break. The house is in a tiny village made up of only one street. Whenever we’re there in the fall, we make sure to pick apples from the apple trees in the garden of an old lady who lived in the village her whole life. The garden was abandoned when she died a few years ago, but the trees are still full of apples every year. We always go into her garden to pick apples so we can bake things like this apple-hazelnut upside-down cake!
To make this cake, you can use a cast iron skillet or a baking pan. If you’re using a cast iron skillet, make sure there is a strong person in the house who can help you turn the cake over onto a plate (my dad had to help me).
Makes 1 cake
Action time: 25 minutes + about 35 minutes baking time
1 1/2 stick / 175 g butter (room temperature)
1 1/4 cup / 250 g cane sugar
4 small apples, peeled, core removed, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup / 50 g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup / 200 g flour
1/2 cup / 125 ml milk
Extra: 9,5 inch/24 cm cast iron skillet (or greased baking pan)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C In the cast iron pan, melt 4 tbsp/50 g butter with 1/4 cup/50 g sugar (if using a baking pan, melt the butter and sugar in a separate pan and pour mixture in the baking pan). Place the apple slices in neat circles on the butter mixture in the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes over a low heat (if using a baking pan put the pan with apples in the oven for 4-5 minutes). Sprinkle over the hazelnuts and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. To make the batter, cream the rest of the butter with the sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Add the egg, baking powder, flour, and milk, and mix until well combined.
3. Carefully scoop the batter onto the apple mixture in the pan and smooth out with the back of u spoon. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool a little and turn the pan over onto a plate.