1large or 2 small apples(cored and cut into ¼" slices)
FOR THE CAKE:
1 ¼cupsall-purpose flour
6tablespoons(¾ stick) unsalted butter(softened)
TO MAKE THE CARAMEL:
Prep and preheat: preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of an 8" round pan (pan must be at least 1 ½" tall to prevent overflow).
Mix dries, then combine other ingredients: stir together brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt for the caramel in a large microwave-safe bowl or pitcher, paying special attention that no cornstarch lumps remain (you'll want the bowl to be 2-3 times bigger than all the caramel ingredients combined just in case it boils up in the microwave). Add the melted butter, maple syrup, and milk to dry ingredients, and stir with a whisk or fork until smooth and well blended.
Microwave caramel: microwave for 30 seconds on high, remove from the microwave, and stir briefly, then microwave for another 30 seconds until sugar starts to dissolve, and mixture is bubbling or possibly starting to boil. (Be careful not to overcook the caramel as it will expand substantially, and possibly overflow to make a mess of your microwave if fully boiling!)
Transfer to pan: carefully pour hot caramel into the pan, then shake/tip pan to spread caramel evenly throughout the bottom.
Place apples on caramel: while the caramel is still hot, carefully arrange sliced apples on top of the caramel sauce in your desired pattern (I did mine in a ring!).*
TO MAKE AND ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
Combine dry ingredients, then combine wet ingredients: stir together all dry cake ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl until combined. In a separate small bowl, stir together milk, eggs, and vanilla until well blended.
Mix in butter: combine the dry mix and softened butter until evenly blended and crumbly, using a hand or stand mixer on low.
Mix in the wet ingredients: pour in the egg mixture and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute until smooth, fully blended, and fluffy.
Add cake batter to pan: gently "plop" cake batter in several piles across the surface of the apples, then use a spatula or offset spatula to gently spread batter into an even layer, filling in all the holes.
Bake to deep golden brown: bake until cake is a deep golden brown and feels fully set on top in the center, about 38-42 minutes.
Cool and flip: let cake cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack after removing it from the oven, and have the serving plate ready.** After that brief cool, with oven-mitts on, place the serving plate over the still-hot cake pan, press them tightly together, then flip while continually pressing together (I recommend doing this over the sink in case anything goes wrong!).
Steam, then remove the cake pan: once the serving plate is on the bottom, set it down on the counter. Allow the cake to sit with the pan still on top for 5 minutes to steam (this helps with the release). Once the 5 minutes is up, still wearing the oven mitts, slowly and carefully remove the pan from your cake, and see your beautiful caramel apple top revealed! (If anything sticks in the pan, just use a knife to gently loosen it and replace it on the top of the cake and feel free to scrape out any extra caramel as well!).
Serve and enjoy: serve warm (maybe with a little vanilla ice cream - yum, yum!) - and enjoy the apple-y maple caramel deliciousness!
Test Kitchen Tips
*Add the apples immediately: be sure to add the apples right after pouring the caramel into the pan because it will set up quickly. If this happens, just place the pan in the oven and check it every two minutes to re-liquify the caramel so you can easily add the apples again.
**Flip it while it's hot: make sure you don't let your cake cool for more than 5-10 minutes in the pan or it will likely be stuck in there (in which case, I'd recommend still eating with a spoon out of the pan, or scooped on top of some ice cream as it will still be soooooo tasty!).
Warning - caramel is HOT: the cake and caramel especially will be VERY HOT when you flip the cake out of the pan so be sure to wear oven mitts so you don't get burnt.
⭐ Did you bake up this tasty recipe? ⭐Please give it a ⭐ rating in the recipe card or leave a comment at the bottom of the page to help others find this sweet recipe. I’d love it if you'd share your treats (literally and electronically!), and tag @mint.and.mallow.kitchen on Instagram or Facebook so I can see your beautiful bakes! Xo, Jocelyn