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Playing Caramelized Apple Upside-Down—with an Asian Twist

Culinary team member Ben Perez shares his slightly Asian twist on upside-down cake, putting freshly grated ginger in the batter and white miso paste in the caramelized apples. "I think most people associate miso with savory cooking," he says, "so it's fun to add it to a dessert. It adds this sweet nuttiness and also salt, which is crucial with desserts." He created the cake for an event he did with Rach, and as she explains it, she loved the "beautiful, gorgeous, elegant dessert" so much that she "begged him to share it with everyone on the show." Now, you can make it at home! 

For more of Ben's popular desserts, check out his Easy Cinnamon Rolls and Key Lime Pie


For the Caramelized Apples:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples or another firm apple, thinly sliced
For the Cake:
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
To Serve:
  • Ice cream (optional)


Serves: 6 to 8


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray, line with a parchment round and spray again.  

For the apples, in a small saucepan, melt butter and miso. Add brown sugar, let dissolve, then cook the mixture until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange sliced apples in a decorative pattern on top of caramel, remembering that this will be the top of the finished cake, so make it pretty! Set aside while you prepare the batter. 

For the cake, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides, as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and ginger and mix until fully incorporated.  

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cloves, allspice and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add half the dry ingredients, then half the milk. Repeat the process and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and use a rubber spatula to give the batter a final mix. Pour and spread batter over the apples and caramel and smooth the top.  

Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Allow cake to cool in pan for 30 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Serve warm with ice cream (if using).