Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

I’ve been willing Fall to get here for the past few weeks. I am sure I have mentioned it before, it’s my favorite season. Cooler weather, the leaves changing, baking without overheating my house, the list goes on and on. There are a few flavors synonymous with this time of year, mainly pumpkin and apples. And while I normally like to welcome Fall with a new pumpkin recipe, I decided to go with the apples this year for a Caramel Apple Bourbon Upside Down Spice Cake. A bit of a mouthful!

A little backstory on this cake. I got the idea from watching a Fall themed movie on Hallmark Channel back in the Spring. I wrote the idea on a post-it and finally revisited it a few weeks ago. And of course, there were a few fails before I finally ended up with a cake that looked and tasted delicious. My first cake collapsed in the middle. My cake tester led me astray! The cake was slightly undercooked in the middle and there was no saving it. The fail though led me to change the flavor of the cake so it was kind of a good thing. Initially I doctored a French vanilla cake mix and decided the flavor just wasn’t right, so I switched to a spice cake instead. That definitely screams Fall more so than French Vanilla. So, I bought a spice cake Mix and made a few tweaks to it. I also decided to bake the cake in a tube pan to ensure it would bake completely without drying out. Well, it still wasn’t quite right. I used heavy cream when I made my bourbon caramel sauce and I just didn’t like the way it looked after flipping the cake. And while the cake tasted good, I just wasn’t getting enough spice from it.

Thankfully my third attempt was a success! First, I decided to omit the heavy cream from my caramel sauce. Second, I went with a yellow cake mix and added in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves (those yummy warm spices of the season) to really get a strong spice flavor. And third, after I poured the caramel and arranged the apples in the pan, I placed the pan in the refrigerator while I made the batter for the cake. This allowed the apples to set in the caramel so that they wouldn’t move when I poured the batter into the pan. This actually happened with my second attempt at this cake. I had arranged my apples in a nice design and they moved all around once I poured the batter in. I didn’t take any chances with my third attempt though. I spooned the batter into the pan just to be safe.

Just look at how the apples looked before I added the batter. I definitely wanted that look on top of my cake once it was done.

And thankfully since I made those tweaks my cake looked amazing once I flipped it out of the pan. YAY!!!

And even better, the taste and texture of the cake was spot on.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

Ingredients:

For the Bourbon Caramel Apple:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup bourbon

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch)

For the Spice Cake:

1 15.25 box of yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk*, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Make your own buttermilk by adding 4 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding enough whole milk to make 3/4 cup. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, or until the milk becomes thick and appears curdled.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray and set aside. You could also use a Bundt pan.

For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:

In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar and butter and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is melted and combined remove from the heat and add the bourbon. Return to the heat for about a minute and stir to combine. Let cool slightly.

Pour the caramel sauce into the prepared pan and arrange the apple slices in the sauce making sure to overlap them.

While you make the cake batter refrigerate the pan with the apples and caramel sauce so the sauce can set. This will help the apples stay in place when you add the batter.

For the Spice Cake:

In a medium bowl whisk together the yellow cake mix with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract until combined. Using a fine mesh sieve (or a sifter) sift the cake mix with the spices over the buttermilk mixture and then beat with the hand mixer on medium speed until just combined.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and spoon the batter over the apples. Give the pan a few gentle taps on the counter to remove any air bubbles and then bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then invert onto a cake platter or other rimmed dish. Let the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing and enjoying. It’s important to let the cake cool before slicing so the apples can set on the cake. If you slice it too soon the apples will slide off.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

S’mores Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a versatile dessert. It tastes delicious with its simplest ingredients but can be easily transformed into something more with different variations. Have you seen the cheesecake menu at The Cheesecake Factory? To celebrate National S’mores Day today I am sharing with you a S’mores Cheesecake. A cheesecake with all the flavors and components of your favorite campfire treat. A graham cracker crust, a filling made with mini chocolate chips and marshmallows and finally a topping of toasted marshmallows with a drizzle of melted chocolate… Yum!

Up first, I made the crust. In my food processor I processed 2 sleeves of graham crackers into fine crumbs and then added in sugar and melted butter. Once everything was well combined, I transferred the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and pressed it along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I used a 1 cup measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom in an even layer. While some recipes call for you to pre-bake your crust, I opted not to do that. I sometimes find that the crust gets a little too hard to slice then.

Next, I made the filling. After beating together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract with a hand mixer I folded in mini marshmallows and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. I then poured the filling into the prepared crust. I find that springform pans always seem to leak a little when baking so I placed it on a baking sheet before baking the cheesecake in a 325 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes.

I removed the cheesecake from the oven and sprinkled mini marshmallows on top and placed it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. At this point my marshmallows had puffed, but I wanted them to be toasted on top, so I switched my oven to broil for about 30 seconds. Even that was pushing it, marshmallows can go from toasted to burnt very quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on them if you opt to broil them.

Finally, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzled it on top of the marshmallows. I don’t know if it was because of the humidity in the air, or the chocolate chips themselves, but the melted chocolate was on the thicker side. In other words, it was going to be hard to drizzle it. So, I stirred in a little vegetable oil to thin it out. If you do this, you may notice that it will take longer for your chocolate to harden when left at room temperature. No need to fear, once you place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to cool the chocolate will harden.  

I let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then I carefully removed the ring (only to put it back on again.) I basically didn’t want the melted marshmallows to get too stuck to the pan. So, before removing the ring I ran a small knife under hot water and carefully ran it along the sides of the pan to separate the crust and marshmallows from it. I wiped the knife and ran it under the hot water as necessary to repeat. Once I was able to easily remove the ring, I put it back on and allowed the cheesecake to cool for another hour before covering and refrigerating it overnight.

And to serve, since I removed the ring the day before it was a cinch to remove it prior to serving. Also, since I didn’t prebake my crust, it wasn’t a struggle to cut thru it. The cheesecake came out delicious and all the flavors of a S’more were there. And you might think that the cheesecake would be rich or overly sweet due to all the components, but it will satisfy your sweet tooth just perfectly! And you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers or mouth on a hot S’more!

Looking for some other ideas for Cheesecake or S’mores. Check out one of the recipes below.

Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Mini Pumpkin Spice Latter Cheesecakes

S’mores Cupcakes

S’mores Icebox Cake

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

S’mores Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (2 sleeves of graham crackers)

1/3 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup mini marshmallows

Topping:

1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted*

*If you find the chocolate is too thick to drizzle add in a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil until you reach your desired consistency

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a medium bowl stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until combined. Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat on low until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Until the center is almost set.

Remove from the oven and top with the mini marshmallows. Return to the oven and bake an additional 4-6 minutes, or until the marshmallows are puffed. To get the marshmallows toasted on top switch your oven to broil for about a minute. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and allow to cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

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