Upside-Down Apple Cakes with Golden Syrup

by Michael on October 2, 2012 · 27 comments

October. The beautiful in-between. Caught in the grip of a winter-to-be and just out of reach of summer’s passing. The leaves have long since begun their pilgrimage down and the temperatures now in a rut of frigid evenings and brisk, early mornings. But during the meat of the day October holds characteristics true to itself, bone-warming in the sun and crisp along the shady edges. And the flavours of the season are pronounced and comforting and meant for times like these.

It only takes me a flat second when I think back to the fondest memories of my youth to conjure up images related to events in October. Collecting piles of leaves and ruining them with one full swoop, the aroma cider makes when it’s warmed on the stove on a cold day and picking apples at the orchard near my grandparents, with my grandfather patiently waiting in the car. I would settle in and grab hold of the first branch, shaking it gently enough to disturb one apple to the ground. My first picked apple has left a mark on me ever since. And it always brings me back to that small city orchard on a tepid day this time of year.

Looking back I’m not sure what happened to that first bunch. But I can safely assume it found its way into a pie or crumble back at my grandmother’s house, where she worked so diligently in her tiny county kitchen. She would disappear for a time and you knew where she was when her white tattered oven creaked on opening as she placed that night’s dessert inside. It was a smallish bungalow so it didn’t take long for the scent to reach us and remind us of our day’s excursion.

It’s ironic that we now reside in that same small city I used to visit. And I’m just steps from the market and a short drive to the local orchard. It was at the market where I grabbed these apples, freshly picked earlier that day. I instantly knew dessert was in order, only I don’t have the same baking skills that graced my grandmother. Instead I find other ways to incorporate the apples picked up that day. In this dessert, upside-down apple cakes.

I picked the last day of September and a Sunday flickering between warm and cold to dig in to the kitchen for a baking day. With the windows pushed up high I quickly got to work slicing apples and working between dry ingredients and wet ones. Once added to the processor and mixed and combined I poured them into two muffin tins and placed them in the oven. And the same scent from my youth paid me a visit.  It wasn’t made with the precision of my grandmother, but it tasted just as good.

With October upon us, W and I have a month to create our own lifelong recollections. And we’re off to a good start. We met five years ago this month too so I’m fond of it for so many reasons. If only my grandmother was around to meet my wife and sit back as I made us the dessert this time.

From my kitchen to yours.


Upside-Down Apple Cakes with Golden Syrup


  • 2 apples, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour (salt and baking powder already added)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into rough pieces
  • 1 organic egg
  • golden syrup, to top
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F .
  2. In a medium saucepan add the golden syrup, honey, sugar, milk and oil and bring heat to medium. Stir often until the sugar has dissolved and set aside to cool.
  3. Get your food processor out and place the cake flour, nutmeg, salt and butter into the bowl and process until it looks like breadcrumbs. With the motor still running, add the syrup mixture and process until well combined. Add in the egg and process until mixed.
  4. Lightly grease the base and sides of a dozen muffin tins. Pour a dollop of the golden syrup in the bottom of each tin and an apple slice over top. Pour the mixture over the apple slices until 3/4 full.  
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack. 
  6. Place two cakes on a plate and drizzle some golden syrup over top. 
  7. Serves 12.




Leave a Comment

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria October 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

Perfect dessert for fall! I love the mini cakes too!


Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom October 2, 2012 at 10:31 am

Beautiful cakes and absolutely gorgeous and stunning photos! love the styling!


Michael October 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

thank you Alice for the kind comments!!


nash at plateful October 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

Pure deliciousness! So inspired by this recipe!


Michael October 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thanks Nash! Let me know if you decide to make it.


Fabiola October 2, 2012 at 11:46 am

Hi! I discovered your blog today, and I love it! I love your recipes, your photos..everything!! I must try this cakes.


Kristen {bites & sights} October 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Beautiful post. I look forward to taking my kids apple picking very soon. I hope to give them wonderful autumn memories too. This dessert looks absolutely scrumptious!


Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen October 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I’ve been shunning apple in favor of pumpkin so far this fall, but that needs to change. These look delightful!


Mom October 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm

brought tears to my eyes — will try this upside down cake – I can adjust the sugar to splendida and john will be able to sit back and enjoy this wonderful dessert.


Annalise October 2, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I love October, definitely my favorite month! It’s still pretty hot here, but I’m looking forward to cooler weather and homey desserts like these mini cakes. They look perfect!


Jen @ Savory Simple October 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

What a lovely fall dessert.


Kristen October 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Lovely dessert! Happy 5 years of meeting to you and your wife!


Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 3, 2012 at 12:16 am

Such gorgeous little cakes!


Jenniffer October 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..


Michael October 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm

thank you Jennifer! It’s a paid theme which I customized slightly. I appreciate the kind words.


Angie@Angie's Recipes October 4, 2012 at 5:37 am

A wonderful afternoon tea accompaniment for autumn!


Rosie @ Sweetapolita October 5, 2012 at 7:00 am

These are a delight, Michael! I too am very fond of fall and October is the ultimate apple-treat-baking month. I love the petite portion and upside-down factor with these cakes. Happy fall to you & W!


marla October 5, 2012 at 8:09 am

Now were talking ….. love these fall flavored treats! Tiny cakes with BIG impact :)


Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily October 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

What a beautifully written post. I love the nostalgic story behing this decadent treat. I am putting this at the very top of my “to do” list, a great honor for sure! :)


Brian October 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I can’t believe I missed your gorgeous upside down cake! It looks amazing!!!


Tina @ MorePleaseRecipes October 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I’m really inspired by this dessert. Thank you for all of the beautiful photographs.


Cookie and Kate October 9, 2012 at 9:27 am

I’ve never attempted an upside-down cake but I love the mini size of these beauties. I bet they are the perfect little indulgence for this time of year.


sippitysup October 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

Maybe baking something like this will help the seaon turn here. I’m ready. GREG


Lyndzie November 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm


This looks amazing and am planning on making it this upcoming Sunday. Is there a good substitute for golden syrup?



Michael November 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm

hello lyndzie! You can use maple syrup or agave nectar syrup if you wish. Let me know how it goes. Hope you love it!


Cheryl February 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm

What is golden syrup?


Michael February 28, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Hi Cheryl! Golden Syrup is similar in consistency to honey and is substituted for honey. It’s sweet. Hope that helps!


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