This cake brings together elements of two dessert favorites, tarte Tatin and carrot cake, in one elegant upside-down cake. It is made with apples, honey and carrots, but no dairy products, which makes it suitable for a Rosh Hashanah dinner. (The recipe also includes nuts, which many people avoid eating at Rosh Hashanah per Jewish custom and can easily be omitted.) Butter may be substituted for the margarine if this cake is not being served at a kosher meal where meat is involved.
Make Ahead: The cooled cake can be made up to 2 days in advance and covered tightly with plastic wrap.
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted pareve margarine
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup honey
- 5 medium (about 2 pounds) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Finely grated zest of 1 small orange (2 teaspoons)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 medium carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 cups)
- 2/3 cup golden raisins
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional; see headnote)
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 425 degrees.
Melt the margarine in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, tilting it so the sides of the skillet are evenly coated. Remove it from the heat. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the skillet, then pour the honey evenly over the brown sugar.
Starting from the outside and working your way toward the center, arrange the apple pieces (cored sides up) in the pan in concentric circles. (You should be able to make 2 full circles, with 3 or 4 pieces in the center.) Work the pieces in where you can if there seem to be too many; they will fill gaps during baking. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the sugar and honey are bubbling and the apples can be easily pierced with a knife. Transfer to the stovetop (off the heat).
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and orange zest in a small bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract in a large bowl for about 1 minute or until thickened, then add the flour mixture, carrots, raisins and nuts, if using; stir until just combined.
Spoon the batter evenly over the apples in the skillet, first over the outside circle of apples, then the inner apples. Use an offset spatula to carefully spread the batter evenly. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a rounded thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it. Let the cake sit for a few minutes, then carefully invert it onto a cake plate. Cool completely before serving.
From Real Entertaining columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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