Apple Upside-Down Cake

from the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

via http://www.crispytarts.blogspot.com

Apple Butter:

(This makes more than you need, but the leftovers are a delicious addition to pancake batter, a turkey/brie sandwich or stirred into oatmeal.)

1 vanilla bean

6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup apple juice

2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup sugar

Split vanilla bean and scrape out pulp. Add pulp and pod to medium saucepan. Add apples, lemon juice, apple juice, nutmeg and sugar. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes. Apples should be steamed and soft. Smash apples with the back of a wooden spoon to form a sauce. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook til moisture evaporates another 10 to 15 minutes. Let the apple butter cool to room temperature. Remove the vanilla pod.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350˚.

Caramel Apples:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1 1/4 cup sugar

5 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minute. Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and cook over medium heat until it caramelizes to a deep golden brown, about 5 to 8 min. Carefully add the apple wedges, fanning them in a circle, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the apples are tender but still retain their shape, about 10 min. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely in skillet. Leave the oven on.

The Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 egg, beaten

1 cup apple butter

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

While the apples are cooling down, prepare the cake batter. Cream the butter, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the egg and 1 cup apple butter and mix to combine. Add flour, taking care not to over mix. Gently pour the cake batter directly over the caramel apples in the iron skillet and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Cake is ready when skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Using a pair of kitchen towels or mitts, invert the cake onto a plate that is slightly larger than the skillet. Flip it quickly. Slowly lift off the skillet. If any apples stick, remove them gently with a spatula and place back on cake. Let cake sit for 20 minutes before serving.