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Summer Seduction: Apple Upside-Down Whiskey Cake

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Give a Chef a bottle of whiskey and a few pounds of Granny Smith apples and there is no telling what will come of the events to follow but one thing is certain, it will be delicious!

Apples and whiskey are really a wonderful combination as the tastes of both products greatly compliment each other. A few years back while eating my way through the South, I had the pleasure of dining on an incredible Bourbon Apple Pudding. I loved everything about this dessert and when I got back to California, I began playing with the recipe. After a few months of making mess-after-mess and wasting more whiskey than should be allowed by law, a warped thought entered my mind. I can turn this into a whiskey apple pie! I tried and I failed miserably. All I actually created was a gunk. Good idea, bad execution!

Even though I had failed in my attempts to make a whiskey apple pie, I couldn't get the thought out of my head. Then, in a Jack Daniels haze, it hit me. Combine some of the tastes of a Dutch Apple Pie with a cake texture and use whiskey soaked apples. Not only did I succeed but I hit the Motherlode of apple desserts. This was a huge hit on our menu for a few years and now I will share it with you.

Ingredients needed to make Apple Upside-Down Whiskey Cake (makes 1 8-inch cake):

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. shortening (do not substitute butter)

Steps:

  1. In a medium non-aluminum bowl, toss the apples with 2 Tbs. brown sugar, the sunflower seeds and the whiskey. Cover the bowl and let sit 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium saute pan or skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the remaining brown sugar and cook until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the apples and their liquid to the pan. Place back on the heat and cook until the liquid comes to a boil.
  5. Line the bottom of the prepared cake pan with the apple slices and then pour the whiskey syrup over the apples.
  6. In a mixer using the whisk attachment, combine the remaining ingredients and beat until a batter forms.
  7. Spoon the batter over the apples and even out.
  8. Place in the oven and bake 40 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes.
  10. Carefully invert (turn upside-down) the cake onto a serving platter (the bottom is the top of the cake) and serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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