The smell and taste of fall – all in a gingerbread cake topped with fresh apples and caramel. This fantastic upside-down cake makes a great addition to any seasonal table with its tasty gingerbread baked over cinnamon caramel sauce and sweet sautéed apples. Removing the cake from the pan, when turned, allows the apple caramel to coat the sides. Delicious served with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1 cup jarred caramel sauce, high quality such as Williams Sonoma, Trader Joes, Fresh Market or homemade
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large, firm cooking apples, such as Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Granny Smith cored, peeled, quartered
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅔ cup dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
⅓ cup molasses
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk

Sweeten whipped cream or cinnamon whipped cream for serving

Make the apple topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9″ round springform pan lined with parchment in the bottom; butter the parchment.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the caramel sauce. When softened, whisk in the cinnamon and keep warm. Slice each apple quarter into three thin slices. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice and zest.

Place a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. Cook until the butter has a nutty fragrance, about 4 minutes. Then add the apples and toss gently until well coated. Cook, uncovered, stirring gently until some of the apples begin to brown, and all the liquid has evaporated. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Pour the warm cinnamon caramel sauce into the cake pan over the buttered parchment. Starting in the center of the pan, arrange the cooled apple slices on the caramel. Overlap them slightly and keep them close together in tightly packed circles. Set aside.

Make the Cake
Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the molasses. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Starting and ending the dry mixture, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar and egg mixture. Add ½ the buttermilk, then add the flour in two more batches alternating with the second half of the buttermilk. Mix until the batter is smooth. Carefully pour over the apples. Place the cake on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until center is firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides of cake to loosen, remove the springform sides of the pan. Using another rack, invert cake onto rack. Carefully remove the pan bottom and slowly peel away parchment working cautiously. If some apples stick to the parchment, just peel off and place back on the cake. Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve with sweetened whipped cream.

You can store covered and at room temperature for one day. Makes 8-10 servings.