Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Karen Bates at the Philo Apple Farm via the New York Times (published: October 27, 2009) and Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake (blog post: Monday, November 23, 2009)

2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan (This is different than NY Times and Smitten Kitchen's versions)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup molasses (This is less than NY Times version)
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Note: This has a LOT of batter. The recipe calls for a 10" pan. I baked it in a 9 x 3 inch pan, and I think it would go way up to the top (and might overflow) a 9 x 2 inch pan. So, if you don't have the recommended 10" pan and use a 9 x 2, I wouldn't add all the batter (make a little mini cake to go along with this cake!)

Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan (I used a 9" x 3 cake pan). Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring until thick. I forgot to add the salt but Smitten Kitchen says to swirl it in. The New York Times recipe doesn't caramelize the sugar and butter in a pot; I really liked the nice caramel flavor. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel.

Make the batter: Using a mixer with paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter and the sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until light and fluffy.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the pan. New York Times says to bake for 45 to 50 minutes (in a 10" pan) or until a wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (It took me 65 minutes in a 9 x 3" pan.) Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter.

NY Times suggests serving warm or cool with very softly whipped cream. (I didn't top it with anything...and it was still delicious!!!)

The Food Librarian blog:
Recipe & Photo on the Food Librarian blog (January 28, 2010):