Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake


Warm cinnamon spice cake flipped upside down to reveal a gooey delicious topping of caramelized apples and walnuts.

Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake |

Two years ago this month last month (how is it October already?!), I made the best, yet one of the hardest decisions of my life. I’m not sure if this person understands why I did it, why I had to walk away, but I had to leave the drama behind. When you spend most of your nights crying instead of laughing, feeling more alone than ever before on top of starting a new job and moving to a new town alone, I had to make a change or I wasn’t going to make it. The decision to walk away turned my life upside down, much like this Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake. When it’s in the pan, it looks plain, lonely, unordinary. However, when you flip it, magic happens. Apples and walnuts appear, all caramelized in a sweet, irresistible topping. And suddenly, life doesn’t seem too bad after all.

Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake |

A year after I graduated college, I moved to a small town without knowing anyone to start my career. Family and friends were now far away. Feeling lonely was to be expected, but I’ve never had a problem going places alone, hanging out alone. But this was a different kind of alone. I didn’t fit in at work with everyone being older, married and/or with kids. They all knew each other, either from growing up in the area, knowing each other’s families and friends, or just worked with each other for a really long time. I was the complete opposite and didn’t fit in well at all. I was the youngest and the only female in my department. I did my job alone and didn’t know how to connect with others. It wasn’t until a year after I started that I finally made a few close friends with coworkers, after a group of other coworkers made me feel unwanted.

Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake |

I was falling apart, and drama was the last thing I needed. It took me months to muster up the courage, but finally one evening I just had enough and haven’t looked back since. I know you’re thinking “What does this have to do with upside down cake??” You know how people say things happen for a reason? Because of that decision to walk away, I was on a path to recovery. It was a very dark and long path, but it lead me to where I am today with this blog. Sure, I’ve been blogging long before any of this happened, but I was never serious about it. Instead of drowning in loneliness and pity, I focused my energy on blogging.

Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake |

Blogging showed me that not only do I have passion and talent, there are other crazy people who just like me. If you asked me right now who my best friends are, 90 percent of them are other bloggers. Some I’ve met at events; others I have plans to meet someday.

Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake |

This apple upside down cake is to remind me how far I’ve come. Would I still be blogging like I am today if I didn’t walk away? One decision is all it takes to turn everything upside down, and although upside down at the time felt like I was out of control, upside down also means magic is waiting for you when the chaos calms down.

Yields 8-

Apple Walnut Upside Down Spice Cake
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2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup apple slices (peeling optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Put 2 tablespoons butter into an 8-inch round pan and place into the oven. Heat until butter is melted then remove from oven. Brush the melted butter around the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
  2. For the cake
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and clove.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla then beat 1 minute. Gently beat in the flour mixture then the sour cream. Do not overbeat the batter.
  5. For the topping
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, clove, and walnuts. Sprinkle the mixture into the pan over the melted butter then lay apples slices on top in a single layer. Spoon in the cake batter and spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge and inverting it onto a plate. Serve warm.

Source: Adapted from Joy The Baker
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  1. I’m glad you made that decision two years ago and kept blogging. I enjoy your recipes and posts very much. It’s nice to see an upside down cake that isn’t pineapple. It looks mighty good too.

  2. The only way to grow is through hardship, but it’s not easy. Being able to look back and feel rewarded is awesome and so glad you can do that Carla! I have sunday supper to thank for opening up my blogging world and I’ll be forever thankful. This cake is beyond amazing!

  3. What a touching story Carla! I totally hear you on the friends being other bloggers thing too, I have almost no “real life” friends because nobody here “gets” blogging and food the way the rest of our community does! That cake does look fantastic though… now to convince someone to eat it!

    • Yea, I still get deer in the headlights look when I try to explain what blogging is. A few coworkers have accepted it (and maybe not 100% understand it haha). Thanks for your friendship, Sarah.

  4. Change is always hard, especially when your world is turned upside-down :) I’m going through a big career change right now too. Baking my way through it!

  5. I can’t stop crying. There are just all of these…tears….

    I can relate on SO many levels, Carla, but rather than control this comment with MY story, I just want you to know that I’ve been the upside down cake, too. It’s so true that some of life’s most beautiful endings start out as bland, dry, ordinary beginnings. Not only that, but most of the beauty I’ve witnessed in my life has shown itself from the inside out!

    I’m beyond blessed to know you. I hope the day comes, SOON, when we can meet in person. <3

    • Aw, no tears! I wanted to share this part of my story because I know people out there can relate. People say things to me all the time about being single and living alone and how tough it is. Yes, it’s tough but it’s doable. Someday we will meet, Becca!

  6. Love this post, Carla- I’ve been there myself, and that silly old adage of rain before the rainbow really can be true. I love how you threw yourself into something you were passionate and talented at to get you through a tough time; it was clearly the right decision! Isn’t it nice how food can sometime reveal more to us than we might think?

  7. Annamarie Behring says:

    Your wonderful post gave me chills! Thank you for starting your blog as I enjoy it very much. You have many supporters! Kind regards, Annamarie

  8. I’m allergic to nuts, but this still looks great :)

  9. I know what you mean–I get geeked about something blogging-related and get blank stares from most of my friends. I also understand what it’s like jumping into the unknown…I left my friends and family all in Ohio when I moved to South Dakota 9 years ago. I’ve baked and blogged a LOT in that time. Sometimes cake makes everything better!

    • That was definitely a big move! At least I’m only a few hours, but it still sucks on days I can’t be there for memories. Thank goodness for blogging friends :)

  10. Walking away from toxicity and drama can be the hardest thing to do! But I am so proud that you did it and focused your energy into this wonderful space so we could get to know you, Carla: blogger, baker, friend. This beautiful cake is a great analogy to the sweetness of life when we turn things over and look for the good. I love it!

  11. I can totally relate! After 7 years of contemplating, I finally walked away too, and it changed my life forever. Hardest and best decision I ever made…if only I had some of this cake at the time to help me through!

  12. Your blog buds are here for you anytime you turn your life upside down! You’re awesome, girl!
    (And so is this cake, by the way!)

  13. Big decisions like that are never easy, but it is so huge when it means a step in the right direction! Congratulations on taking the plunge and doing what you needed to do. Sometimes flipping things upside down is exactly what is needed.

    Speaking of which… this cake sounds incredible! I’ve been dreaming of autumn-fruit upside-down cakes for weeks now, and it’s like you answered the call. Yum!

  14. Good for you, Carla! Change takes courage and I’m glad you were courageous to take that chance and make that change.
    And your cake looks yummy, too!

  15. I’m so glad you made that tough decision, Carla and walked away. Change is the hardest thing, when you’re set in a routine and there’s so much fear about the unknown. No one ever wants to make a bad decision but we never know until we make it, right? Your blog is one of the best. Seriously. I come here again and again not only for incredible recipes like this one (I MUST MAKE THIS CAKE!!!) but because you’re talented, you’re passionate, you’re hilarious, you tell it like it is and reading your words is like hearing a good friend talk. I feel the same way as you do – nowadays, the people I talk to the most are other bloggers and my readers. Blogging has enriched my life so much and I’m sure you feel the same way.

  16. Food to Fitness says:

    Looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  17. I’m glad you’re in a happier place in life now. It takes courage to walk away and to share your feelings in a public forum. Congrats to you and the cake looks absolutely wonderful!

  18. What kind of apples do you recommend using?

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