It’s Pancake turned Tarte Tartin turned Upside Down Cake

Hi Everyone,

So I felt like eating pancakes. I spied the apples on the counter top and began to think about how I could incorporate the apples into the pancakes. Thoughts of syrup with sweet cinnamon began to swirl around in my mind. I wondered aloud – how could I make this an all-in-one pancake complete with fruit and syrup. And then it hit me.

What if I caramelized the fruit such as in a French Tart Tatin and present it like an Upside Down Cake? Could I? What would I call it? Who cares, I chided myself. Just make it.

The result was show stopping. The taste was divine. Whenever I want to make a dessert in a hurry, this is now my go-to recipe. The results were excellent with the apples but I’ve also made this upside-down-tarte tartin-pancake creation with bananas, pears, peaches, pineapples and other fruits work just as well.

What’s that?

Here’s a quick explanation of what is a tarte tartin, upside down cake and pancake.

Banana Upside Down Cake-Tartin-Pancake (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

A tarte tartin is an upside down tart where the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar, pastry is laid on top of the cooked fruit and then baked. To serve a tarte tartin, the pan is inverted to reveal the beautifully caramelized bottom of fruit.

An upside down cake is a cake made in a pan that is lined with fruits, the most popular being pineapple upside down cake with cherries. The batter is a regular cake batter that is then poured over the fruit-lined pan and baked. To serve, the cake is inverted, turned upside down, and presented to show its decorative bottom.

Apple Upside Down Cake-Tartin-Pancake (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

A pancake is a thin flat, round cake made from a batter of dropping consistency and cooked on a flat griddle, tawah or in a frying pan.

The Recipe


Caramel (recipe follows)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided in half

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar (more if you like it sweeter)

2 eggs, room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla essence


4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced

For caramel:

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in the middle

For batter:

1.  Add flour, baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, salt and sugar to a bowl and mix thoroughly.

2.  Beat eggs and essence.

3.  Add eggs to flour mixture along with enough milk to make a batter of dropping consistency. Cover and set aside.

For Caramel:

1.  Spread the sugar in an even layer in a cast iron skillet or a pan that can go from the stovetop to the oven, and place on medium heat; as the sugar begins to melt, lower the heat until it melts completely. Just as the melted sugar turns an amber colour, remove the pan immediately from the heat and place on top of the wet cold towel (this is to help cool down the pan and stop the cooking process); quickly stir in the butter until melded with the caramel. Set aside and let cool.
Don’t worry when caramel hardens, that is expected; just ensure that the mixture is spread evenly in the pan.

For assembly:

1.  Arrange the sliced apples circularly working from the edge to the center of the pan. Arrange the slices as closely as possible.

2.  Sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon over apples.

3.  Pour the batter over the apples and smooth the top and ensure that all the apples are covered.

4.  Transfer pan to oven and let bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned.

5.  Remove skillet from oven and let rest for 10 minutes and then run your spatula or a knife around the edges of the pan to ensure the baked dough is loosened.

6.  Place the plate on top of the pan and flip to invert.
Slice and serve.


If you are not confident about making the caramel do the following:

●  Spread the ½ cup of sugar evenly in the pan.

●  Cut the butter up into small pieces and scatter it all over the pan.

●  Arrange the sliced apples circularly, working from the edge to the center of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon over the apples and place the pan on medium heat.

●  When the sugar melts, reduce the heat to low and let cook and the edges start to change colour, immediately remove the pan from the heat, pour the batter into the pan, spread it evenly and transfer to the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned.


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