Apples · Breads and Crackers · Cake · Ginger · Just Dessert · Quick Breads

Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

 I felt like making gingerbread the other day.  I also needed to do something with half a dozen apples I'd bought the week before.  They were on the mealy side, and no one wanted to eat them as they were.  

I looked at a couple of cookbooks for inspiration, and after a little thought and a quick check in the pantry, I worked up this recipe.   I hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think.  I can tell you this – Alex can't get enough of them.

Here's the ingredient list:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 egg

3 T sour cream

1 cup boiling water

6-7 apples

extra cinnamon and sugar

Got all that?  Good.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter enough muffin tins to make 28-30 muffins.  (I had one pan that made a dozen muffins, two that each made eight, and I used a ramekin for the excess batter.  Just in case you're interested.)  Alternatively, you can grease a 13 x 9 inch pyrex baking dish.

Next, whisk all the dry ingredients together – both flours, baking powder, spices, and baking soda.  Set them aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the molasses and maple syrup and combine.

(And yes, I get sidetracked all the time by interesting picture possibilities…)

(Cool huh?  Those little dots of molasses on the underside of the spatula and their reflection in the molasses in the measuring cup?  Ooooooooooooh!)

Okay, back to the cooking.

Mix the egg and sour cream together in a small bowl and set aside.  (Sorry, no picture.  You'll have to use your imagination.)

Now, the slicing of the apples was kind of an experimental process.  I wanted uniform cross-section slices.  So I started by slicing off the stem end and the flower end of the first apple so it was a uniform width, cross-wise.  Then I peeled the apple, and then I sliced it (cross-wise again) into four relatively-equal-in-width pieces.  Like so.

Oh, and see the little star-shaped cookie cutter?  I thought it would be prettier to cut out the core with some shape other than a circle.  The star was perfect.  I'd thought of using a heart, but I didn't have one the right size – they were either too big or too tiny.  The star was the perfect size to cut around the seeds.

I also found a round cookie cutter that was just a tiny bit smaller than the bottom of the muffin tin.  I trimmed the slices of apple with this cookie cutter so they'd fit.  No picture of that for some reason.  I must be getting lazy.

Anyway, mix together some sugar and cinnamon – I like about 3/4 of a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon, but use whatever ratio you like.  Toss that with your apple circles in a bowl.

Coat the apples well.

Now put one apple slice in the bottom of each muffin section of the tins.  Like so.

Now it's time to finish making your batter.  Once the batter is complete, you need to work quickly to portion it out in the muffin tins and get everything in the oven.

Get your water boiling now….

You've got your butter and sugars (brown, molasses, maple syrup) combined.  Now you need to add the dry mixture and the egg/sour cream mixture, alternating additions – first a third of the dry, then half the wet, a third of dry, the rest of the wet, and the rest of the dry. Mix only until combined; you don't want to overwork the flour as it'll make your gingerbread tough.

Once you've mixed in the last of the flour mixture, pour in your cup of boiling water and mix everything together just enough til the batter is thinner and pourable.

Now, if you were just making this in a large baking dish, I'd say pour it in.  But with the muffin tins, you need to take a little more care.  I used a small ladle.  You want the batter to come to about a half inch of the lip of the tin.

Once you've got all the batter distributed, put the muffin pans (or baking dish) in the oven.  Bake for about ten minutes, and then rotate the pans and bake for another 5-10 minutes.  The gingerbread should be slightly springy to the touch and pulling away a bit from the edges of the pan.  If you're using a 13 x 9 inch pan, you'll need to bake for about 30 minutes total, so rotate at about fifteen minutes and start checking at 25 minutes.

Let the muffins cool one minute in the pans, and then invert the pans onto a flat plate or cutting board or whatever works.  Let the pans rest, upside down, for a few minutes so that gravity will help you. 

I found that when I inverted the pans and slammed them a bit in the process, that helped knock the gingerbread out.  If the gingerbread comes out but the apple stays behind, use a thin spatula or a spoon to nudge the apple out and just place it back on the gingerbread where it belongs.

You could dress these up with a bit of ice cream, or a creme anglaise…perhaps infused with cinnamon.

Or you can just eat them slightly warm, without any extras.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.



11 thoughts on “Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

  1. Do you spray your measuring cup with Pam before measuring out the molasses? I tried this just last week when I baked gingerbread cookies and it worked LIKE A CHARM! The entire cup of molasses just slipped out into the mixing bowl. This dessert looks wonderful. Too bad I just signed up at the gym for the FATTY LOSER contest. If I don’t lose weight I will let my team down! No baked goods for me – at least for the moment. BOO HOO!

  2. these sound just gorgeous and so autumnal! I presume that the spices can be varied to taste?

    I wonder what a smidgeon of chili would be like in there?

  3. Hi – I replied via email yesterday, but apparently it didn’t go through. No, I don’t use pam, but I’ve used vegetable oil in the past. I have a couple of small rubber spatulas that work really well, though, so I just use them now. Good luck with the losing!!

  4. I made this for a party this weekend, and everyone loved it. Thanks for the recipe — great way to use up some of my surplus of apples!

  5. I must say that I was inspired by this recipe, and ended up using Trader Joe’s gingerbread mix (which I had in my pantry) made it with a can of pumpkin puree instead of the egg and oil, added a bit of water, and using your recipe as inspiration, inserted cinnamon sugared apple rings into the bottom of my super huge muffin tins. I couldn’t bear to toss the trimmings from the apple rings and ended up chopping them and tossing them with the cinnamon sugar and adding them to the rings and then topping with the gingerbread mix. Delicious!

  6. Wonderful pictures and instructions!! wish i had the star cutter but i will mostly just mangle them with a knife!

    i will have to substitute fresh ginger – hope i can find a conversion! but these will be on the table for supper —
    and i have tons more apples – any more ideas????

  7. More apple ideas? Sure!

    Besides pies and crisps and turnovers and applesauce…

    You could make a batch of raisin bread and sub in chopped bits of apple for the raisins, or better yet, just include apples with the raisins. You could also cook down some apple with some cinnamon and roll that up in the bread dough and bake it as a loaf or cut it up like cinnamon rolls and bake it that way. Drizzle with a simple confectioners’ sugar icing or maybe with some honey.

  8. These are AMAZING!! I made them a few weeks ago, and they weren’t around more than a couple hours. I plan on making them for my family’s thanksgiving dinner too. My boyfriend couldn’t remember the name of them, and he took to calling them Apple-ginger poppers, but in any case, excellent recipe!

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