I’ve read that our sense of smell has the longest memory of all of our five senses. Doesn’t that seem particularly true this time of year?
I first made this Apple Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake last autumn. As it baked, I fell in love with its spicy gingerbread fragrance. I was fascinated that all this flavor might be possible without a trace of white flour, white sugar, or processed oils. As the apples and cinnamon baked with ginger, nutmeg, and molasses, I was held captive waiting for the cake to come out the oven. And it turned out to be as good as I hoped.
I tucked the recipe away after the winter for several months, still remembering those wonderful flavors. Spring and summer came and went. I counted down until apple season, because I think October and this cake just fit like a glove.
At long last, here we are. Fresh Michigan apples are finally sitting on my kitchen counter again. This seasonal treat is just one more way to enjoy apples, spices, and whole grains, as baking season gets underway in earnest.
Make sure everyone is home when you bake this moist gingerbread cake to appreciate the rich spicy fragrance. A weekend morning might be perfect. And then, just stop whatever you’re doing to enjoy a slice with loved ones while it’s still warm.
APPLE GINGERBREAD UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
Adapted from The China Study Cookbook, by LeAnne Campbell
1/4 cup water
3 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 egg replacers (such as 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal, with 6 tablespoons water)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put apples in medium saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of maple syrup and stir to combine. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix applesauce, molasses, 1/3 cup maple syrup, egg replacers, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread cooked apple-maple syrup mixture evenly on the bottom of a 9” x 9” nonstick baking dish. Pour batter over apples. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the gingerbread comes out clean. While cake is still warm, place a serving plate over cake pan, and carefully turn the cake over so it comes out onto the plate.