Bradley ChenComment

Apple Bourbon Upside Down Spice Cake

Bradley ChenComment
Apple Bourbon Upside Down Spice Cake

Apple Bourbon Upside Down Spice Cake

November 27, 2018


Third Blessing

My life has always been centered around hospitality & service. When I trace it all back to its origins, these values were instilled within me by my parents since birth. While my parents were indeed, somewhat, a version of the classic “asian parents,” they always made sure that, at the end of day, everything imparted some good to the world around me. As a result, I grew up watching people smile, and learning how and why smiling was such an important aspect of life.

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Fourth Blessing

I am so blessed to be able to work at a property that fully embraces the values of hospitality and truly cares for it’s customers. Not only is the Statler hotel inviting to it’s guests, but it also manages to create such a positive work environment for it’s staff. Whether it be at the front-of-house as a banquet server or in back-of-house as a pastry cook, I always look forward to spending my time at the Statler because I know that I am making myself smile, which, in turn helps to make those around me smile.

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The Bake

This week’s recipe is one I’ve wanted to try out for a long time: upside-down cake! There’s just something so beautiful and fascinating about the way the fruit sits on top of an upside-down cake that makes it just as pleasurable to look at as eating it.

This recipe is inspired by Joanne from Olive & Mango, a blog I recently discovered and fell in love with. One reason I love Joanne’s blog is because she fully embraces her growth in creating, styling, and taking photos of her food. As a budding blogger, it is extremely valuable to know that even someone as successful as Joanne had to start from somewhere. She is truly such an inspiration.

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My version of her original recipe featuring lemon, blackberries, and plums uses apples, common spices, and good ‘ol bourbon. The classic combination of bourbon, brown sugar, and apples make for such a delicious balance of flavors. It’s the perfect way to celebrate what’s left of autumn, and also works as a great recipe for the Christmas dinner table!




Ingredients (adapted from Olive & Mango)

For Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 25g salted butter
  • 2-3 tbsp. bourbon whiskey

For Apple Spice Cake

  • 2 red apples
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, white
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 + 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk, whole

To garnish

  • powdered sugar, optional
  • whipped cream, optional

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture begins to liquify and feel less like wet sand.
  2. Pour in the bourbon, whisking until fully incorporated.

Apple Spice Cake

  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light, pale, and fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and slowly mix into the creamed butter. Mix in the vanilla extract
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients and spices into a separate bowl.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and whole milk, alternating between the two.**


  1. Line a 9-inch circular cake tin with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides with oil or butter.
  2. Quarter and core the apples and cut into thin slices.
  3. Pour the hot bourbon caramel sauce into the pan, making sure to cover the entire bottom. Carefully place the sliced apples onto the sauce in the desired pattern.
  4. Spoon the cake batter over the top of the apples and spread into an even layer
  5. Bake in a preheated 175C/350F degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer insterted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. *
  7. Serve with powdered sugar and whipped cream, if desired
  8. Enjoy!
* make sure to start and finish with the dry ingredients, alternating between the two 3 or 4 times.
** definitely do not skip this step as the caramel will need time to cool and set so you can get that clean, smooth finish. Speaking from experience, I cannot stress how important this step is.

Check out more of my cake recipes here!