Thanksgiving Testing: Apple Caramel Upside-Down Cake

Every major holiday, I’m always amazed at my capacity for eating dessert. Even if I shoveled spoonful after spoonful of gravy-saturated mashed potatoes into my greedy trap, even if I ate a plate’s worth of chewy-crunchy stuffing, even if I’ve been at the sauce and never want to see a single cranberry again, all I need is an hour to make room for sweets. My “I’m so fulls!” quickly morph into “Another slice, please!” as I unashamedly fill my plate with as much dessert as I possibly can, being sure to try every vegan-friendly option I can find.

This Thanksgiving promises to be no different. Planning and executing a Thanksgiving dinner is a little daunting to me (my obsessive-compulsive side is begging for a spreadsheet of ingredients, a cooking/timing schedule, and beautifully printed menus, and it will get them soon enough!), but the thought of all the delicious food S and I will serve up keeps me from getting too worried. Even if the dinner lacks luster (which it won’t!), I know we’ll have some kick-ass desserts to fill our guests’ stomachs post-dinner and leave them with full, happy tummies. I’ve already tried a Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake (which, I’ll admit, grew on me since writing that post and might make its way onto my dessert table), and this weekend I made the Gluttonous Vegan’s Apple Caramel Upside-Down Cake.

Now, this cake does not feature actual!caramel. However, it does feature a top layer of nearly caramelized sugar that’s buttery, sweet and just as delicious as caramel. Paired with tender, sweet apples, it’s a winning combination. The cake itself is surprising in its lack of overt sweetness – it’s a tamer flavor, with hints of cinnamon but not much else. That lack of sweetness surprised me at first, but I soon began to appreciate it – it’s a great contrast with the sticky-sweet top layer. On the whole, this is a sophisticated, adult cake, and I’m looking forward to serving it with my other Thanksgiving desserts. I think it’ll provide a great counterpoint to the more traditional (and more sugary!) desserts I intend to serve, and it’ll pair nicely with a hot cup of post-dinner coffee. When I make it again, though, I’ll likely use some brown sugar in the cake itself and add a bit of nutmeg to enhance the cake’s flavor – it’s just the teeniest bit flat as written.

I’m so sorry for the picture-less post (my first in ages!), but I made this cake on Sunday and neglected to photograph it, and it’s looking really sorry right now – the few remaining pieces feature shriveled apple slices and stale edges. I won’t insult you with a photo of that, so just use your imagination or check out the original recipe post for some pretty pictures.

What dessert should I test out next? Do you always have room for dessert, or is your sweet tooth a little smaller than mine?

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