This post was sponsored by SweeTango Apples, however all views and opinions are my own.
SweeTango apples are perfect for fall baking recipes, especially pies, crisps, and this upside down apple chai cake. The apple structure holds up well after baking, and the slices have a sweet tang that balances the brown sugar-butter topping, and peppery homemade chai spice.
A hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar, apple breeders at the University of Minnesota used a painstaking process to cross-pollinate the two varieties. The result is the SweeTango, a sweet, tangy apple with a crisp, juicy bite. In Canada, SweetTango apples are grown in Nova Scotia and Quebec. They’re generally available from early October until mid-November when stock runs out, however, if you’re lucky you might them a bit later into the colder months!
Because this cake is made with melted butter it is hearty, dense, and moist. I chose spelt flour for this recipe to make the chai cake whole grain, however, all-purpose is a fine substitute. Homemade chai spice takes minutes to prepare, and is a staple in all of my cool weather baking! For a full list of step-by-step instructions and images, plus notes, tips, and substitutions, keep reading.
For The Upside Down Apple Topping
- brown sugar
- SweeTango apples
For The Chai Spice Cake
- spelt flour
- homemade chai spice
- baking powder
Preheat the oven and lightly butter a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake tin. Line the buttered tin with a parchment paper circle cut to fit.
Make The Upside Down Apple Topping
Peel the SweeTango apples and slice them into thin wedges.
Melt the butter and pour it into the prepared cake tin. Swirl the butter around to evenly coat the bottom of the tin. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter.
Arrange the apple slices however you like on top of the brown sugar. A simple fan pattern is easy and looks pretty.
Make The Chai Spice Cake
Whisk together the spelt flour, chai spice, baking powder and salt.
Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat on the stovetop, or at half power in the microwave. Whisk the melted butter and sugar together in another bowl until smooth.
Add the eggs one at a time to the sugar-butter mixture, whisking well between each addition until smooth.
Add the milk and vanilla. Whisk well to combine.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Gently fold together until well mixed. A few small streaks of flour in the batter is ok.
Gently spoon the chai cake batter over the sliced SweeTango apples in the tin, so as not to disturb the pattern you’ve created with the apples. Smooth the top of cake batter with an offset spatula or butter knife.
Place the chai cake in the oven and bake until the cake is golden and lightly springs back when touched with the tip of your finger.
Cool the cake on a wire rack then turn it out onto a large plate or serving platter. Serve the chai cake warm or cold, plain or with a dollop of whipped cream. Sliced chai spice cake also looks pretty with a snowy dusting of powdered sugar.
Notes & Tips
You can bake the chai cake in an 8-inch (20-cm) round pan if that’s all you have, however, the baking time will vary. A good way to check for doneness in a cake or loaf is to insert a digital thermometer in the middle of the cake and wait for a read of 200-205ºF (93-96ºC).
For a less dense cake, don’t melt the butter for the cake. Instead, use a hand or stand mixer and beat it with the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
All-purpose flour can be substituted for the spelt flour.
Cinnamon can be used instead of chai spice.
More Chai-Spiced Recipes
Spice Apple Galette With Coffee Glaze A rustic, fragrant, open-faced apple pie that’s an easy and impressive-looking fall dessert.
Chai-Spiced Rice Krispie Treats A tasty, no-bake sweet loved by kids and adults alike! The spicy, peppery flavour has cool weather written all over it.
Healthy Chai Latte Muffins Gluten and dairy-free, with a touch of caffeine, these are perfect for breakfast!
Upside Down Apple Chai Cake
- 9-inch (23-cm) round cake tin
- Parchment paper
- Small pot or microwave
- Vegetable peeler
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons or digital kitchen scale
- 2 Mixing bowls
- Hand or stand mixer or handheld whisk
- Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
- Wire cooling rack
For The Apple Topping
- 2 medium apples
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ½ cup brown sugar, tightly packed
For The Cake Batter
- 1 ¼ cups light spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon homemade chai spice
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, melted, slightly cooled
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Lightly butter a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake tin. Line the buttered tin with a parchment paper circle cut to fit.
Make The Apple Topping
- Peel and core the apples. Slice them into ⅛-inch (3-mm) thick wedges.
- Pour the melted butter into the prepared cake tin and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom of the tin. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter. Arrange the apple slices however you like on top of the brown sugar. Set aside.
Make The Cake Batter
- Whisk together the spelt flour, chai spice, baking powder and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla together until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Gently fold everything together until the flour is just mixed in. A few small streaks of dry flour in the batter are ok.
- Gently spoon the cake batter over the sliced apples in the tin so as not to disturb the pattern you've created with the apple wedges. Lightly smooth the top of cake batter with an offset spatula or butter knife.
- Place the cake in the oven and bake it for 30 to 33 minutes, or until the top is golden and lightly springs back when touched with the tip of your finger.
- Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes then turn it out onto a large plate or serving platter. Serve the chai cake warm or cold, plain or with a dollop of whipped cream. A snowy dusting of powdered sugar once cooled is also a pretty touch.