Caramelized Apricot Upside Down Cake ~ fresh fruit is amazing, for sure, but something magical happens to it when goes in the oven…and just between you and me, if I have to choose, I’d go for the baked stuff every time. But don’t take my word for it, taste for yourself!
Here’s the interesting thing…I made my cake with early season apricots. I snacked on them as I was pitting and halving the fruit for the pan, and they were meh at best. They were ripe, but didn’t have hardly any flavor, and they definitely weren’t sweet or juicy. I began to wonder if I was wasting my time.
But what happened next is pretty amazing… that mediocre fruit that goes into the oven, comes out bursting with tart apricot flavor. It’s something to remember the next time you get a hold of so-so fruit.
If you’ve never made an upside down cake, don’t be intimidated, they aren’t hard to do at all. A simple non stick cake pan is all you need to accomplish this pretty effect. And it’s not just pretty, it’s sooooo good. The apricots are soft, juicy, and tart, and the cake is very soft, too, so they almost melt into each other.
I’ve done this before with a Caramelized Plum Upside Down Cake from way back in 2013. That cake is just as delicious, in case you happen to have plums and not apricots handy. I think any stone fruit would work in this upside down cake, even cherries (pit them but keep them whole.)
The process is so simple, and even fun to do…just halve the fruit and pull out the pit. Butter a cake pan and arrange the fruit, cut side down, to completely fill the bottom of the pan. The cut side of the fruit will be what shows when you flip the cake over after it’s been baked.
But the drama of this wonderful apricot upside down cake happens when you drench the apricot halves in a boiling hot caramel syrup. When the cake is flipped over you’ll see the glorious caramelized fruit topping with a sauce that’s begun to infiltrate the cake in parts. So good.
This cake works particularly well with apricots, which have a natural tartness that literally bursts in your mouth with every bite. Of all the stone fruits apricots are one of the best for baking because of that strong flavor, and also because they aren’t overly watery to begin with, so they bake up with the perfect juiciness without making the cake soggy.
The cake slices easily and cleanly, it’s almost like gliding your knife through butter, which makes it a great choice for entertaining.
This apricot upside down cake goes well with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, or creme fraiche if you really want to be elegant. But honestly it’s perfect all by itself, and makes a perfect breakfast with a cup of coffee.
other stone fruit recipes to try ~
- Peach Cobbler with Cinnamon Swirl Biscuits
- Habanero Nectarine Jam
- Ripe Peach Popsicles
- Roasted Plums with Ice Cream
Caramelized Apricot Upside Down Cake
- enough small, halved, apricots to cover the bottom of your pan
for the caramel:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
for the cake:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp vanilla paste, or extract
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Grease a non-stick 9 inch round cake pan.
- Slice the apricots in half and remove the pit. Arrange the fruit, cut side down, on the bottom of the pan. Fit the fruit in as tightly as you can, without crushing it. It’s fine if there are small spaces in between.
- Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine and heat to a boil. Without stirring, boil until the syrup thickens and turn a nice golden amber color. Pour the caramel over the apricots, and be careful, this liquid is very hot and can burn you.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the sour cream and vanilla.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the wet ingredients. Mix just until they are combined.
- Spread the batter over the apricots and smooth out evenly. Try not to disturb the apricots too much.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. I like to place a baking sheet under the pan to catch any potential drips.
- Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes, and then flip it over. The best way to do this is to cover the top of the pan with a plate, and then in one swift move flip the whole thing over. Lift the pan gently. If any of the fruit comes dislodged, just patch it back together.
- The cake can be serves warm or at room temperature.
- Make it with other fruit ~ peaches, nectarines, cherries, apples…
Questions and Reviews
I wanted to try this recipe but I’m having a hard time finding fresh apricots. Will halved canned apricots be ok to use?
Yes, that will be fine.
Can you use a square pan if you don’t have a round one?
Yes, sure. It might possibly be a little harder to release from a square pan, though.
I just tried this for Father’s Day since I had some apricots on hand that were a bit too tart for my children’s liking. I don’t usually leave feedback/comment, but this recipe was so tasty, and the sponge so fantastically moist, that I felt compelled to share the love. Instructions were easy to follow especially with the images, and the outcome went well beyond my expectations. I am a novice baker, and this is my first time attempting a cake like this. Cannot wait to scour through the website for more of your recipes.
Welcome in Reney!
I love this recipe! I made it with the apricots, raspberries, cherries and two figs I still had hanging out in my fridge. Obviously, that made things a bit soggier but the cake was cooked through after about 40-45 minutes. I also didn’t have granulated sugar and sour cream so I used brown suger and coconut yogourt instead (lol, I know, I know) and it still tasted amazing. So even with all these substitutions, It still turned out delicious, although the fruit didn’t turn dark and caramelized, the syrup still soaked through the cake in the bottom layer of the pan and it was great. Will definitely make it again according to the recipe.
haha, it’s fun to read about all the variations, they’re great! Never apologize for playing around with these recipes, that’s what they’re there for 🙂
I have fresh frozen apricots from my tree….do you think
they well be to juicy to work with this recipe?
I’m not really sure, Janet, I haven’t worked with frozen apricots before. As long as they aren’t too watery, it should work.
I am making this tantalizing Apricot Upside Cake and can’t wait! However, I was having trouble using my candy thermometer for the caramel. It wouldn’t go to 360 degrees! When I looked up the scale for temps/candy, I see that even hard ball stage is not nearly that high. Are you standing by 360 degrees? I love your site! Barbara
I’ve edited the instructions to say simply boil the syrup until it thickens and turns a nice golden amber color. The original plum tatin, which is from my hero, Ina Garten, says to boil the syrup to 360F, but I think this makes it simpler all around.
Made this and tasted great guess didn’t cook long enough so of flat in center tastes great will try again
Sounds like you might have had extra juicy apricots so your cake was extra moist. Be sure to check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer when you can, Martha, even a small discrepancy can make a bit difference in cooking times.
I seriously need to get my hands on some good apricots and make this cake – it can be a challenge to find fruit where I live that don’t look and taste like orange golf balls. But I suppose a good bathe in caramel would work wonders 😉
Honestly Karen that’s the beauty of a cake like this, you can use the gold ball fruit and it comes out amazing!