Apple Cider Upside-Down Cake From The Archives–Again!

Posted on Sep 25 2013 - 6:16am by RetroRuth

I think I run this post every year, but this cake is seriously that good and we make it all the time! Since it is apple season here in Michigan and I am breaking out the tested and delicious apple recipes from my collection, I thought I would remind everyone how good and easy this cake really is and I decided to revive it again from the archives. Enjoy!

Okay, okay. I know. Apple cider AND desserts two weeks in a row. It’s unheard of here on the Mid-Century Menu, where everything is supposed to be scary all the time. But,  I was so disappointed with the lack of cider flavor in last week’s Cider Eggnog Pie that I had to try again this week. I mean, you understand, right? It’s all for legitimate scientific testing. I set out to find a mid-century recipe full of cider flavor, and I need to find it.

Plus, I wanted Tom to buy me more cider.

I am happy to say that I succeeded on both counts.


This is Apple Cider Upside-Down Cake. And it is delicious.

Cider Eggnog Pie002

This is another fun recipe brought to you by our friends at the Apple Kitchen Cook Book, from 1966.

What can I say? ‘Tis the season for apples!

Apple Cider Upside-Down Cake
  • 3 medium-sized tart apples
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ⅓ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 package spice cake mix
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Pare and core apples, slice thin. Simmer in cider 5 mins, or until just tender. Drain, reserving cider.
  2. Combine 2 T cider, brown sugar, walnuts and butter on the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Set in 350 degree oven for 5 mins; then remove from oven.
  3. Prepare cake mix, using rest of reserved cider plus any additional water needed for water portion for cake mix.
  4. Arrange apple slices over brown sugar mixture in pan. Pour batter over apples, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 mins, or until done. Invert, and let stand one minute, remove pan.



I have to admit though, this sucker is kind of an ugly cake. But what it lacks in good looks, it makes up for in sheer cider flavor.


I think my favorite part was when I got to cook the apples in cider for that double apple flavor that makes us all crazy.

Except I have to admit I cheated a little bit on this one, which I normally don’t do. I took the cider drained off from the apples and, instead of guzzling it down like I wanted to, I substituted it for the water in the cake mix. And I am not sorry.


Not. At. All.

Especially when it gets this kind of reaction from Tom:






The Verdict:

Really yummy and very easy. Normally I don’t use cake mixes for cakes, but this one was really good with a cake mix. But you could probably sub your favorite spice cake recipe or even gingerbread….oh…wait. That was just a really good idea. I know what I am making later this week, after we scarf our way through this whole cake. Apple Cider Upside-Down Gingerbread!

*If you make this recipe, be aware that my cake was done WAY earlier than 55 mins. It took about 40. Check your cake for doneness according to the package directions!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Ypsi September 25, 2013 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Looks amazing… but what do you do with the walnuts? I read the recipe several times and they aren’t mentioned in the directions. I’m assuming you mix them in with the spice cake batter. At any rate, I am going to make this for a party tonight!

    • RetroRuth September 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Ypsi!

      You know, I don’t know what you were supposed to do with them. The original recipe never says. But I normally throw them in with the apple topping on the top, but feel free to put them into the cake if you want! I changed the recipe above, thanks for pointing that out!

  2. laura September 26, 2013 at 5:03 am - Reply

    I think Tom is getting by too easily lately, you’ve made too many nice things. Back to more gelatine and tuna please.

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