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a harvest feast for the equinox / apple upside down cake with rosehip caramel

As a service to my readers, food & feast posts will always feature the recipe first, with history, folklore, and cooking tips toward the bottom of the page. For background on this recipe and helpful hints for navigating technique, scroll down! Otherwise, dive right in with the recipe below.


apple upside down cake with rosehip caramel

Yields one 9-inch cake

Serves 6-8 guests

Contains gluten, eggs, dairy

Prep time : 90 minutes

Cook time : 45 minutes

for the caramel

½ cup water

3 tablespoons dried rosehips

1 cup sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ cup unsalted butter (half of one stick), cubed

½ cup heavy cream

Pinch of salt

for the cake

3 medium apples, peeled and cored, cup into ½" wedges

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of ½ lemon

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons milk

Begin by making the caramel. Combine the water and rose hips in a small pot, and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the rosehip tea and add it to a medium sauce pot. Add your sugar and lemon juice to the pot as well, and insert a cooking thermometer into the liquid. Over a medium heat, simmer the liquid until a syrup forms, and then take the syrup to 300-310 degrees F (hard crack phase). If you do not have a thermometer, you can test the doneness of your syrup by dropping a small amount into cold water. If the syrup hardens immediately and snaps when bent, it is ready. If you find that your syrup is browning too quickly, turn down your heat and move more slowly. The finished product should be a deep, rosy amber. When the sugar is ready, remove from heat and quickly whisk in your butter, cream, and salt. Transfer to a tupperware and allow to chill at least 1 hour until thickened.

While the caramel is chilling, prepare your other ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Soak your freshly peeled apple wedges into lemon water to stop browning while you work. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together your butter and sugar. Add your eggs, followed by the cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon zest. Scrape down your bowl to ensure everything is mixed thoroughly. Add your flour and baking powder together, followed by your milk.

Butter and flour a 9" cake tin, and insert a well-fitting circle of parchment paper into the base. It is best to find one that is at least 2 inches deep, as we will need the height for our cake as it rises. A springform pan is not ideal for this recipe. Spread a thin layer of rosehip caramel into the base of the pan, and then arrange your apples on top. You can do this any way you like, but I prefer to have the back of the apple spices down on the base of the pan (see image below) for the best coverage. Leave as few gaps as possible. Spoon your batter over top of the apples, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is done and the caramel is bubbling thickly up the sides of the pan.

When the cake is done, remove it from your oven and allow to rest until the pan can be handled safely. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and invert it onto a serving plate. Serve immediately, and keep refrigerated for up to 3-5 days.


Details about this dish, technique, lore, & correspondences are coming soon! In the meantime, check out the other dishes in this Autumn Equinox feast, and some information on the rituals & significance of this solar holiday.

butternut squash & sage pierogis / horseradish & dill sour cream

bramble scotch

autumn equinox / ritual & lore


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