Apple Blackberry Upside Down Cake

A sweet and flavorful apple blackberry upside down cake with a jammy, brown sugar caramel fruit topping and moist and tender-crumbed cake below. Not overly sweet, this everyday cake is easily adaptable and takes advantage of just about any seasonal fruit or berry. Best served with a dusting of powdered sugar or whipped cream alongside morning coffee or an an afternoon cup of tea.

apple blackberry upside down cake via

This vibrant apple blackberry upside down cake falls into the category of weekday cake, if there is such a thing (and there should be!).

An unfussy and adaptable cake, it’s quick to come together, tames a sweet tooth without being overly saccharine, and can be made with almost any seasonal fruit or berry.

…it’s also the kind of cake that provoked our toddler to scream “more cake! more cake!” with tears in his eyes, on repeat, for longer than I’d like to admit, after he’d finished his little piece.

With a jammy, brown sugar caramel, apple-blackberry topping and moist, vanilla and cinnamon-flecked tender-crumbed center, can we really blame him? Mom tested, Henry approved.

wild apples via
wild blackberries via

Making an upside down cake (with just about any fruit):

This apple blackberry version of upside down cake is perfect for these last days of summer, but this is also a great base recipe for any number of flavor combinations.

You can make this upside down cake with just about any fruit you’d make a pie with. Berries, stone fruit, apples or pears, or of course, go for classic pineapple.

Mix and match fruit zest, spices, and fresh herbs. Rosemary and orange zest with peaches. Vanilla and lemon with blueberries. Cinnamon and cardamom with rosy pears. So many options!

And bonus points for weekday baking – this cake boasts a simple, flexible ingredients list so you’re less likely to have to make an extra trip to the store. The lack of eggs also makes it pretty easy to go vegan. Simply swap out the milk and butter for dairy-free versions and you’re good to go.

box of fresh picked apples via

How long do you wait to flip an upside down cake?

An upside down cake needs to be flipped over and removed from the pan fairly quickly after it comes out of the oven or the caramelized fruit topping will stick, making it almost impossible to do so in one piece.

I like to wait about 15 minutes, letting the cake cool and set a bit. Using a 9-inch round cake pan with removable bottom makes this task much easier (though a parchment paper round can also help if you don’t have one).

The cake will still be really hot and steamy at this point so be careful! Use oven mitts, and invert onto a slightly large plate or cake stand.

The fruit and caramel topping will sink, ever-so-slowly, into the rest of the cake, adding moisture and flavor, and making for an oh, so delicious cake that’s hard to put down. Just ask Henry. 😂

apple blackberry upside down cake via
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apple blackberry upside down cake via

Apple-Blackberry Upside Down Cake


A sweet and flavorful apple blackberry upside down cake with a jammy, brown sugar caramel fruit topping and moist and tender-crumbed cake below. Not overly sweet, this everyday cake is easily adaptable and takes advantage of just about any seasonal fruit or berry. Best served with a dusting of powdered sugar or whipped cream alongside morning coffee or an an afternoon cup of tea.


apple blackberry topping:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room-temperature
3 Tbsp (packed) light brown sugar
1 medium apple,¹ peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup blackberries,²  fresh or frozen

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup whole milk, at room-temperature
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
optional: 1 tsp lemon zest


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan (with at least 2-inch-tall sides) generously with butter, being especially generous with the base of the pan. Set aside.

Prep the topping: Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the base of the pan, then arrange the fruit on top in a tight, even layer.

Make the cake batter: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, melted butter, applesauce, milk, lemon juice and zest (if using), and vanilla until smooth.

Use a spatula to gently fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just mixed. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is evenly combined, but be careful not to overmix.

Use a large cookie scoop to add the batter over the fruit topping, being careful not to disturb the fruit. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to gently spread the top into an even layer. It will be very thick.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire baking rack for about 15 minutes. Place a large baking rack or cake plate over the top of the pan and turn it upside down to invert the cake. Let cool completely before slicing. Serve with a dusting of confectioners sugar or fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!!


¹ Look for a tart, firm apple that you’d use in an apple pie. I used Honeycrisp here, but I also like Pink Lady and Granny Smith for this recipe.
² You can use fresh or frozen blackberries. If using frozen, don’t defrost before adding to the cake pan. Slice large berries in half or quarters, and place cut side up.

  • Category: Baking, Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: apple blackberry upside down cake, egg free, berry, brown sugar, caramel, easy upside down cake, apple dessert

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  1. 9.23.19
    Abigail said:

    My only experience with upside-down cake was long ago, with pineapple.

    Your combo with apples, berries and brown sugar tastes SOOOOOO much better!

  2. 9.6.19

    Absolutely overwhelmed, dear 🙂 I Usually make jam using apples and blackberries but this one is going to be my dessert surprise for a weekend ! Thank you very much and enjoy your day 🙂

  3. 9.5.19
    Maria said:

    Laura, this looks divine! Thank you for yet another fantastic (haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it is !☺️) eggless recipe! My egg-allergic DD and I are so grateful to you!

    • 9.6.19
      Maria said:

      I just realized you don’t mention what to do with the butter for the topping – is that what you use to grease the pan? 3 tbsp of butter seems excessive for greasing a pan… or do you mix it with the brown sugar into a crumb-like texture?

      • 9.6.19
        Laura said:

        Hi Maria! It is for the bottom of the pan. I start by greasing the sides, and then generously grease the bottom (it’s okay if there are some clumps of butter). It would normally be way too much for greasing the pan, but in this case, the brown sugar and fruit juice will melt into it, becoming the topping. Hope that makes sense! And happy you can make this for your daughter with her allergy. Our son Henry has one too. Enjoy!!

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021, and may not be used without permission.