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Let Me Upgrade You: Brown Butter Apple Pecan Upside Down Cake

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of cake for breakfast. I’ll use any excuse to have cake for breakfast or to make a recipe for cake that could be eaten for breakfast. It’s almost a problem. Almost.

This “almost problem” came to light again after visiting Apple Hill in Placerville, CA a few weekends ago. More on that to come, but just know that I walked away with more than 10 lbs. of apples because I got a little overzealous with my shopping. And that’s not even counting the apple products I bought..

Clearly, I needed to find a recipe to use up a bunch of apples. So I made this for you.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I love upgrading boxed mixes. This time, I owe major kudos to my mom for coming up with a great upgrade recipe! It’s safe to say I get my reckless abandon (with recipes) from her. She found this Betty Crocker recipe earlier this year when we were trying to use some spice cake mixes that were about to expire and made some changes to it. Much like how easily I get distracted, she accidentally forgot about browned the butter. She also used a couple more apples than the original recipe. What came out was a delicious cake that could easily double as breakfast.

Browned butter goodness.

Or a late night snack, served ala mode. Yum.

And much like my mom, I jazzed up her version of the original recipe. I don’t care much for walnuts, so I swapped them out in favor of pecans. Apples and pecans just go together. You know? And then I used three different types of apples to pump up the (flavor) volume: gala, mutsu and pink lady.

One of the things I love about apple recipes like this is that you don’t need to use “perfect” apples. Bring on the bruised fruits!

Brown Butter Apple Pecan Upside Down Cake


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 5 apples, peeled, chopped (about 5 cups worth)
  • 1 box spice cake mix and ingredients as called for on cake mix box


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In 13×9″ pan, melt and brown butter in oven. (Butter should be dark golden brown, but not burnt!) Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans over butter; stir in chopped apples, mixing until coated.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cake as directed on box for 13×9″ pan, using water, oil and eggs. Pour batter over apple and pecan mixture in pan.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly before using a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen cake.
  4. If you don’t have a plate that can fit a 13×9″ cake, cut the cake and use a serving spatula to flip each piece upside down on your serving plate. If you do, place your 13×9″ or larger heatproof serving plate upside down on pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan. 

This cake can be served warm or room temperature, but be sure to grab a scoop of ice cream or a cup of coffee to pair with it!

About In Natalie's Shoes

I’m a twenty-something food fanatic. By day, I’m working for a non-profit, by night I’m dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess, creating adorable crafts to gift and engineering delicious home cooked meals for the fabulous dinner parties I’ll one day throw. I love to travel, locally, regionally… heck, even internationally, I don’t discriminate too much when it comes to a new destination. I am a little obsessed with taking photos of the food I eat, whether I make it or pay to eat it. It is my firm belief that a girl can never have enough purses or too many shoes. I plan to fill this lovely little blog with my adventures in food, travel, and craftiness. I hope you enjoy!

4 responses »

  1. I love this! I wish there were better places to pick apples around socal…guess I need to make a trip up north!

  2. Pingback: Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup | In Natalie's Shoes

  3. Pingback: Celebrating Fall at Apple Hill | In Natalie's Shoes

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