Life Food


Baking with honeycrisp apples picked in Northumberland

Don Houston of Hearty Fare

By Don Houston



I recently took a drive east on the old Highway 2 towards Brighton; a road I call "produce alley." Naturally, I stopped at my favourite apple guy, Deleuw's Orchard, and picked a half bushel of Honeycrisp apples; now I am in Honeycrisp heaven.

There are many many things you can do and cook with Honeycrisp apples. This week I am combining the flavour of honey crisps with pecans and a caramel topping in an upside down cake. By using a low oven temperature, it should prevent the cake from doming. It also helps to diminish doming if you use an aluminium pan as opposed to a darker coloured metal pan. The sides should be about 2".

The next note is if an upside-down cake is turned out of the pan too quickly, the bottom of the cake steams and turns gummy; if the cake cools completely in the pan, the fruit will stick. Our approach is to line the pan with parchment paper, which ensures that the fruit releases cleanly; let the cake rest in the pan for just 15 minutes before turning it out onto a rack.

The ground pecan flour could make the cake heavy; but, the eggs and oil lighten it up.

Honeycrisp and pecan upside down cake


  • 4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
  • 1 / 2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tsp. Corn starch
  • 1 / 4 Tsp. Salt
  • 2 Lbs Honeycrisp apples

Cake Batter

  • 1 Cup Pecans toasted
  • 1 / 2 Cup A.P. flour
  • 1 / 2 Tsp. Baking powder
  • 3 lg. Eggs
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
  • 1 / 4 Cup Canola oil

TOPPING: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Pour melted butter over bottom of pan and swirl to evenly coat. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in small bowl and sprinkle evenly over melted butter.

2. Peel, halve, and slice apples into wedges. Arrange apples wedges in circular pattern around cake pan.

CAKE BATTER: Pulse pecans, flour, salt, baking powder, in food processor until pecans are finely ground, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer pecan mixture to bowl.

4. Process eggs and sugar in now-empty processor until very pale yellow, about 2 minutes. With processor running, add melted butter and oil in steady stream until incorporated. Add pecan mixture and pulse to combine, 4 to 5 pulses. Pour batter evenly over apples (some apple may show through; cake will bake up over fruit).

5. Bake until center of cake is set and bounces back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, rotating pan after 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully run paring knife or offset spatula around sides of pan. Invert cake onto wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet; discard parchment. Let cake cool for about 2 hours. Transfer to serving platter, cut into wedges, and serve with whipped cream.

If you need any information on Free Run Chickens, Black Angus Beef, Mennonite Sausage/bacon/pork/poultry, local Ontario Lamb, homemade and naturally raised or grown products, recipes you would like to see, or food items you can't locate, visit our Farm Market 3232 Burnham St. N. Camborne. Open Wednesday to Sunday (see ad in Thursday's Northumberland Today classified section) or e-mail me at Visit the website