Apple Cinnamon Roll Upside Down Cake

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This Apple Cinnamon Roll Upside Down Cake is a unique and delicious version of a typical upside-down cake recipe. Soft flaky crescent cinnamon rolls topped with caramelized apples. Quick, easy and always a huge hit for Fall.

Apple Upside Down Cake on a white plate

Upside Down Cinnamon Roll Apple Cake

I guess you could also consider this another version of caramel apple cinnamon rolls, but we call this a “cake” because you serve it in cake slices. My family always begs me to make this cake because it’s so good.

Making this cake takes more effort than our traditional upside down cake, but it’s totally worth it. This cinnamon roll cake recipe is not difficult because it uses semi-homemade ingredients. And when it’s done, it’s not only delicious but also looks really pretty.

What You Need

  • For the Cinnamon Roll Cake: The base of the cake is made using refrigerated crescent sheets. It is layered with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
  • Caramel Sauce: This homemade caramel sauce comes together so easily with butter, salt, brown sugar, light corn syrup, and heavy cream.
  • Apples: I like gala apples for this recipe, but any type of baking apple can be used.

How to Make Apple Cinnamon Roll Upside Down Cake

  • Prep the pan: You will begin by preparing your pan with parchment paper to help prevent sticking.  Set the pan aside, and preheat your oven as directed.
  • Make the caramel: Next, you will make the caramel by cooking down your heavy cream, sugar, salt, corn syrup, and vanilla on the stovetop as directed.  Once the sauce is ready, you will pour half of it directly into the cake pan.
  • Make the Topping: Slice your apples, and arrange the apple wedges over the caramel sauce on the bottom of the cake pan.  It doesn’t have to be done perfectly, but taking the time to arrange them will result in a nicer display after cooked.
  • Filling: Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and set aside.  In another bowl, blend the cinnamon and sugar.
  • Assembly: Spread out your crescent dough, add the cream cheese mixture and then brush with butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and then cut into strips to then roll and place inside the cake pan.
  • Bake: as directed, then flip over onto a plate.

Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

upside down apple cake on a white plate

What Are The Best Apples For This Cake?

When making any kind of apple dessert, like this caramel apple upside down cake, you want to use apples that are good for baking. I also prefer a tart apple when I make desserts. I use gala apples in this recipe but you can also use granny smith apples, Honeycrisp, gala, or Pink Lady. Make sure whatever apples you use are baking apples because otherwise the apples will either not soften or will soften too much.

Can I Use Homemade Crescent Dough For This Cinnamon Roll Cake?

Yes! Our recipe for homemade crescent dough can also be used in this recipe. Most people prefer the convenience of using the premade packaged crescent dough.

Variations for Apple Upside Down Cake

You can change up the apple upside down cake in a few different ways:

  • Fruit Swap: Instead of apples, you can use other fruits like pears, peaches, or even pineapple to create different flavors.
  • Nutty Delight: Add chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans to the caramel topping for a crunchy twist.
  • Spice it Up: Experiment with different spices, like nutmeg or ginger, to give it extra flavor.
  • Caramel Flavor: Instead of regular caramel, try using flavored caramel sauces, like salted caramel or butterscotch.
  • Choco-Apple Fusion: Sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks over the caramelized fruit before adding the batter for a delightful combination.
  • Coconut Infusion: Add shredded coconut to the batter or sprinkle it on top of the fruit for a tropical twist.
Apple Upside Down Cake on a white plate

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Apple Cinnamon Roll Upside Down Cake

This Apple Cinnamon Roll Upside Down Cake is a unique and delicious version of a typical upside-down cake recipe. Soft flaky crescent rolls with cinnamon topped with caramelized apples. Quick, easy and always a huge hit for Fall.
Servings: 10 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes


Cake Ingredients:

  • 16 oz refrigerator crescent sheets 2 – 8oz tubes
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted but slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar light
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 Gala apples peeled/ cut in 1/4 in slices


  • Prep cake pan with baking spray. Cut the parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Before putting it in the bottom of the pan apply the baking spray. The baking spray will seal it in place. Set aside.

Caramel Directions:

  • Melt the butter in the saucepan on medium heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Stir in the sugar, salt, corn syrup, and vanilla. Continue to stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes. (Or until it begins to thicken). Pour half of the caramel sauce in the bottom of the cake pan. Set aside the remaining half for later.

Cake Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
  • Whisk the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Using the electric mixer combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • Place the apple slices in the caramel sauce lined bottom of the cake pan.
  • Start working with the crescent dough sheet. Lightly dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Carefully spread 1 crescent dough sheet on the parchment paper. Seal the perforation (separated lines) on the crescent sheet making a large rectangle. Repeat this step with the second crescent dough sheet.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture on the first prepared crescent dough rectangle.
  • Begin to layer with the second prepared crescent dough rectangle on top of the first. Brush the melted butter on the second layer of crescent dough. Sprinkle this with cinnamon sugar mixture. Using your hands gently tap the dough to make sure that the cinnamon sugar sticks to the dough. Cut the prepared layers of dough into 1-inch wide stripes with a pizza cuter.
  • Start to build the cake by rolling the first strip in a spiral placing it in the center of the pan. Carefully lift the second strip of crescent dough wrapping it around the center piece. Repeat this process by loosely adding the new strip where the previous one ended.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put the cake pan on the lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes.(Or until the center has baked completely.) Make sure that the cake doesn’t brown too much by covering the top of the cake with a tent made out of foil.
  • When the cake is done allow it to cool (in the pan) for about 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate to cool completely.
  • Reheat the rest of the caramel sauce and drizzle it on top of the cake prior to serving.

Last Step:

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Serving: 10g | Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 317mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 908IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 0.3mg


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