Carmelized Apple Upside Down Cake

2 cup chopped pecans
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
2 teaspoons brandy
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 375°.
2. Toss apple slices with lemon juice, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
3. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in brandy. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
4. Sprinkle pecans over brown sugar mixture. Arrange apples in 2 concentric circles over pecans.
5. Beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add milk, sour cream, and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla, beating just until blended.
6. Whisk together baking mix, nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add nutmeg mixture to butter mixture, beating just until blended.
7. Beat egg whites in a large bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Spread batter over apples in skillet.
8. Bake at 375° for 50 to 54 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted halfway into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto a serving plate, replacing any topping that sticks to skillet on cake.

Adapted from Southern Living

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