Emeril Lagasse has an AMAZING recipe for a Sour Cream Apple Cake. It's really an upside down apple cake with sour cream in the cake batter. The batter is moist as can be, and when you turn the cake out onto your plate/cake stand, the caramel just oozes! You can find this recipe on foodtv.com.
If corn syrup is your only objection you would probably get good results by using the butter in the bottom of your pan, sprinkling on 5 tablespoons of brown sugar and skipping the cream. Lay the apples in there and continue with the balance of the recipe.
It's an upside down cake. You'll get caramelized apples in the same way you'd get caramelized pineapple in a pineapple upside down cake. You won't get the same sexy drippy caramel syrup in the illustrations but that's what the corn syrup and cream are doing.
You could, of course, drizzle your cake with caramel sauce after it's de-panned. Here's a recipe for a caramel sauce made without corn syrup. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/cara...