Apple Skillet Cake

Apple Skillet Cake

The kids love our annual pilgrimage to pick apples and bring home pumpkins to carve.  We go to a pick-your-own apple orchard and fill our bags with Empires, Galas, Fujis, Honeycrisps, McIntosh, and Golden Delicious. We always have an excess that I need to get creative with, so I often make the following cake to use them up. I prefer to bake with apples that are tart and crisp since they balance out a cake's sweetness and tend to hold their shape better. Bring the rustic skillet straight from the oven to the table to serve up. This cake is a cross between an apple cake and English pudding, so it's best eaten warm.  Sprinkling melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon on the apples enables them to be slightly caramelized before they are enveloped by the batter. 

Makes: 1 8 or 9-inch cake in a cast iron skillet or springform round pan 

Preparation: 25 minutes

Tip: To halve an egg, whisk the full egg, and then measure half with a tablespoon.  

Photograph: Nicole Franzen

Ingredients

For Cake:

1 cup and 2 tablespoons (145g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda 

1⁄8 teaspoon salt 

1 1/2 eggs, at room temperature 

1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, shake carton 

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (127g) honey 

1⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

6 tablespoons (3/4 sticks/85g) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (75g) granulated sugar 


For Topping: 

2 apples, cored and thinly sliced

¼ cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 

3 tablespoons (40g) cane sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use butter to grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet, or a 9-inch parchment-lined springform pan.
  2. Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, honey, and vanilla. Set aside.
  5. Using an electric mixer with beaters or a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 30 to 45 seconds on medium speed, then gradually add the sugar. When all the sugar has been added, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Continue beating at medium speed for another 4 minutes or until fluffy and light in color.
  6. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the batter curdles, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the flour to bind it back together. 
  7. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry and wet ingredients. Mix until combined and smooth. Don’t overbeat. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth the top. 
  8. To make the topping, toss the apple slices and lemon juice in a bowl to stop them from browning. Working from the center out, gently lay the apple slices on top of the batter; leave behind any excess juice. Brush or drizzle the melted butter over the apple slices.
  9. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over the apple slices. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden. A skewer may not come out completely clean due to the moisture of the apple, but it shouldn't be wet.
  10. Remove from the oven; cool for 10 minutes and either release the cake from the springform pan, or serve warm from the skillet. Serve with Crème Anglaise.