Crisp apples are abundant in the markets and at farm stand and this Skillet Apple Upsidedown Cake recipe is a perfect use for them!
There is something about a quick cast iron cake that feels rustic and homey. A perfect reason to use up a variety of fruits and satisfy a sweet tooth while filling the home with sweet smells. A perfect snack or warm breakfast, skillet cakes are a favorite of mine. I love using stone fruit, apples, pears, or even pineapple on the quick to make fast skillet cakes without any of the pomp and circumstance of layered frosted confections.
Cooking in cast iron is a favorite of mine. There’s something about the crisp outer layer that you can only get on hot iron that I love. It’s simple or, as trends would have it, rustic. Often mixed in one bowl and poured right into the skillet, it’s the perfect no-fuss sort of baking I enjoy when I need a mindless activity to break up the day.
A lot of people are intimidated by cooking in cast iron, though. Being the staple of my cooking collection, I love cast iron and cook on it 99% of the time. I can say it’s simple, but takes practice, like all things. Every cooktop will heat differently and you have to spend a few trial sessions learning just how hot your’s gets, how well seasoned your pans are, and how to regulate the heat. This is a perfect starter skillet that will last a lifetime.
My trick to cooking with cast iron? Practice with eggs. Frying eggs is an inexpensive way to learn the ins and outs of your own cast iron skillet without feeling too wasteful (often I just end up eating the eggs for breakfast). Heat the skillet and learn when to lower and adjust the heat as needed. Learn when to add the butter and just when to remove the heat altogether, as cast iron will hold heat and continue to cook the ingredients within even off heat.
Frying eggs is a great practice round for cooking in cast iron. From there, cakes and cornbread are perfect testers. You add the batter in a bake te whole thing in the oven, producing a perfect crisp ‘crust’ that you just can’t get with other cake pans.
So that’s it, fry some eggs and become a cast iron master. Then bake some cakes because you can.
Start with this Skillet Apple Upside Down Cake, because it’s that kind of good.
Skillet Apple Upside Down Cake
For the Apple Layer:
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Granny Smith Apples cored and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 Red ______ apples cored and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teas fresh lemon juice
For the Cake:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp cornmeal
- 1 teas baking powder
- 1/2 teas salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teas vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a 9 to 10: cast iron skillet over low heat. Melt the butter in the pan and add the apples and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until the apples have softened. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice and remove from heat.
Gently press the apples into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar and eggs together until smooth. Stir in the butter until combined. Add the vanilla.
Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined.
Pour the batter evenly over the apples in the skillet and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven with heat proof gloves. Place on a wire rack and cool 20 minutes until safe to handle.
Run a small knife around the edges of the cake and skillet to loosed from the sides. Place a wire rack or a cake platter over the top of the skillet and flip. Gently wiggle and lift the skillet, revealing the apple cake below. Sugary drippings will run down the sides and pool around the cake.
Adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen Magazine 2011