Fall is almost here and there are many apple varieties at the farmer’s market. On Sundays during apple season I like to make apple tarte tatin. But I stumbled over this recipe for skillet apple cake and just had to try it. It is a fluffy vanilla cake topped with apples and turbinado sugar. You can use any apple that is good for pies. I used half Ida Reds and half Honeycrisps. The Ida Red apples are a bit tart and firm, the Honeycrisps are crisp and juicy. Honeycrisps are my favorite apples to eat out of hand. You could also use Golden Delicious or Granny Smiths.
This cake is perfect to have in the morning with a cup of tea or coffee, or topped with ice cream for dessert. You can use apple pie spice, but I had pumpkin pie spice in my cupboard and decided to use that instead. Depending on the brand, both spice mixes are somewhat similar in their flavor profiles. They contain cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Pumpkin pie spice also has ginger which gave great warmth to this cake.
Of course, you can make your own apple/pumpkin spice mix at home. Here is a link to recipes for both.
Skillet Apple Cake
(Adapted from this King Arthur Flour Recipe)
1 tablespoon butter, for greasing skillet
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼ inch slices
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple pie or pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon butter. If you like you can grease the skillet and then line the bottom of the skillet with parchment paper for easier cleanup.
2. Place the apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to 1 teaspoon. This will happen within 5 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, place the apples, reduced apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, apple pie or pumpkin spice, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, combine the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.
5. Place the batter in the greased skillet. Arrange the apple slices on top of the batter. Pour any extra juice over the apples. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes
6. Remove skillet from the oven and run a thin spatula or knife along the edges of the cake so that any melted sugar will not stick to the edges once the cake cools. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.
Note: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can bake this in a 9 by 9 inch square pan. It should bake for 40-50 minutes, but check it often. Do not over-bake, otherwise your cake will dry out.