Recipe: A-Peeling Apples for a Skillet Cake

I’ll give you three chances to guess what it smells like in my house right now. Remember my hint from yesterday? If you guessed apples and cinnamon, you’re so right!

Alex was out of town for a couple days and as a surprise treat for his return home, I decided to try out this Apple Skillet Cake recipe. Of course you can use the original recipe, but here are my adaptations:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Mix together the dry ingredients:
– 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached organic)
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
– 1.5 teaspoons salt

2. Prepare the apples. Peel and slice into thick wedges 4-5 medium-sized firm baking apples. (I used local Gingergolds). And check out how easy it was to peel using my new peeler/corer/slicer:

[click here to watch new gadget in action!]

Like the author of the original recipe, I opted just to peel the apples on the gadget, and then sliced them with my wedge slicer.

Toss them around with:
– almost 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– a handful of “apple pie spices” (see note below! I used a lot of cinnamon, a bit of fresh nutmeg, a pinch of allspice, and a pinch of ground ginger)
– a good squeeze of lemon juice (I used this in place of boiled cider)

*Note: I remember seeing some apple pie bake-off show on TV, and I thought I remembered hearing something to the effect of “spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice are not actually traditional apple pie spices,” but that ones like ginger, cardamom, and star anise are actually the richly fragrant and aromatic spices that apples crave. Has anyone else heard this? I still think cinnamon is a classic with apples, and wouldn’t dare not using it in any sort of baked apple dish, but I think there are a lot of things that would shine with apples as their canvas. It’s definitely worth experimenting! You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.

3. While your apples are getting a scrub down in the brown sugar and soaking up the spices, combine the liquid ingredients:
– 2/3 cup warm milk
– 6 tablespoons melted butter (I always use unsalted butter)
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Be careful not to add the egg while you’re liquids are really hot or you might get a scrambled egg!

4. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and pour the batter into a buttered skillet (or 9″ square cake pan if you don’t have a skillet). Give the apples one last toss and then pour them right on top of the batter. (Don’t forget about that super sweet, sticky juice that might be left in the bowl! Pour that on too!)

Originally I was going to arrange them in a nice spiral pattern, but then I decided to go rustic and just put them every whichaway. I also sprinkled them with coarse sparkling sugar for that extra, well, sparkle.

5. Put the whole thing in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or longer! (If you’re worried about the edges burning, just put a ring of aluminum foil around the edges). I put my skillet on a baking sheet just in case it bubbled over, but I didn’t end up needing it this time.

Yum! Wouldn’t this be delicious with a nice scoop of cinnamon or butter pecan ice cream? Alex loved it!

Now that is officially fall, I imagine I’ll be getting some good mileage out of my trusty new gadget as the apples come rolling (haha) in. To that end, we’d love it if you’d share some of your favorite fall apple recipes! Post a comment and let us know how you like ’em: fried? Stuffed and baked? Dipped in caramel? Drizzled with melted brie? Smothered with butter and brown sugar? What are your secret spice combinations? Come on, don’t be shy. We know you’ve got some great ideas!

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