Monday, September 24, 2012

Brandied Apple Skillet Cake

This spicy cake with a rustic look makes a great Autumn dessert to go with a hot cup of tea. I originally intended for the apples to stay on the bottom of the skillet, baking into the bottom of the cake so that when it is inverted after baking, the apple slices are on top (sort of like a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake). But the batter was not thick enough, and some of the apples mixed into the center of the cake and baked there. I thought about changing the recipe to be denser so the apples would stay on the bottom, but after baking it I really liked the taste and texture, so I kept it as it is.

The brandy is inevitably cooked off, so this is not a "Tipsy Cake." But it mixes nicely with the spices and the apples, giving the cake a delighful flavor, just for grown-ups.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10" or 12" Cast Iron Skillet with shortening.

For the Brandied Apples:
2 Tablespoons Butter (you can omit the butter for a vegan recipe)
2 large crisp apples, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup Brandy

In a separate skillet (not the one you will bake the cake in), melt the butter over medium heat. Add apple slices, brown sugar, and gently pour in the brandy. Cook over medium heat for several minutes until the apples are softened and the liquid has turned syrupy. (If your liquid is still very thin when the apples are cooked, you can remove the apples and thicken the liquid a bit more.) Set aside.

For the Cake:
1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon Vinegar (white or cider vinegar)
1/4 Cup Brandy
3/4 Cup Cold Water

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and spices. Stir well. Add the oil, vinegar, Brandy and water into the dry ingredients and stir until batter is moistened and larger lumps disappear.

Arrange the cooked apple slices in one layer on the bottom of the cast iron skillet.  Pour the syrupy liquid over the apples. Pour the cake batter over the apples and bake for approximately 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Time will vary depending on the size skillet you use.

When the cake has cooled a bit, run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen it and then invert onto a large plate. sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

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