If you were to drop by my house on any given day you’d probably find me hungry and over-caffinated, behind a computer screen. You also might find me behind a giant pile of dirty dishes with flour all over my jeans. I’m not the kind of girl that’s instantly prepared for company. The pop-in is a biiig no-no. I do, however, wish I were the kind of lady that had pretty cake, coffee, and a pair of socially acceptable pants on at a moment’s notice. Sigh.
I also wish I were the kind of lady who had an attic full of festive Autumn decor that I could bust out every November for Thanksgiving decorating. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a different level of adulthood. Beyond pants, for real.
Since I don’t have any well-stored festive wreaths, I decided to celebrate Autumn on the real… with apples and trees and crisp cool sunshine. I went apple picking with Ms. Lani Trock, then I came home and made a simple and sweet Apple Skillet Cake. It’s like a visitor’s cake… the sort of cake you throw together for company on a Saturday afternoon (at least, that’s what I do in my fantasy version of adulthood) (after cake we go shopping for wreaths, right?).
all beautiful orchard photographs by ms. lani trock. she takes pretty pictures.
Being among these trees made me feel like Snow White.
Wait… did Snow White have some sort of apple situation? I think so.
These trees make me feel like a Snow White that either needs her really tall prince charming, or a ladder (because she’s independent like that).
At home (with Cat Prince Charming) these apples feel enchanted.
That sounds silly… especially to a cat who just wants to lick the butter.
This cake is just a simple and totally earnest spice cake. It starts with butter and sugar. It meets up with flour and spice. It’s topped with fresh apples, cinnamon, and (more…) sugar.
The batter is a rather thick, buttermilk base. It’s spread in a greased and floured cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a 9-inch skillet a cake pan will also be just fine (though less enchanted).
I sliced the apples into thin rounds then used a small round cutter to cut out the cores.
I layered the little apple rounds (peel and all) atop the buttermilk cake batter.
Because enough is never enough, I sprinkled the top (very generously) with cinnamon-sugar.
Then I stood in my living room and took a picture of the whole thing. The usual.
Let’s go back to the orchard for a bit.
Just another day in the apple orchard.
I do this all the time.
The sight of this sweet cake makes me want to ring the dinner bell, or run through a pile of Autumn leaves.
I don’t have access to either of those things, but… still.
Right now would be a really great time to come over. I have both cake and coffee… and I’m wearing clean jeans. If you could just bring some sort of festive wreath we could pretend to be real-life grown-ups. Cool. Thanks.
I feel like this cake speaks for itself. It is exactly what it is: sweet buttermilk spice cake topped with orchard picked apples and cinnamon-sugar. It’s the sort of cake you can welcome guests with (or excitedly call a friend to come over with lattes). It’s good living. Let’s enjoy the season!
Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Skillet Cake
makes one 9-inch cake
adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 or 4 apples, sliced into thin rounds and cored
1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon for topping
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof dish or cake pan).
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until well incorporated and lighter in color, about 3 minutes. Add egg and yolk, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk and when flour is just combined with the butter mixture, add the remaining flour. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has disappeared into the mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula. Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Top generously with sliced apples and cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Serve cake warm, with coffee of tea. Cake should be wrapped in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.