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Apple Buttermilk Cake

September 29, 2010

‘Tis the season for apples. If you’ve never gone, get yourself to an orchard to pick some fresh apples from the trees. Be sure to save some time for sipping apple cider, nibbling on apple cider doughnuts, and even some pumpkin picking!  This is a simple upside-down skillet cake. What I love best about it is the low sweetness. I use tart apples and the biscuit-like dough is more savory that sugary sweet, which means it’s good for breakfast too (shhhhh….don’t tell!). I adapted this from a Gourmet recipe (Sept. 2000).

You will need:

  • 2 T butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1-2 large tart apples, cored and sliced thin (Honeycrisp are my current favorite, with Granny Smith next in line)
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 5 T cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c well-mixed buttermilk *

Then you will…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Over medium heat, melt the margarine in an ovenproof 10-inch heavy cast iron skillet. When the foam subsides, stir in the brown sugar and remove from heat. Spread mixture evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Arrange the apples in 1 layer with the slices overlapping.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter and pulse until it’s blended through and the mixture looks like coarse meal.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can use your fingers to blend or cut the butter in with two knives.
  5. Pour the flour mixture into a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and stir it in just until the flour mixture is moistened through.
  6. Drop the batter by spoonfuls on top of the apples. Spread gently, leaving an inch-wide border around the edge of the skillet. The biscuit will expand while baking.
  7. Bake until golden brown and firm, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool in the skillet on a rack about 3-5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Replace any apples that stuck to the skillet.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* If you do not have buttermilk, you can easily make a substitute:  add 1 T lemon juice to a measuring cup. Pour in enough milk to reach the 1 cup line. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, undisturbed. Stir and use as your buttermilk.

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