Sunday, April 3, 2011
Caramelized Apple Skillet Cake
Sunday mornings – are they busy or lazy around your house? For ours, they are often taken in stride and quite easy. We often brew coffee, watch Good Morning America, the weekend edition and simply relax.
With relaxation comes a great breakfast. Sometimes we rally and go out to breakfast where other times, it is handmade and enjoyed in a leisurely fashion. This morning was such a day. When I purchased Karen De Masco’s – “The Craft of Baking” several months ago, the Caramelized Apple Skillet Cake instantly caught my eye.
I am a complete fan of caramel. The golden rich flavor of really terrific caramel is something that resonates with me. The combination of granny smith apples, caramel and a cornmeal infused cake for breakfast was just the ticket for today’s breakfast.
Instead of a cast iron skillet, I opted for a non-stick oven proof sauté pan. I knew this would guarantee that the cake would not stick. After making the cake, a few things I would change would be to double the caramel topping, which I already altered in the recipe below. I actually used one big apple, but would use two, next time along with letting the sugar mixture caramelize a bit more in the pan.
Caramelized Apple Skillet Cake
1 1/4 C.sugar
10 tablespoons butter, very soft
2 medium apples or one large, Granny Smith
2 t. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
3/4 C. plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 T. coarse yellow cornmeal or fine polenta
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/3 C. whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In an 8-inch ovenproof skillet, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with 4 tablespoons water, stirring to make sure all of the sugar is damp.
Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar turns a golden brown caramel, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 4 tablespoons of the butter.
Peel, core, and using a mandoline or a sharp knife, cut the apples crosswise into 1/8-inch thick rings. Tightly shingle all of the apple rings over the caramel, starting around the outside of the skillet and working toward the center, overlapping the slices.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the remaining 6 tablespoons butter, and the vanilla. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In three additions, add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, to the butter mixture. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into a large bowl.
Clean and dry the bowl of the electric mixer well. Add the egg whites and, using the whisk attachment on medium speed, beat to soft peaks, about 4 minutes. In three additions, fold the whites into the batter.
Spread the batter evenly over the apples in the skillet.
Bake, rotating the skillet halfway through, until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, 45 to 50 minutes. Place the skillet on a wire rack and let it cool just until the cake is warm, about 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The cake is best eaten the day it is baked but can be kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.