Iron Skillet Apple Cake

It’s apple picking season and even though I’m not one to go tromping through the orchard for them, I’m more than happy to buy a few at the farmers’ market, which is exactly what I did last week.

So what’s the first thing most people think of making with an abundance of apples? Apple Pie, of course. But me, I’m not a big fan of apple pie (I know, that’s almost un-American). And besides that, I don’t really consider myself a baker.

Cooking and baking are two very different creatures. What I love about cooking is that I can get creative, sometimes just throwing a bunch of ingredients together to create a fabulous dish. Or I can take an existing recipe and use it merely as a guideline, making all sorts of modifications to suit my own personal tastes. But not baking. Baking requires a level of precision for things to turn out right; exact measurements are key to the success of the product. Some have likened it to a chemistry experiment. And if you had been in my high school chemistry class, you would never, ever want me to bake anything for you.

But when I saw this cake pop up in my Google Reader, I got pretty excited because- A) it looked scrumptious and B) the final product seemed a bit messy and imperfect. I figured even if I messed it up and it turned out ugly, it would probably still taste pretty awesome. And I was right! Moist and delicious with the perfect caramelization of the sugar and butter….mmmmm….

Iron Skillet Apple Cake

from The Pioneer Woman Cooks


4 small Granny Smith (or other tart) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into six equal slices

1 3/4 sticks butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream*

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped finely


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a 9 to 10-inch skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the pan and stir around, then place apple slices, curved side down, in the pan. Don’t pack them too tightly, but try not to leave overly large gaps. Allow this to cook over medium-low heat while you make the cake batter.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another large bowl using an electric mixer, beat 1 stick of softened butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add sour cream and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Gently stir in 1 chopped apple.

Remove skillet from heat. Drop the batter in large spoonfuls over the top of the apples as evenly as you can. Then with an offset spatula, carefully spread the batter evenly over the apples without pressing too hard. (The butter will bubble up on top of the batter in spots, and that's okay, because remember, it doesn't have to look perfect). Next, put it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and bubbly.

Now you have two choices- you can serve straight from the skillet, or if you're serving to guests and want a prettier presentation, you can transfer to a cake plate.

Just allow the cake to sit in the skillet for five minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Ta Da!

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream

*I used light sour cream. Not sure that the light sour cream really “lightens” the dish since there are almost 3 sticks of butter, but hey, save calories where you can, right?