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  • Writer's pictureRuby Deubry

Upside Down Apple Skillet Cake

This no-bake recipe is perfect when you need a dessert in a hurry. Caramelized apples, warm spices, and citrus notes create a heavenly combination. The skillet cake won't rise as high as an oven-baked cake, but what it lacks in height, it makes up in flavor and is far from dry. I have used both brown and white sugar for the cake with slightly different but equally delicious results. Using white sugar results in a flavor like a yellow cake, while brown sugar produces something similar to a spice cake.

For the apples

2 small Granny Smith apples

2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground nutmeg is best)

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

5 Tablespoons brown sugar

For the cake

3/4 cups cake flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/4 cup neutral oil e.g. safflower or vegetable

1/4 cup sugar (brown or white)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Tablespoons (45 ml ) milk

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest


  1. Peel and core the apples. Cut into 1/2-inch rounds. Place in a non-metal bowl and sprinkle with lemon or lime juice. Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the apples and toss well to coat.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon into a bowl then add the salt.

  3. In another bowl, mix the oil and sugar together using a whisk or hand-held blender. Add the egg and mix well (for at least 20 seconds). Add the vanilla extract and mix well again.

  4. Add half of the flour mixture and mix in gently. Mix in the milk and orange zest. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Set the mixture aside.

  5. Melt the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron pan or non-stick, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle over the brown sugar and distribute evenly over the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Add as many apple slices that will fit. Savvy tip: you can cut apples into smaller pieces to fill in large gaps.

  6. Pour the batter over the apples making sure to cover them. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Invert onto a plate and enjoy!

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