There are cakes with layers upon layers and perfectly piped frosting, but this is not that kind of cake. No, this is an ‘everyday’ kind of cake. The kind of cake that you mix up quick and then bake in a single dish (in this case a skillet), but thanks to its fruit-studded nature, a kiss of Kentucky bourbon, and crackly sugared top, it doesn’t taste any less special.
It’s a moist cake, with a crumb that’s sweet but backed up by a bit of yogurt tang. There are sliced apples running throughout to lend some sweetness too, but they don’t stop there. See, those apples (and a handful of pecans) are left to soak in a weensy bit of bourbon while you make up the batter and when you’ve come back to stir them in, they’ve absorbed all of that caramel oakiness. It runs throughout every bit of the cake, but the baking mellows it so its bite is never sharp.
It’s a cake with a rustic flair, so there’s no need for carefully arranging apple slices in concentric circles here. Just spread the batter into that skillet and sprinkle the top with plenty of sugar. When it bakes, some of the sugar dissolves and forms itself into a delicate crackle topping while some remains as a snowy, sugar dusting.
Would a regular cake pan work fine? Sure, it’ll do. But a well-loved skillet seems to add a little bit of flavor and a little bit of country flair that are hard to come by any other way. And you can thank it for the sugary crunch that helps make this little cake so special.
Kentucky Apple Skillet Cake
- 3 small apples peeled and sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- To a small bowl, add the apples, pecan, and bourbon and stir to combine. Set aside.
- In large bowl, beat together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, followed by yogurt, and mix on low until smooth.
- Fold in apple/pecan mixture and spread batter into cast iron skillet. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.
- Let cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from My Organized Chaos.