Apple & Cinnamon “Skillet” Cake

by isabelcanosa


I love the humble apple with all my heart. One day I will own an orchard (and a pygmy goat). When I was a very little girl I started a survey at my primary school to prove that Cox apples were better than Granny Smiths, off my own back and for no real reason. I am hopping I didn’t name the survey Cox V Granny (snigger!). Granny Smiths won; I have never got over this.

Now, let us move away from fanatical children and back to the subject; apples. Take an apple. From there you can make a multitude of scrumptious recipes that will delight me. Simply add it to a pan with some water and sugar and you get stewed apple, wiz that in a blender and you get apple sauce. Be a little more advanced and add a crumble topping, and you have my ultimate comfort food. Any apple dish is always cosy to me, whatever the weather.

For this recipe my beloved apples are sliced, cored and added to a cinnamon buttermilk cake batter to make an apple cake. I promise this blog won’t all be cake, but today, it’s cake. But this cake is baked in a frying pan (or skillet as they say in the US) so it’s a special cake. I found this particular recipe from joy the baker, who is a recent addition to my food blog obsession (I really need to be more patriotic and follow more UK bloggers; Parisians and Americans seem to be my go to) and this is the first of her recipes I have tried, and it worked! Which sounds like a poor compliment but I have found many a recipe online that just doesn’t. Apart from its ability to form itself into a cake, it was also very quick, very easy and very very seductive.

I liked the novelty of bringing a frying pan of cake to the table but it can be baked in pretty much any cake pan or dish of a similar size.


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3 or 4 apples
190g cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
180ml (3/4cup) buttermilk

60g Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease and flour a 9 inch frying pan or similar sized cake pan/ dish (If you are using a non-stick pan you may not need to do this but better to be safe than sorry).

Peel your apples and slice horizontally into 5mm thick disks. Using a cookie cutter (or an icing nozzle/ other implement, if you don’t have right size cutter!) cut 1 inch circles out of the centre of each disk. If you have an apple corer you can core the apple before slicing. To avoid your apples turning brown while you make the batter, squeeze a little lemon over the slices.


Whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, and salt in bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon for your topping.

Using your electric mixer on a medium speed, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated and then add the separate egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat.

If you have a wonderful mixer like mine you will have a plastic guard that goes over the bowl to avoid the flour flying out, if you don’t, use a dishcloth over the mixer when you add the flour to avoid covering yourself (or your dog) with flour.


Add half the flour mixture to the batter and with the mixer on low, beat until just incorporated. Add the buttermilk, beat, and then the remaining flour and continue beating until fully incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan/dish and top with the sliced apples and sugar cinnamon topping.



Bake cake in the top third of your oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Serve hot straight from the oven with clotted cream or ice cream for dessert, or, if you can avoid the allure of spiced cinnamon apple wafting around your kitchen, serve cooled for more of a tea and cake moment. This cake kept for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge, although it was at its best on the first day.