Cast Iron pans are a secret weapon. Yes, they are heavy enough that they could actually be used as a weapon, but that’s not what I am talking about. I love my cast iron pan, but I hardly ever use it! The problem is, because I don’t use it very much, whenever I go to use it – I usually have to re-season it. It is not that hard, but kind of a pain. It is always completely worth it though – particularly for baking. The one thing I have not done yet is use my cast iron pan to bake something on the Big Green Egg…now we’re talking.
The other week I signed up to bring dessert for book club. I decided that I would make two desserts – one for the kids, and one for the adults. What did I make for the kids? Of course these…but I wanted to do something completely different for the adults. Something that was easy, not too heavy, but that looked appetizing enough for everyone to try it. I was so happy when I found this recipe in Bon Appetit, and it called for a cast iron pan. It had been a while since I baked on my cast iron pan, and it was time.
It was a little risky to make this when we were trying to think spring, but I think I pulled it off. The apples really made this dish – the cake had such an intense flavor that the apples offset it nicely. Most of the Moms had a taste, and many of the kids did too. Now, all I have to do is make this on the Egg to give it a nice smoky flavor…now that would be something else.
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3-4 Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples, (about 2 pounds), peeled
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Melt butter in a 10-inch (as measured across the bottom) cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet; set aside. Whisk flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
Whisk molasses, egg, ginger, and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in sour cream, then milk. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients, then 3 tablespoons melted butter from skillet. Set aside.
Place 1 apple on a work surface stem up. Cut a large piece of apple from 1 side, leaving core behind. Rotate apple and repeat twice for a total of 3 large pieces (a triangular core will remain). Repeat with remaining apples.
Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar to butter in skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar begins to caramelize, 2-3 minutes. Add apples; stir to coat. Cook apples rounded sides down for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook flat sides down until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes longer. Space apples evenly in skillet flat side down and pour cake batter over.
Transfer skillet to oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-40 minutes.
Let cake cool in skillet for 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto a plate. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Apple Mollases Upside Down Cake