I only took noticed at this cake when I was scrolling thru' my Instagram feed and stumbled upon @liznovello's post on "Favorite Fall Recipes". This particular recipe from Bon Appétit caught my attention. The recipe indeed took the social media by storm for the past week and I was so eager to try it out myself. I am so glad that I did.
I had done a few alternations to suit my tastebuds. I didn't grind the pecans finely cos I want some crunchy texture. I also decided to flambe the apples with some calvados. Because this is Fall and if you have been with me long enuff, you will notice that I do not use vanilla heavily on my cakes or dessert. I find that by adding different types of alcohol actually brings out more flavors. Lastly, I converted the measurements into grams to make it more precise for everyone.
As you can see, mine didn't turn out as beautiful as Claire's version. She used a melon baller to core out the seeds and stems. I just used an apple corer. You can choose whichever way you desired; the results will still be as marvellous. This cake also be kept at room temperature for 2 days. Just make sure that it is tightly wrapped with parchment paper. This sits very well on any dinner table, especially this coming Halloween. Cast those colorful treats aside and indulge in this healthier dessert instead.
Inspired by Claire Saffitz from Bon Appétit
(Make one 10" cake)
Unsalted Butter Softened, 142g
Red Apples Preferably Gala or Honeycrisp, 3 or 4
Calvados or Any Apple Brandy, 3 TBSP
Light Muscovado Sugar, 100g
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 128g
Sea Salt, 1 TSP
Baking Soda, 1 TSP
Baking Powder, 1/2 TSP
Nutmeg Freshly Grated, 1/4 TSP
Cinnamon Powder, 1.5 TSP
Demerara Sugar, 50g
Greek Yogurt, 125g
10" Cast Iron Skillet
Hand / Stand Mixer
Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius or 350 fahrenheit.
In a skillet over medium heat, add pecans.
Toast the pecans until aromatic.
Remove from heat and transfer into a mortar.
Using a pestle, pound the pecans into fine coarse bits.
Transfer into a large bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, without any heat, add in 30g of butter.
The butter will start to melt as you are preparing the apples.
Peel and core the apples.
*I didn't follow what Claire did. She used a melon baller to core out the seeds and stems. I, however, used an apple corer. You of cos, can choose whichever method as desired.*
Slice the apples into halves.
Place them immediately, cut side down on the skillet.
*The apples will oxidize fast, especially on the cored and cut sides. Do it this way will slow down the oxidization.*
You may need 3 or 4 apples, depending on the size of your apples and skillet.
Once all the apples are prepped, turn the heat up to medium.
Cook until the bottom is golden brown.
*You may have to rotate the skillet to allow even browning.*
Once bottom is golden brown, flip.
Add in 2 TBSP of calvados and let it flambe.
*Be very careful will doing this.*
Once bottom is lightly browned, remove from heat and set side on a plate lined with kitchen paper or wire cooling rack, cut side up.
Retain any leftover liquid in the skillet.
With that same skillet over medium heat, add in 50g of light muscovado sugar.
Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Cook until the sugar caramelized.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Add flour, salt, baking soda and powder into the same bowl as the pecans.
Mix to combine well. Set aside.
In another large bowl, add the remaining butter, light muscovado sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and demerara sugar.
Cream butter until light and fluffy with a hand or stand mixer.
Add in eggs and the remaining 1 TBSP of calvados.
Continue whisking until well combine.
Continue whisking, alternating between the pecan mixture and yogurt, 1/3 portion at a time, into the butter mixture until everything is fully incorporated.
Lay the apples in the skillet with the cooled caramel, cut side down.
Spoon the batter over the apples, making sure all the nooks and crannies in between each apples are filled with the batter.
Smooth the top surface with an offset spatula.
*If your cast iron skillet comes with non-metal handle, wrap the handle with aluminium foil.*
Wack into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 mins or until the top is evenly browned and the center springs back when gently pressed.
Set aside to cool slightly, about 10 mins.
Run along the edges with a sharp knife or an offset spatula.
Place a larger serving plate over the skillet.
Confidently, flip and unmold the cake.
If there are any apples that are stuck on the skillet, remove and pop it back into the cake.
If there is any leftover caramel that is also stuck on the skillet, add a splash of water and turn the heat up to medium.
Swirl to dissolve the harden caramel.
Pour the caramel over the cake.
Slice and enjoy.
The cake can be kept at room temperature, wrapped tightly with parchment paper, for up to 2 days.