Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summertime Skillet Cake

This unusual dessert is perfect for hot summer days — there's no need to light your oven, it "bakes" right in your electric frying pan. Part cobbler, part slump, part cake, and all tasty, it's wonderful served with vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream and a scattering of berries. Our thanks to the Norske Nook restaurant and coffee shop in Osseo, Wisconsin, for the inspiration behind this recipe. See step photos on the KA blog here.

First Layer

    * 1/4 cup butter
    * 3/4 cup brown sugar
    * 2 cups sliced fruit or berries
    * 1/4 cup Pie Filling Enhancer, optional

Second Layer

    * 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    * 1/2 cup butter
    * 1 large egg
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    * 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    * 3/4 cup milk


1) To make the first layer, heat your 9" or 10" electric skillet to 275°F. Add the butter, and let it melt while the skillet heats. Note: This recipe requires that your skillet have a lid. If it doesn't you'll have to fashion a cover out of aluminum foil.

2) When the butter is melted, sprinkle the sugar evenly on top. Press it down with the back of a spoon to make an even layer.

3) Turn the skillet to low. Top with the fruit or berries. Sprinkle with the Pie Filling Enhancer, if you're using it; it'll make the syrup that bubbles up around the cake thicker.

4) To make the second layer, beat the butter and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl till smooth.

5) Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, salt, and baking powder. The mixture will look slightly curdled; that's OK. Turn your skillet back to 275°F, so it's up to temperature when you're ready to add the cake batter.

6) Gently beat in the flour alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

7) Dollop the cake batter atop the berries, spreading it out as best you can. Don't be too particular about making it perfectly smooth; the dessert will bake up unevenly anyway, so don't fuss.

8) Put the lid on the skillet, and bake the dessert for 25 to 35 minutes, till the cake is set and the fruit is bubbly. Check it frequently, to make sure the bottom isn't burning; remove the lid, and use a spoon to poke through the cake to the skillet. If it seems to be browning on the bottom too quickly, reduce the heat.

9) When the cake tests done — a toothpick or cake tester inserted into one of the thicker pieces of cake comes out clean — turn off the skillet.

10) Remove the cover from the skillet, and use a large spoon or spatula to scoop servings into bowls. Serve warm, with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

11) Yield: about 12 servings.
Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
    10 mins. to 15 mins.
Baking time:
    25 mins. to 35 mins.
Total time:
    35 mins. to 50 mins.
    one 9" to 10" dessert, about 12 servings

Tips from our bakers

    * Don't have an electric skillet? Bake this cake in a 9" square pan in a conventional oven set to 350°F. It should take about 35 minutes.

from King Arthur Flour e-maiil

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