It’s not a cobbler, a brown betty or a buckle… It’s not a coffee cake or a crumble. It’s a skillet cake! Hearty and rustic and golden brown, buttermilk makes it tender and lighter than you would expect and fresh, ripe peaches gives it the perfect amount of sweetness. Baking in a cast-iron skillet always lends a bit of drama to the presentation, in my eyes, and any cake that can be dessert by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream or breakfast by eating a slice alongside your mug of coffee is a winner.
The beauty of the upside down style I used for this almond skillet cake is threefold. One, if you can get it out of the pan intact, it is pretty pretty pretty on a plate, with the fruit golden brown and shiny from butter and sugar. Two, maybe more important than aesthetics, cooking the fruit in butter and sugar gives you caramelized edges! Who doesn’t love a good caramelized edge? Three, melting the butter in the pan is an automatic no-stick solution. The original recipe (linked below) called for blackberries instead of peaches and dotted them on top of the batter in the pan. I made my variation a few weeks back with apricots and substituted whole wheat flour for the white flour I used here. It was almost savory and more biscuit-y, even more hearty than this version. I think you could use many different fruits with good results: apples, pear, plums or pineapple come to mind, if you’re using my upside down method of softening the fruit in butter, or any kind of berry in a cake more like the original recipe. Especially with peaches or apples, play up the almond flavor by adding a half-teaspoon of almond extract to the wet ingredients or tossing some sliced almonds in on top of the fruit before adding the cake batter to the pan.
I’m testing the freeze-ability of the skillet cake now and will report back whether it worked. Don’t wait for my results before trying this recipe! Fans of peaches, rustic comfort desserts, cast-iron skillets– you won’t be disappointed.
Almond Skillet Cake with Peaches (adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 1 1/4 c. white flour
- 1/2 c. almond meal (sometimes called almond flour)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 c. sugar (use organic evaporated cane juice if you can)
- 10 T. butter
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 lbs of peaches (about 3 – 5, depending on size), each cut into 8 – 12 equal-sized pieces, again depending on size (peeling them is optional)
- 1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Measure 1/2 c. melted butter and remove it to a small bowl. Increase the heat to medium; sprinkle the brown sugar into the remaining melted butter, still in the skillet, and place the peaches into the butter-sugar mixture, in a pretty pattern if you like but at least evenly spaced, to cook. Let them go for about 5 mins., which should be about the time it takes to put together your batter.
Now, back to the melted butter in your small bowl. To the butter, add the buttermilk, lemon juice and eggs and whisk until the yolks are broken and everything is combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold just until combined; the batter will be fairly thick and slightly sticky.
Carefully, carefully remove the skillet from the burner to a trivet or hot pad on the counter. Dollop the batter into the pan until it covers the peaches. I found that almost a dozen small spoonfuls placed strategically worked best; I could then use a spatula to spread the batter to cover the fruit, without upsetting the pattern of the peaches. Just as carefully, move the skillet into the preheated oven and bake for 25-35 mins. until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream for a special treat. Store leftover cake in a tightly-covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.