Except when I say that I inherited it, I really mean that the previous tenants of my apartment left it here and I found it and now it’s mine. Because finder’s keepers.
I would feel more guilty about having technically stolen this skillet if it weren’t so dang heavy, you know? I mean, the move-outers clearly left it here. No room/strength to lug it out of the place, I guess. Plus it was all cobwebbed and rusty, which is no way to treat a skillet. I had to rescue it. At any rate, I use it now and imagine that it was once my great great grandmother’s who used it to make blintzes and apple cake and dutch babies, and that’s that.
Thievery and nostalgia aside, let’s talk about skillet cake. ”Visiting cake,” as the wonderful Dorie Greenspan calls this one. Isn’t the name kind of perfect? Cake and visits should go hand in hand, I think. Anyway, I’m not entirely sure what makes this cake Swedish, but we are all children of the world and this cake is good so let’s just eat it.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours
It’s kind of magic, the way you need dirty only one bowl and one whisk and maybe a spatula to bring this cake together. The process is quick and easy and entirely handmade with love. The resulting cake is dense and buttery, crisp and cookie-like on the outside and soft and tender within. The whole thing rich with the scent of butter and almonds. The ripe summer fruits on top are just sweet and juicy bonuses. It’s a wholly satisfying specimen of skillet cake. Thank you (again), Dorie.
The cake doesn’t really need it, but I found that some lightly sweetened creme fraiche served alongside this beauty is nice for a bit of cooling sourness – the flavor pairs nicely with the warm, sweet cake.
- 1 cup sugar
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 or 2 fresh apricots, halved and pitted
- 1 handful fresh cherries, pitted
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon raw or turbinado sugar
For sweetened creme fraiche:
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet (if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, a 9-inch round cake or even pie pan works, too).
In a medium bowl, use your fingers to mix and smash together the sugar and lemon zest, thoroughly blending the zest and its fragrant oils into the white sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Whisk in the salt and the extracts. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour. Lastly, fold in the melted butter until the thick and shiny dough comes together.
Scrape the batter into the skillet and smooth out the top with the spatula. Nestle the halved apricots and cherries in the batter randomly, cut-side up, then sprinkle the slivered almonds around the fruit, and finish it all off with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar. If you’re using a cake or pie dish, place it on top of a baking sheet (no need for this step if using a skillet).
Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s golden brown all over and slightly crispy at the edges — the inside will remain moist. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before running a thin knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it.
To make creme fraiche sauce for serving, mix together the cool creme fraiche and brown sugar until smooth and incorporated.
Slice up the snacking cake and serve warm or fully cooled, drizzled with a spoonful of sweetened creme fraiche.