04 Sep Apple Almond & Ricotta Skillet Cake
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KitchenAid. All opinions and text are mine.
Happy Friday! I really, really can’t believe it’s already here. Seriously, I think I blinked on Monday and woot! Hello Friday! And you guys, it’s not just any Friday, it’s the Friday before Labor Day weekend. And Labor Day Weekend means that it’s September and we’re almost to the point where it’s appropriate to obsess over things that rhyme with shmumkin(!!!).
Almost. Not quite. (I’m looking at you, late-August shmumkin recipe posters.) PATIENCE, PEOPLE.
The last couple of weeks have been the kind of weeks where I’ve been so busy I’ve barely had time to come up for a slice of cake, let alone realize that there was an entire, glorious three-day weekend on the horizon. Which, seems to be becoming a theme around here (how annoying am I?) so I’m pledging to force a little slow down in the coming weeks. Which might just happen sooner rather than later because guys, IT’S A THREE-DAY WEEKEND! All of the kiddos are back in school, there’s cool(er) weather on the way (unless you live in Texas), and it’s finally football season again! Let’s celebrate.
Do you have big plans? Given my previous statements, I intend on doing the opposite of big. In fact, I’m hoping to do nothing ‘tall, save for a little Texas vs. Notre Dame football watching (beer and nachos, please!) and of course, concocting some sort of baked deliciousness since it won’t be a relaxing weekend without a little creamed butter and sugar in my life. And despite all this fall talk, I’ve got a date with my bikini, Dan Barber, and a little sunshine. Yep, boots & sweaters can wait their turn.
This recipe is my kind of perfect for slowly transitioning out of my no-bake summery mindset, and into the warm, cozy recipes of the months to come. As much as I love towering layer cakes, skillet cakes will always be my favorite kind of cake to make. Charmingly rustic, there is something I find endlessly appealing in their single-layered simplicity. Without the addition of heavy, sweet buttercream or icing, a skillet cake has to stand all on its own, with just a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche to complement its flavors, and without masking any imperfections. That my friends, demands some respect.
This version is lightly sweet, with a wholesome and hearty crumb due to the addition of almond flour. Ricotta cheese keeps the texture surprising light yet rich, while honey provides an earthy sweetness that also helps keep this cake moist well into the next day (and perhaps beyond, should it last that long).
And then there’s the apples. The other day, as I perused the produce section of my favorite grocery store — the one I drive an extra five miles to visit sometimes because #happyplace — I happened across the most gorgeous shiny, red apple I’ve seen in a long, long time. It’s skin a bright shade of crimson, with the teeniest little leaf sticking out of the top, still intact after its long journey from wherever it came (certainly not a local orchard). Maybe it’s a food blogger thing, but in that moment I experienced several shameless seconds of unadulterated (perhaps slightly irrational) thrill over that tiny little leaf. Living as far away from “apple country” as I do, any sign that YES, this fruit did in fact come from a tree, is a celebrated oasis in a chain grocery store full of sterilely-packaged goods. So, I put him in his own bag (as not to lose the leaf!) and brought him home.
I’m a crazy apple lady.
When it came time, I couldn’t bring myself to use him atop this cake, but as you can see, he did make the photos. And someday, yes, he’ll become my afternoon snack. But can’t I just enjoy that little leaf for a wee bit longer?
While I used apples in this recipe, you could certainly use any variety of late summer fruit instead, for a slightly more seasonally appropriate dessert. Speaking of, I’m not actually confident calling this one a dessert. It straddles the line between rustic-yet-impressive brunch dish, and simple-yet-satisfying ending to a meal. It’s equally at home served alongside coffee and yogurt as it is a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, so pick your preference (maybe both?) and dig in!
This recipe was developed in partnership with KitchenAid to emphasize the fantasticalness of the apple! And like all of my recipes, it was made in my most beloved of all kitchen appliances, my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. KitchenAid is currently hosting a contest with the Food Network & Food.com called the Apple Challenge, in which they’re encouraging bakers and cooks alike (that’s you) to submit their best apple recipes for a chance to win a trip to NYC plus a suite of KitchenAid Black Stainless Steel Appliances (sexy!) and a private cooking lesson with Geoffrey Zakarian. If that sounds like something you’re into, head on over and check out the competition!
A FEW NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE:
I used almond flour in this recipe but the original recipe calls for cornmeal. For a slightly more hearty, and grainy (but in the best way possible) texture, substitute finely-ground cornmeal for the almond flour or meal.
If you don’t have ricotta on hand, you can replace the ricotta + milk + lemon juice combination with 1 cup of greek yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk.
While I love a good apple dessert, you can use any fruit you’d like! If using berries, try folding about half of the berries into the batter and thens sprinkling the other half over the top. You’ll end up with juicy little pockets of deliciousness.
Based on a recipe from Vintage Cakes
- 2 medium apples (I used gala), cored, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup almond flour or almond meal
- 1 scant cup part-skim ricotta, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon whole milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- Combine the apples, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar and lemon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and cinnamon. Add in the almond flour and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in the cast iron pan you plan to bake the cake in, and swirl it around so it coats the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the melted butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk in the honey, eggs and ricotta mixture.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the buttered skillet and spread into an even layer.
- Arrange the sliced apples on top of the batter in two concentric circles. Sprinkle the light brown sugar over the top of the apples.
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. The heat from the pan will continue to bake the cake after it comes out of the oven so take it out just before it is done.
- Best served warm from the skillet.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KitchenAid. The opinions and text are all mine.