About four years ago I planted a crab apple tree. The first year I had some blossoms but no fruit. The following year the tree produced a giant green crab apple. The next year a few more and this year a dozen giant crab apples. I mean these crab apples are so big they are the size of small apples. Hey wait a minute...could they be apples?? They do have worms. Lucky me. I have an apple tree. I didn't have very many apples so this recipe seemed to be a good fit--more cake less apple. But still I didn't have enough. Luckily I had some other old wrinkly apples that needed to be used. This is actually a Swedish apple cake (sockerkaka med applen). The Germans and French have a version as well. The nice thing about wormy apples is that the apples "heal" themselves and there may be a worm hole on the skin but their insides are fine...sometimes.
Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet
Adapted from Sara Moulton
4 to 5 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into six equal slices
1 3/4 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped finely
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a 9 to 10-inch skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the pan and stir around, then place apple slices, wedge side down, in the pan. Don’t pack them too tightly, but try not to leave overly large gaps. Allow this to cook over low/medium-low heat while you make the cake batter.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 stick of butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add sour cream and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Gently stir in 1 chopped apple.
Remove skillet from heat. Spoon batter over the top, then spread gently so batter is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and bubbly. Allow cake to sit in skillet for five minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Don’t worry if some of the topping isn’t perfect—it’ll taste perfect!
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.