Summer is absolutely at its best when everything is a little upside-down. Kids, if they are lucky, are lazily staggering up at 10:00am instead of rushing off to school, moms have a few weights removed from their shoulders and stacked carefully to the side for a later date, and sometimes, dessert is served at the beginning of the day and renamed Apricot Coffee Cake, just because.
This skillet baked apricot cake starts with the apricots getting a bit soft and caramelized over the stove while swimming in brown sugared, buttery juices. And then they all bake together so that the aromas of roasting apricots and butter permeate your house and wake up any unsuspecting soul who has the audacity to sleep past 8:oo am.
And when flopped upside down, those sticky sweet and tangy juices wash over the cake and drench it in all of the sugary goodness.
Which brings me to why I served dessert for breakfast (alongside some scrambled eggs and fruit, of course). It simply was the best time to eat this comforting apricot cake. I couldn’t imagine not serving it warm, straight out of the oven, even if that meant “innocently” shutting doors a bit loudly or “accidentally” turning my cell phone off of vibrate or perhaps adjusting doors so they were left a crack open for the big, goofy Golden Retriever to charge in and lick each and every nose that was happily snoring away.
Just be glad you don’t live at my house. Your number of sleeping-in days would be quickly whittled down to a number you could easily count on half a hand. But on the bright side, you would often wake up to deliciousness like this Apricot Upside-Down Cake or these Maple Bacon Doughnuts. So there’s definitely a pay-off.
Maybe it’s high time you turned your life a little upside down. Serve a dessert for breakfast, ride the crazy roller coaster that leaves your hands reaching for the ground, or hang from the “monkey bars” with your legs wrapped around them. At least make an upside-down cake. That’s a good way to start anyhow.
Skillet Baked Apricot Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Epicurious
Special equipment needed is a 10-inch well seasoned cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet (at least 2 inches deep)
For the Topping:
1/4 c. of unsalted butter
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
10 or 11 apricots, fresh, halved lengthwise and pitted
For the Cake:
1/2 c. cake flour
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
1 1/2 t. Vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 c. well shaken buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the topping, heat the butter in a medium-sized, oven proof iron (preferably nonstick)skillet over moderate heat until foam from melting butter subsides (mine never really subsided all that much). Make sure the butter adequately “greases” the sides of the pan as it melts. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter, then cook, undisturbed for 3 minutes (not all of the sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat and arrange apricot halves, cut sides down, close together on top of the brown sugar.
Make the cake batter: Whisk together the flours through the salt in a large mixing bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, extracts and eggs (beating them in one at a time). Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and then half of the buttermilk and mix on low speed until combined. Add the rest of the flour and the remaining buttermilk and mix on low speed until combined. Pour gently and evenly over the apricots in the skillet. Carefully, place the skillet on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (you will thank me a million times over for this little tip…the goo just oozed over the sides of the skillet and onto the cookie sheet and not my oven…thank goodness). Bake for 40-45 minutes or until lightly firm to the touch and passes the famous toothpick test.
Carefully, take the cookie sheet with the skillet out of the oven. Immediately, with oven mitts on, place a large plate over the skillet and turn the skillet upside-down, allowing the skillet to fall out. Mine, amazingly enough, slipped right out with only a little crumble on one side. I breathed a sigh of relief. I think amply greasing the skillet with the melting butter all over the pan, every last inch, will help tremendously. Serve warm with a little vanilla ice cream. It’s the bomb.