Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

Some Things Are Better Upside-Down {Skillet Baked Apricot Upside-Down Cake}


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
Serves 10
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.

61 thoughts on “Some Things Are Better Upside-Down {Skillet Baked Apricot Upside-Down Cake}

  1. Sleeping in doesn’t exist in this household either!. How wonderful to wake to this delight for an early morning sweetie and a home brewed coffee. Love it! Yx

  2. I love cake cooked in a skillet, it just seems way better than a cake pan cake, of course butter and brown sugar help things along 🙂

  3. Mmmmm apricots, sugar, butter, skillet – how could you possibly make it better 😀
    Lovely job!

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Yum! Never made cake in a skillet before, this looks like a great recipe to try it out on!

  5. Sinful! I wonder if it’d work with peaches. It doesn’t need anything changed, of course. It’s just those are more plentiful here.

  6. It doesn’t get better than this!! LOVE this!

  7. Oh ! Yum yum ….
    I have to make this soon. I am going through an apricot obsession currently. This fits right in.

  8. i was just yesterday at the supermarket and for some reason i bought apricots, something inside of me told i need to get them so i did.. now i know why 🙂

  9. I haven’t seen a skillet upside down cake since I was a boy. I wouldn’t mide being rousted from sleep if I had a piece of this delicious cake waiting for me. As it is, Max gets me up anywhere after 5:00 am until 6:30. And there ain’t no cake in the offing, either! 😦

  10. Oh, Geni, I love this post.. you’re so right on.. it’s time to turn life upside down and life a little. Dessert for breakfast is the perfect way to begin! As a child I would sleep-over at my girlfriend, Kim’s house and her mom would always serve kuchen (spelling?) at the table with a glass filled with chocolate Nestle’s Quik.. this brought back so many wonderful memories today. The photo of the skillet simmering with fruity heaven is a stunner!!

  11. yummy! that looks good, haha some summer mornings when I was younger I could swear my mom was vacuuming only right next to my door, and let the cat in to wake me up. she too had breakfast waiting.

  12. I would wake up at 5 every day if I had such amazing treats waiting for me :)..
    I love summer because you can have amazing treats like these 🙂

  13. I rarely sleep in…I’d be up helping you make this cake for sure! Looks like a perfect breakfast to me!

  14. I’ve never thought about using apricots instead of pineapple. What a great idea!!

  15. Coffeecake is one of my specialties, but I’ve never experimented with incorporating apricots. Sounds brilliant though!

  16. Apricots in an upside down cake sound wonderful…and I also like Greg’s idea about peaches. Now I’m torn on what to try first! 🙂

  17. yes indeed! Better upside without a doubt. love that you did this in the skillet! My favorite go to cooking pan!

  18. Just popping by to let you know that I have awarded you the Beautiful Blogger Award 😀
    Much deserved and congratulations my friend!
    Check it out here: http://gobakeyourself.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/heres-smore-irony/

    Choc Chip Uru

  19. In my house, sleeping past 8am is “sleeping in”! I have to wake up about 6am every morning to get a bit of my own quiet time in, my 2 y/o wakes up around :630am and slowly the others are awake up by 7am. My kids would love this for breakfast, actually my 5 y/o wanted me to buy more apricots so I’ll have to try baking this amazing treat!

  20. I saw a magazine (God only knows what one) a few weeks ago that had an apricot upside-down cake in it, and I fell in love with the idea! So thrilled to see it again!

  21. LOL @ how you innocently wake them up! Nothing like being woken up by the kiss of a pup 🙂 When my kids were small they’d yell BE QUIET MOM IS SLEEPING! But I’d have gotten up for that apricot cake. It looks fabulous!

  22. how beautifully smell these apricots… This is so beautiful and so delicious, I can finish all of them… Thank you dear Geni, have a nice weekend, love, nia

  23. What a great looking effect of the cake!

  24. Gosh…this is definitely one of the best upside downs I have seen in a long time! Well done!
    p.s You may have noticed that my blog didn’t work last three days, now blogger finally fixed the problem and my blog works fine now.

  25. Hi Geni! Oh I love that you used a skillet. My poor skillet is used only for savory food and haven’t made anything sweets with it. This upside down cake looks not only beautiful but looks delish! I see a lot of people baking apricot nowadays and I love it!!!

  26. Dessert for breakfast! We’ll just call it a “coffee cake” and pass slices all around! Adore that all the sweet, sugary apricot goodness is captured in the cake. A scrumptious ode to early summer.

  27. If my sleep in was disturbed due to freshly baked Apricot Upside Down cake I would like to go on the record as officially saying I am A-OK with that!! Looks amazing Geni 🙂

  28. I just love apricots and in this cake they would be sensational. How perfect is this for an afternoon tea.

  29. Thats a really nice Tarte Tatin.

  30. So this is how you get your kids out of bed? Maybe I’ll give it a try! I know I’d get up as early as possible to enjoy a gorgeous cake like this.

  31. What a delicious looking cake, and so simple to make.

  32. I’m not one to sleep in in general…but if I were, the smell and promise of this delicious cake would get me out of bed!

  33. I want breakfast at your house! I’d even hang upside down on the monkey bars for this cake. (okay-maybe that’s not too much of a stretch as Miss A and I are often flipping around on the bars. Lol) Still I’d wake up early for this.

  34. Looks incredible! I’d love a slice 🙂

  35. This. Is. Beatiful! I LOVE upside down cakes, and I lovelovelove apricots. I have a peach-ginger upsaide down cake recipe to die for that I’ve been thinking about busting out…you may have inspired me!

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