Make this Skillet Caramel Apple Cake when you’re in need of a Southern dessert fix. Inspired by Upside-Down Pineapple Cornmeal Cake in the October/November issue of Garden & Gun, I decided to give the original recipe an fall twist by substituting Honeycrisp apple slices for fresh pineapple, & apple pie moonshine for rum. Now, the cake goes way down-home with buttermilk & apple butter, which create a moist, rich cake, full of warm caramel apple flavor. All you need is a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This cake also comes out well when made with Cup4Cup Flour for a gluten-free version…no one will ever know the difference!
Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder & brown sugar in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or whisk, blend together to break up any brown sugar lumps. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, melted butter & apple brandy. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
Add the liquid mixture, beaten eggs & apple butter to the dry ingredients (a). Whisk till the cake batter is smooth (b).
Cut off the ends of the honey crisp apples horizontally. Slice the remaining apple into 2 1-inch rounds, then remove the core using a melon baller. Cut each slice in half to have 8-12 semicircles.
In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, stirring occasionally to caramelize, about 5-6 minutes. As soon as the caramel starts to darken, turn off the heat, & carefully add the apple slices in a fan arrangement. The apples will cook in the skillet as the skillet will retain its heat. Allow the apples to cook for about a minute or so.
Remove the skillet from the stove. Carefully pour the cake batter over the caramel apples.
Bake the Skillet Caramel Apple Cake for 40-45 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick, when removed, is clean. Remove the cake from the oven & allow to cool for 15 minutes.
To remove the cake from the skillet, place a large (14 inches or wider in diameter) platter over the skillet & invert. Spoon any topping that remains in the skillet over the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.