Hey, guys! Sorry for the inconsistent posting these past few weeks! Between my trip to Florida (which, by the way, was amazing. Additional side note: If you’re looking for a great restaurant in the Naples area, check out Citrus; the atmosphere isn’t much to speak of, but I was really impressed with the seafood! One of these days, I’ll hammer out a list of all my favorite restaurants in Naples/Bonita Springs/Sanibel, promise), work, and kicking it into summer mode with weekend trips up to Wisconsin, it’s been tough to find time to devote to working on recipes (not to mention photographing and writing about said recipes).
Excuses, excuses. I know.
But… I’m back!
This week, I wanted to strip away all the fluff and leave you with a great base dessert– an edible canvas, if you will– that you can serve as is or gussy up however you see fit. There’s something to be said for adaptable recipes that allow for you to be creative, you know?
Since my infatuation with Lodge Cast Iron products is never-ending, I (obviously) went the frosting-less skillet cake route. You’re going to need a 10.25″ skillet for this (click here to buy one on Amazon | $16), some basic pantry and refrigerator staples, and–provided you want to make your cake look this fly– a 10″ doily (click here to buy a 12-pack on Amazon | $4).
To make the sugar pattern, place the doily over the top of the cooled cake, generously shake confectioner’s sugar over it, and then very carefully remove the doily, taking care to not let excess sugar fall onto the cake. My Mom taught me this trick this past Easter when we made Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie (which turned out to be an over-salted disaster, but I’ll save that story for another time), and it’s too good to not share with you guys. If you ever make a cake/pie/brownies/you-name-it that doesn’t require a frosting, glaze, meringue, or some other pretty topping, this is an easy way to glam it up and impress your friends– minimal effort required.
And now, the creative part– some summery ideas for how to amp up this cake:
- Bourbon soaked cherries
- Ice cream
- Lime-macerated strawberries
- Maple syrup (seriously– just drizzle some on top on a slice for a breakfast-meets-dessert flavor-bomb)
- Caramelized peaches
- A dollop of jam
- Nutella (and/or marshmallow fluff)
…or keep it simple and serve it straight up!
Skillet Brown Sugar Cake
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg whites
- Confectioner's sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 10" cast iron skillet
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine vegetable shortening and milk and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes
- Add in vanilla bean paste and mix until just combined
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, and salt
- With mixer on slow, slowly pour dry ingredients into wet; scrape down sides as needed
- Finally, add in egg whites; mix until just combined
- Pour batter into prepared skillet and bake for 40-45 minutes (insert a toothpick into the center to determine whether or not the cake has baked through)
- Let cool on a wire rack at least 45 minutes before serving
- When ready to serve, place doily on top of cake, shake confectioner's sugar over it, and then carefully remove doily to reveal a pretty sugar design
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