We keep apples in the fridge all the time. I eat one for breakfast several mornings a week because its easy to take on the road, and Mick eats one for a snack in the afternoons. I think he gets that, and many other things, from his mom. She has an apple each night for a snack.
But when it comes to baking, we tend to think of apples as a fall favor, paired with brown sugar and cinnamon. I wanted to come up with something for summer (mostly because I just wanted some cake!) and I didn’t want anything too sweet, and I am not ready for cinnamon everything just yet. I looked at the herb pots I have just off the porch. I have some pineapple sage that might have worked well and some lemon balm I thought about, or I could have tried the lavender, but I think that would go better with a lemon cake. Then I thought about the rosemary. I love rosemary and use it often with chicken or a roast. Mick makes the best fried potatoes that he puts lots of rosemary in. I love it when it gets crunchy. I thought I better google it just to make sure I was not way off and it seems apple and rosemary go very well together.
The other thing I like about this cake, besides how incredible it tastes or how the cake is dense and moist with crunchy bits on the edges because its baked in a cast iron skillet, is that it’s a thin cake. I love to bake cakes, but we never eat all of it and I have to find someone to take the rest. I’m thinking a couple of you just raised your hands. Well, the rest of this will make its way to work on Monday and we’ll raise a fork to a co-worker for her birthday.
Apple Rosemary Cake – baked in a cast iron skillet
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup white granulated sugar (for the skillet)
2-3 sprigs tender rosemary
2 apples with skin cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup oil
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350. Place 1/2 stick butter in the skillet and let it heat up with the oven while you prepare the apples. Core the apples and slice into 1/4 inch slices. You do not have to peel them, but if you don’t like apple peel, then you can and it will work just the same for you. You should end up with about 16 slices per apple in you use an apple slicer and then slice each in half.
Whisk together the oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and stir to combine until all flour is incorporated. Batter will be stiff, about the consistency of warm oatmeal.
When the butter is melted, remove the skillet from the oven and scatter the 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar in the pan. Lay several tender tops of the rosemary sprigs around in the pan and strip the rest of the rosemary and scatter around in the pan, then lay the apples into any pattern that you like in a single layer. Gently pour and spread the batter over the apples, being careful not to disturb your pattern.
Return skillet to the oven and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until top of cake is golden brown. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, then lay a platter upside down on the skillet and carefully flip and turn out onto the platter. I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet, but this will also work well in a 10.25 inch skillet. The cake will be just a bit thicker and the apple will be arranged tighter.
Garnish with a sprig or two of fresh rosemary and serve warm or at room temperature. Will keep in an airtight cake saver for 3-4 days at room temperature.