Saturday, March 3, 2012

Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Pecan Praline Topping


This week for the the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef we got to choose what ever recipe we wanted to show you all. This recipe caught my eye on several levels........

I have a thing for cast iron skillets.

I have a thing for praline.

I have a thing for buttermilk in baking recipes.

And now...I have a very serious thing for this recipe alone. Ooh....MY....gawd! This cake is flippin' amazing. Light, fluffy....not too sweet because the praline has that roll. And it does it well! The scale is going to be yelling at me if I don't stop eating it.

If you end up purchasing Joy's cookbook....you'll find the recipe on page 113, titled Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Walnut Praline Topping.  I happen not to like walnuts. So I automatically swap them for pecans whenever called for in a recipe.

Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Pecan Praline Topping
Printable Version

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
6 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Praline Topping:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
good pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or walnuts if that's your thing)

Preheat your oven to 375' F. Grease and flour an 8" over safe (ie: cast iron) skillet, along the bottom and up the sides. Joy says a 9" cake pan will work as well. Don't make up your mind yet....please.


I want you to see how big...errr...small an 8" skillet is. You'll see in a minute the importance of this.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, with a stand or hand mixer, cream together the granulated sugar and butter until fully incorporated, about 3 minutes.

Add the egg and yolk, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between the two.

Beat in the vanilla.

Now....with the mixer on low, add half of the flour. Beat until incorporated. Add the buttermilk, and beat again until incorporated. Finally, beat in the remaining flour until almost fully incorporated. Stop beating and continue with a spatula to fully incorporate the flour.

Pour / spoon the batter into your prepared pan.


Smooth the batter in the pan evenly. (clears her throat)....put a pan on the bottom rack. Just in case. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While things of unknown magnitude are going on in the oven....you should make the pralines.

Combine the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a soft boil and let boil for 3 minutes. Keep an eye on it. It likes to get a little rambunctious....just stir it down.


After 3 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and nuts. Allow to set for about 20 minutes to thicken up a bit.

I don't know why....something I did maybe? Or just one of those quirks...but (clears her throat)...I had a bit of a mishap.

I'm really glad that pan was in there to catch the mess. At first I was fretting a bit. But then I decided to let it ride. I turned the oven down to 350' and let it cook a bit longer since the center wasn't set yet. And hoped that my house wouldn't be inundated with that burned sugary smell.

Once I had determined (with aforementioned toothpick test) that he cake was done,  I let it cool for a minute and then placed the pan on a plate.


It needed examining. How was I going to pull this off? Scrap it and start over? I have a thing about throwing away perfectly good food. So that thought didn't linger long. I considered cutting off all the crunchy edges (oh the pain of the thought) and inverting the pan so the cake would come out. but I knew I'd mess it up even more.

I decided to....embrace the rustic. Forget the perfection and clean beauty of the intention. And just pour the praline over the whole thing....skillet and all


And then discovered the raw beauty that only a cast iron skillet can pull off with such comfort.

What happened next was pure taste-bud nirvana



I want to say....you should probably cook this cake in a 10" skillet or a cake pan. But there's a part of me that has a thing for this bad boy.....just as it is.


47 comments:

  1. You made something magical out of a potential disaster...I love the rustic look of that cake, it totally has that 'I baked this over a wood fire in my cabin in the woods' chic! Great job.

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  2. Oh, now that looks good!! Worth a little spillage, I'd say. Beautiful job...I love praline!!

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  3. Oh, I'm with you - embrace the rustic! I think that is a thing of beauty. I say walnuts or pecans...heck almonds...I just want to try this. It looks moist and totally fantastic. Beautiful choice, Dani. :D

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  4. This looks just great. Are you sure you shouldn't be living in the South? :)

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  5. Danielle, I have been looking for an excuse to bake something in my cast iron skillets, I think this is begging me to make it. It looks fantastic and I was sure it was going to involve the pan being turned over and the topping (?) would have been on the bottom. I love the way it looks in the pictures, served right out of the pan. Embrace the rustic!

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  6. Oh my. This is beautiful. Am in total agreement over walnuts vs pecans.

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  7. Whoa mama!! This recipe didn't stand out at all to me in the book BUT it sure does now. I'm with you. I like the rustic look of yours. Sometimes you just have to go with it:)

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  8. Great choice and kudos to you for hanging in there, watching it bubble over, I'd probably have pulled it, yikes..
    Great post!

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  9. Oh dear, what a mess! Just pouring the sauce over the cake was genius and the finished cake does look delicious. I have a 10" skillet so will try my luck with that size. Can't wait to try this.

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  10. That looks incredibly delicious! I'm pinning it and trying it sometime soon.

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  11. what a awesome cake i love it a lot yummy to yummy

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  12. fantastic recipe of such a awesome cake

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  13. really a amazing work on making this type of fantastic recipe

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  14. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I applaud you bc I would have been throwing things and yelling and screaming had that happened to me but thanks to you you and your recipe {which i will be making for my soon to be hubby} I am now more calm in my kitchen and ready to take on a new challenge!!!

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  15. I found this through pinterest today and it is baking in the oven right now (in a 10 inch skillet!) I also hate walnuts and I think that pecans make pretty much anything awesome. I even top my pumpkin pie with a maple pecan topping! Anyways....I can't wait to taste this cake...thanks so much for sharing!

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  16. Heard about this on pinterest today. I made it tonight it was awesome. Thank you for sharing this recipe with is.

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  17. I saw this on pinterest today. we had it tonight for dessert tonight it was amazing. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  18. The dripping look works for me! :) I'll be sure to put a sheet pan underneath to catch the mess. Of course I really should just pretend I never saw this recipe and my waistline will be much better off. Or I should just invite over a lot of people so that I don't end up eating this whole thing!

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    1. what if....you share it, and they eat it and you only get one bite so you end up making another one...JUST for you LOL. Enjoy :)

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  19. I made this cake yesterday for my family and it was a huge hit! I made a few additions though, after I poured on the praline topping, I drizzled on some chocolate ganache (I had the cream already from the praline so why not?) and then I found some coconut in my pantry so I sprinkled that on too. Delicious!!!

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  20. I made this cake for my family yesterday and it was a HUGE hit! I made a couple of additions though - since I already had an open container of heavy cream from the praline topping, I cooked up a little chocolate ganache and drizzled that on top, and then I found some coconut in my pantry so I sprinkled some of that on too. This was an impressive looking, but really simple cake. I'll definitely be making this again.

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  21. It was fun just to read and see your cake, I think I will make it like that the first time, my family will enjoy it!

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  22. I must try this recipe. When I do I will let you guys know how it turned out. It looks WONDERFUL!! By the way I love cooking with an iron skillet. For some reason it adds flavor to your homemade gravy and corn bread.

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  23. Made this tonight. I doubled it and put it in a 10" skillet. Only change I made was to toast the pecans. DELICIOUS!!!! Except for the cake spilling over, it looked just like the picture. My family loved it. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I use my cast iron all the time on my glass top stove...so far (12 year) it has been fine...

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  24. That's the beauty of being a Southerner....we don't care what it looks like as long as it tastes good. And we've come to realize, the uglier it looks, the better it will taste!!! Can't wait to try this!

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  25. Hi! Loved this recipe. Modified it slightly and posted about it. I linked back to this post. Thanks for sharing!!

    http://madewithlovebymary.blogspot.com/2012/08/pinterest-started-it.html

    Mary

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    1. I have a glass top stove so I don't have a cast iron skillet at the house BUT I do have a Dutch oven that I keep in the camper (along with my iron skillet but you can't bake a cake in a camper oven). I'm always looking for good Dutch oven recipes. We're camping next weekend. I'm definitely gonna try this one!

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  26. Could this be used as a breakfast coffee cake or is it more of a dessert??? I've been up all night and have a houseful of people... This sounds so good right now!! Lol

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  27. Glad I saw this review because I really want to make this recipe from my Joy cookbook. I will use my 10.5 inch pan. Glad you liked it though, I'm looking forward to it.

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    1. I hope you like it as much as I did!! I really need to make this again, but I'm afraid I'll eat the whole thing by myself lol

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  28. I halved the recipe last night just to test it out, and seeing as it was being made for one, it only made sense! Lol! I made it in a 7'' round aluminum (disposable) pan. What can I say, other than it was/is absolute delish!! I'm not a big baker, but this is definitely a keeper!! YUM!

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  29. What a delicious looking cake. I am like you if it fails look for a way to save it. Can't wait to try this bad boy. My mama always said if life gives you lemons make something good out of them. That must be why I love lemon recipes soooooooooo much & fixin a mistake into something good tasting. Thanks for sharing be blessed in all you do Janice Maiolatesi

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  30. Cast iron is like "The Secret Ingredient", even though it's not an ingredient. LOL I fry and bake EVERYTHING in my cast iron. I don't know what I'll do when I'm too old and frail to lift the darn things.

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    1. Oh my gosh I worry about the SAME thing! Especially when I pull out the 12" hefty momma! I can barely lift it with one hand as it is!!!

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  31. Oh! Yeah! Pecans, pralines, buttermilk in a skillet. I am all over this one.

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  32. How much buttermilk did U use. The recipe just had 3/4 buttermilk, I'm gonna try 3/4 cup, & make this. It looks so good. & where can I buy this recpipe book? Thank You for all ur wonderful recipes that U share with us. They are amazing.

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    1. Oh gosh! I can't believe no ones caught that before. Yes 3/4 cup of buttermilk. I've seen the book at Barnes and Noble. Amazon has it too. It really is worth buying! :)

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  33. Made this today in a 10" cast iron skillet which was perfect. I boiled my praline mixture about a minute too long and as it cooled it thickened more than I anticipated, more like soft candy pralines, but still made a nice topping for the cake. I was able to snap a couple pics of it before we dug in! Thanks for sharing. You sure know how to make a mess look goooood! Diane

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    1. thank you Diane! Ya, the pralines hardens quickly once cooled. I think that happened to me the 2nd time I made it so I reheated and poured it on immediately. So glad you enjoyed it.

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  34. I'm an ex-Cali girl living in the South...why have I not made this cake yet??? Buttermilk, pralines and cast iron skillet. Yes I do! Looks like an absolute, delicious, happy accident! Thanks Joy!

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    1. I would love to claim that title...ex-Cali girl living in the South. My heart has always been in the South. I hope you get a chance to make it so you can see how good it is :)

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  35. All I can think of is how are you gonna get that pan clean????

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