There is a real problem with this cake. I have made it numerous times, sometimes I have buttermilk and sometimes I do not, sometimes I have cream and sometimes I do not, sometimes I have nuts and sometimes I do not. Yet every single time it turns out AMAZING. So amazing that after I eat 3 slices in alarmingly rapid succession I find the urge to give it away and then am immediately overcome by remorse when I do.
My consolation? That it can easily be made again. Oh and 35 minutes start to finish including bake time and a lovely slightly chewy caramel topping.
This recipe is from the Joy the Baker cookbook. You know how in my last post I had said that Flour is one of my top 3 recipe books, well Joy’s is another one of the top 3. If you have not checked out her blog yet then you absolutely should right here. I sometimes get the overwhelming urge to write her emails starting with a cheesy opener like “Dear Joy, you give me joy”. Luckily I have managed to contain the urge thus far and that despite the fact that she is the genius behind the Single Girl Melty Chocolate Cake.
Anyhow I digress. Back to this wonderful cake which is perfect at teatime or really any time. As said above I have made it with all sorts of substitutions and it is delicious no matter what, but I do find that when I use buttermilk (not the vinegar+milk version) then that is when I get the best results. Also, I don’t have the requisite skillet and just use my 9 inch glass bottom springform pan.
Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Praline Topping
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
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 walnuts – I use pecans and toast them. Even if you use walnuts toast them.
Preheat your oven to 375. Grease and flour an 8″ oven safe (i.e: cast iron) skillet, along the bottom and up the sides. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, 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. It should be looking like a rich thick custard at this point.
Turn the mixer on low and add half of the flour. Beat until incorporated. Add the buttermilk and when combined then beat in the remaining flour until it almost disappears into the batter. Stop beating and continue with a spatula to fully incorporate the flour.
Now in the pan it goes. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My oven runs hot so I am usually done in 25.
It’s praline time folks: Combine the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a soft boil and let boil for 3 minutes. While that happens – apparently no faster if I stare intently at it – warm a clean pan on medium-high heat, spread out your nut of choice and let it toast for about a minute and a half then move the nuts around with a swoosh of the pan and let them toast for another minute and a half. Take them out of the pan and put them aside.
3 minutes up? Great. Remove the praline from the heat and stir in the vanilla and nuts. Let it be. Once the cake is out of the oven and while it’s still warm pour the praline over the whole thing. Your welcome.