This is the time of year where Los Angeles weather is totally erratic. One day it’ll be 90 degrees and then two days later you’l need a sweater and some hot coffee to get your day started. By now, I know which one I get excited about.
I’m currently wearing a sweater so I feel like it’s appropriate to discuss this chai-spiced apple skillet cake with you all. I wanted to provide a recipe that is super easy. Something that you can throw together in a one, two steps max. This skillet cake is it!
This cake is up on da blog. Which means I’m officially out of a slump (I think). I feel like there’s been this little emoji cloud hanging above me as I walk around.
I flunked at making yeasted biscuits. They were boring and bland and made me fall asleep because I hated them so much. I burned rhubarb jam because I was distracted with texting. The carrot soup I made was just ok, but not anything that wooed me. And then this cake exited the oven and I was like….deng…bowchicabowowow.
I feel like it’s a cross between sexy and demure. Like, a girl who can work a stripper pole but who is then capable of putting on a dress and sit in church (or temple, whatever you’re into to) nicely, quietly, prettily. Think of it like a V dimensional cake. She is capable of that 360 life.
One of the things I want to do in 2015 is push myself toward new adventures. I know that sounds sort of cheesy and dumb but I really want to make new things.
Most of us love doing what we do well. Me included. Being sucky at something doesn’t feel that great.
On my list is a whole variety of things I want to be better at, including but not limited to, decorating cakes. I feel like I can crimp a pie, I got that! But decorating cakes…oof…not so much. Cake decorating requires a ton of practice. A TON. So, consider this my first example of what I want to get better at.
Izy’sbook arrived in my mailbox a looooong time ago, nearly a month ago. I’ve been waiting to cook from it because when it showed up on my doorstep, it was only available for purchase in the UK (it’s available tomorrow!), and it just so happened to be the opposite of fall in LA.
But on Saturday, all I wanted to do was bake. The weather was brisk, the light sorta cloudy and moody and I was particularly in a good mood. The kind of mood I’m in is a result of Amelia letting me sleep in, a little.
As I thumbed through her book, deciding amongst all the beautiful baked goods what I should dive into, I was stopped at this Swedish Chocolate Cake. I’ve been on a weird brownie kick lately, so much so that I’m totally guilty of falling victim to the lure of a box mix at Whole Foods. No shame in that game; though that game often results in a bit of disappointment. There shouldn’t be any leavening in brownies, I’ve decided. I want them to be gooey! and rich! So rich that a glass of water needs to be served along side them.
You guys, I usually hate summer. Hate. Sitting by the fire, wearing scarves and loving autumn leaves is more my thing. This blog is called a cozy kitchen, after all. There’s not a lot of coziness going on in the summer time, unless you include turning the AC on blast–which I don’t have, unfortunately–to 50 degrees and piling on the blankets. I dream of this.
But this year I’m not minding summer. Maybe it’s the bbqs with friends or the summer dresses from Target that I’m loving or the summer fruit. I feel like all that stuff combined has made sweating a-ok. (Kinda.) These sour plums were a gift from my dude. He doesn’t give me jewelry; he gives me fun produce. I don’t mind one bit.
I’m not sure there will ever come a day when baking isn’t magical to me. I still get giddy when I turn on the oven light, peek through the glass to see biscuits doubling in size. Or when a waif of baking banana bread skips through the house and under my little nose. Baking is my magic.
I love the trust and faith we must have in a recipe, in the ratio and in the ingredients. We trust that those ingredients will interact, react and transform into something so beautifully delicious.
Having just whispered all those sweet words of nothing, I’ll admit I’m not really a cake-maker-type girl. I’m not sure if a single layered-cake even lives on this blog. I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with me being an impatient person and thinking cake decorating is a little tedious. But when I want cake inspo, I turn to Sara from Matchbox Kitchen. She makes some insanely pretty cakes. One thing I LOVE about her cakes is how they’re all perfectly cylinder. The tops are completely flat. Flat cake tops are all the rage in the cake world.
Cake layers usually dome on us, rising right in the center and then cracking. I think doming on a quick bread is beautiful. I love it. My friend and baker, Hourie, wouldn’t think to serve a quick bread that didn’t dome. Cakes are different, though. But not to worry because baking flat cake layers couldn’t be easier!
We’re all watching the HBO show, Girls, right? If you’re not then you must do this. Like, now!
A lot of my kewl friends like to dislike the show; but last night I finally caught up on the last few episodes and OMG!! I honestly don’t think there’s ever been a show that can simultaneously make me feel ridiculously uncomfortable, laugh so much and be on the verge of tears in a mere thirty minutes. That takes a crazy amount of talent/skill/insanity, AMIRITE?!
A few weeks ago when I was going through a super girly moment, I made this ridiculously girly cake. Yeah sure, I might’ve even painted my nails as I was waiting for this thing to bake up. SO WHAT! WHO CARES!
If we get into the nitty-gritty, this cake isn’t THAT girly. There’s a good amount of cornmeal mixed in, giving this cake a bit of texture, a little heft, if you will, all while still succeeding at being light and…moist hydrated. (Side note: Shout-out to Becky for coming up with the best word replacement for the word we all hate so so much: “moist.”)
This rich chocolate buttermilk frosting was the perfect match for the yellow cornmeal cake. It’s a winner. And since I was feeling angsty, I figured I’d put these heart sprinkles that were in the back of my pantry to good use.
For the rest of the step-by-step photos, with instructions, along with the recipe, jump over to PW’s Tasty Kitchen. Dooo it. And then watch Girls so we can talk about it!