Apple Cake in a pan

I bought myself a new pan. It’s not like I needed another pan, but this one is special. It’s a cast iron skillet. I rationalised this purchase down to research and recipe testing. I can’t say I’ve been in favour of cast iron pans over the years because they are heavy and a pain to maintain. When life is busy no one really has time to take extra special care of a pan. I’m not an instruction manual type of person at the best of times, least of all when these instructions come attached to a pan, but for the purposes of my “research” I thought I better read the pretty label attached.

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I’m really glad I did read the label as I now have a perfectly seasoned cast iron pan ready to give me years of service. A little preparation effort goes a long way to ensure your pan won’t rust.

You may be aware of my love for Le Creuset cookware, but for the purposes of this recipe and because I’m not an overwhelming fan of cast Iron, I did not want to spend over R3000 on a pan that potentially only has one use. I have subsequently decided this little pan will have plenty more uses to come. I’m definitely going to use it for my sourdough bread along with another recipe I’m testing for semolina bread.

Here’s a really easy to make, difficult to mess up cake that will become part of your go-to cakes when you don’t want to fuss with stand mixers or even hand mixers for that matter.


no fuss soft fluffy crumb cake
Servings 10 servings


  • 500 g apples ( Granny Smith or Bramley – my Granny always used Bramley in Scotland) peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3 Tbls caster sugar
  • 1 Tbls lemon juice + 3 Tbls water
  • small sprinkling of caramelised walnuts optional

Dry Ingredients

  • 185 g Self-raising flour
  • 60 g almond flour
  • 20 g desiccated coconut
  • 165 g caster sugar
  • zest of whole lemon

Wet Ingredients – room temperature

  • 3 ExL eggs
  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbls delicate olive oil
  • 130 g buttermilk
  • 80 g honey
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  • Add sugar to the base of the cast iron pan along with the lemon juice and water. Heat on med high and swirl the pan to move the bubbling sugar water around. Do not stir the pan. When the sugar starts to brown slightly remove the pan from the heat and gently add the apples to the pan. Return to the heat, cover the apples and cook for 3-5 minutes. The apples must hold their shape and not become slooshy.
  • Optional – I made walnut brittle to add a few pieces to the apples. This is basically sugar about 1/2 cup covering the base of the same pan; I eyeballed it. I added 3 Tbls water and a pinch of salt to the sugar and allowed the sugar to caramelise in colour. Swirl in the walnuts and coat quickly with the caramel. Tip and spread onto a silicon mat to cool.
  • Optional Place a few caramelised nuts over apples
  • Sift and whisk all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the lemon zest
    In a separate bowl add all the wet ingredients and whisk together, now mix the wet and dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon until nice and smooth. Be careful not the over mix here, this is a cake not concrete.
  • pour the batter over the apples
  • Cover the apples evenly
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 170ºC – 180ºC for 35 min. If your oven is very hot the top may burn, watch to make sure this doesn't happen. DO NOT OPEN the oven door willy nilly to check as the rush of cold air into your oven will deflate your cake. You can gently open door after about 25 min to check. Rather shake the pan to see if the batter is wobbly, then bake for a further 10 min. The top will dome slightly and will be firm and springy to the touch.
  • cake is always better shared
  • Serve with a light dusting of icing sugar and soft whipped cream
Course: baking, tea time treat
Keyword: apple, Cake

A very special friend of mine is visiting here from Australia. We hadn’t seen each other since, yes you guessed it, before Covid.

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