Lemon Gingerbread Upside Down Skillet Cake

2014-12-17
lemon gbread cake Beauty Shot
  • Yield : 1 10" cake
  • Servings : 8-10
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 45m
  • Ready In : 1:15 h

Subtle gingerbread spices, a gooey topping with tart lemon slices make this cake a Christmas star! The lemon slices mellow in the sugar syrup making them supple yet snappy with delicious tartness to counterbalance the warm moist gingerbread cake.

1. Slice large lemons 1/4" thick. 2. Melt sugar and butter together to create topping. 3 -4. Arrange lemon slices over hot topping. 5. Sift together flour, spices, and leavening. 6. Cream together butter and brown sugar. 7. Add eggs, ginger, and vanilla. 8. Add flour in two additions, and milk. 9. Gently add batter over top of lemon slices. 10. Bake until a toothpick insert in center comes out clean. 11. Set cake plate over top of skillet. 12. Using heat proof gloves/mitts, invert skillet and plate. Remove skillet to reveal the glistening, moist cake.

1. Slice large lemons 1/4″ thick.
2. Melt sugar and butter together to create topping.
3 -4. Arrange lemon slices over hot topping.
5. Sift together flour, spices, and leavening.
6. Cream together butter and brown sugar.
7. Add eggs, ginger, and vanilla.
8. Add flour in two additions, and milk.
9. Gently add batter over top of lemon slices.
10. Bake until a toothpick insert in center comes out clean.
11. Set cake plate over top of skillet.
12. Using heat proof gloves/mitts, invert skillet and plate. Remove skillet to reveal the glistening, moist cake.

 

Ingredients

  • Lemon Layer:
  • 2-3 large lemons, **see NOTE
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 TB unsalted butter Cake:
  • 1-1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TB fresh minced ginger, optional, but recommended
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Method

Step 1

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step 2

Topping: Cut ends from lemons and discard. Slice each lemon into 1/4” rounds (you’ll get about 8 slices per lemon).

Step 3

Melt butter in a 10” cast iron skillet. Add granulated sugar; cook until sugar is melted. Remove from heat.

Step 4

Arrange lemon slices on top of sugar mixture overlapping each slice to completely cover skillet bottom. If you have extra slices, just create another layer.

Step 5

Batter: Sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, and salt.

Step 6

Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Step 7

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Step 8

Mix in fresh ginger, and vanilla.

Step 9

Add half of flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended.

Step 10

Add milk, mix just until it disappears, then add remaining flour mixture, mixing just until blended.

Step 11

Spoon batter over lemon topping; gently spread over lemons. The melted butter may ooze up along the sides. It’s no problem.

Step 12

Bake cake in middle of oven until golden, about 40-45 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If toothpick comes out clean, cake is done. Let cake rest in skillet 5 minutes.

Step 13

Using hot pads or ov’ gloves, invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together).

Step 14

Replace any lemon slices that may have stuck to bottom of skillet. Let cake cool about 20 minutes before cutting to allow topping to settle.

Step 15

NOTE: Having made this cake several times, I have observed the following: The rind on the lemon slices becomes chewier as time passes. The first 24 hours are pleasantly soft. After 24 hours, they are pleasantly chewy, and after the second day, it is more of a jerky type of chewiness that is impossible to cut with a fork. Therefore, if you will serve the entire cake the first day, definitely leave the rind on the lemons as it is a wonderful unexpected tartness which plays perfectly against the gingerbread cake. If you will be eating this cake over the course of a few days then zest the lemons, remove the white layer (pith) and discard, cut the peeled lemons into 1/4” rounds. Mix the zest into the sugar/butter mixture. Place the lemon slices over top of the sugar/butter mixture. Proceed with the recipe.

Step 16

TIP: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, it works in a regular 10” stainless steel skillet. It can be made in a deep dish pie plate, or even a 10” cake pan. It is a fallacy, that acidic ingredients shouldn’t be cooked in a cast iron pan. If the dish, or in this case, cake is promptly removed, there is no metallic aftertaste. Rinse the cast iron pan in hot water, dry with a towel, stick in the still warm oven to completely dry.  

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