Upside Down Stone Fruit Skillet Cake {gluten-free}

You wake up on an October morning, and the air is so crisp you can smell it. Outside your window is a mosaic of of gold, russet, and orange. You bundle up in your favorite light sweater, go outside with a warm drink in hand, and enjoy the sound of your boots crunching in the leaves.

Yeah, so I live in Texas. None of that is a thing. I am literally sitting outside a coffee shop and am drinking ice water while wearing sandals and a tank top right now.

I have lived in Texas my entire life, and I didn’t know until last year that I had never actually experienced fall. My boyfriend and I booked a cheap Frontier flight to Denver last September. We hiked in the Rockies, where I simultaneously realized that not only had I never experienced fall before, but I had never been on a legitimate hike.

Right now in Texas, the supermarkets are full of super-not-local apples and pumpkins and squash, and we make the season change to fall by sheer force of will. We sweat nobly in our flannels and sweaters when it is actually 90 degrees, and we start using our ovens even though it still turns our kitchens into an effing furnace, and we buy apple cider but drink it cold with our tacos.

But the upside (down! hah! get it?  because the cake is upside-down? okay I’ll see myself out) of this lack of fall is that for a week or so at least, it’s still alright by Texas standards for me to post a recipe that heavily features stone fruit. For the record, though, I think this could be delightful if you fall-ified it by swapping out apples for the stone fruit and threw in a little cinnamon.

I’ve been dreaming about a stone fruit dessert ever since seeing a picture that Alanna Taylor-Tobin posted of a stone fruit gallette, and when I came across Sarah Jampel’s recipe for a stone fruit skillet cake, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make use of the cast iron skillet I was gifted for my birthday. I’ve adapted Sarah’s recipe to make it gluten-free, with inspiration also drawn from Deb Perelman’s recipe for blood orange, almond, & ricotta cake.

This lightly sweet cake featuring plums, peaches, and nectarines is perfect for evening noshing as well as for a brunch party. Its texture almost becomes cheesecake-like when it cools. A little hint of citrus brightens things up.

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Upside-Down Stone Fruit Skillet Cake {gluten-free}

Adapted from Deb Perelman (Smitten Kitchen) and Sarah Jampel (Food52)

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10 people

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp + 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1-1.5 lbs stone fruit such as peaches, plums, or nectarines, sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 165 grams (roughly 1/2 c) Greek yogurt
  • 45 grams cornmeal
  • 135 grams almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt 4 tbsps butter. When butter has melted, use a pastry brush or paper towel to distribute the butter to the sides of the pan as well. Add brown sugar, sprinkling evenly. 

  2. Remove from heat. Arrange sliced stone fruit on the bottom of the skillet, overlapping each piece slightly. Set aside. Note: If you know that things tend to stick in your cast iron skillet, you can place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan before you add the fruit. I recommend flipping it around a couple times so most of the butter gets on top of the parchment paper. You can then add the sugar. More than likely you'll be fine without the parchment paper, though.

  3. In a medium bowl, whip egg whites using an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, cream together lemon zest, remaining butter, and sugar (you can use the same beaters you just did for the egg whites). One at a time, add egg yolks, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Next, add Greek yogurt and mix until combined. Finally, add salt, almond flour, and cornmeal, mixing until just combined.

  5. Carefully add one-third of the egg whites to the batter. A rubber spatula or wooden spoon works best. Fold in the remaining egg whites. You're lightening the mixture, so be gentle -- you don't want to deflate the egg whites. 

  6. Dollop batter into the prepared skillet. Carefully use the back of the spoon or spatula to spread evenly to avoid disturbing the fruit layer.

  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a fork inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for ten minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan. Invert cake onto a platter and serve.

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