Come autumn in the valley, the light softens as the leaves turn golden, the smell of bonfires fill the air and best of all, roadside stalls sell new season apples. Ramshackle sheds, with charming handwritten signs spruiking their wares, signal to passing drivers to pull over. Bags of apples are piled high, usually fujis, galas, goldies and grannies. Just leave your money in the honesty box before heading on your merry way, not before tearing open the bag and passing around the apples to munch as you drive on to your destination.
I must say of all the apples you can buy around the valley, it's the Geeveston Fanny that's our favourite. Not only is it a front runner in the best name ever stakes, but it's actually a really delicious apple. Lovely red skin with a super white flesh and a perfect balance of sweet and tangy. My kids eat them by the bucket loads.
I couldn't help but buy a few kilos when I saw the word Fannys on the chalkboard at a shed near Castle Forbes Bay. And now blessed, with a box full of them, a simple apple cake was called for. Baked in a cast iron skillet, my new favourite baking tin of choice. I seem to have got myself quite a collection these days.
Geeveston Fanny Skillet Cake
60g caster sugar
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
60g butter, melted then cooled slightly
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 or 3 Geeveston fanny apples cored, and cut into ½ cm thick slices (any apples will do really)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar (extra)
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Coat the bottom of a 25cm cast-iron skillet with olive oil.
Sprinkle the skillet with 1 tablespoons of the sugar.
Whisk remaining sugar, flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
In a small jug, mix together the melted butter, beaten egg and milk.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, then add the butter-milk-egg mixture. Gently fold until just combined. Do not over mix.
Spread the batter into the prepared skillet, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon.
Starting at the edge of the cake, arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern.
Mix together the cinnamon and extra 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Sprinkle evenly over the apple slices.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes. Don’t forget to be mindful of the handle, which will be hot! I'm happy to serve this cake straight from the skillet. But if you wish to be fancy, remove the cake by loosening the sides with a spatula, turn over onto a plate then flip back onto a cooling rack.