Skillet Gingerbread Cake With Apple Butter

Skillet Gingerbread Cake With Apple Butter

Apple butter is the surprise ingredient here. Along with molasses, it makes the gingerbread moist, flavorful and a good keeper. The cake’s got a mix of traditional spices — ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves — as well as crystallized ginger, which has a soft, chewy texture and adds a bit of heat. If your ginger is hard, steep it in hot water for 30 seconds, drain and pat it dry. The gingerbread is sweet, but not very, so it’s as good with ricotta, yogurt, a swish of cream cheese or even a slice of Cheddar as it is with whipped cream, ice cream or hot fudge.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 12 persons



  1. Step 1

    Center a rack in the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch (7-cup) cast iron skillet with bakers’ or cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Step 2

    Whisk the all-purpose and whole wheat flours together with the baking soda, salt and spices.
  3. Step 3

    Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the granulated and brown sugars and the butter together at medium speed for about 3 minutes. The mixture will be pasty and that’s fine. Pour in the oil and beat for another 2 minutes. (Don’t wash the measuring cup before using it for the molasses. The oily residue will help the molasses slide out of the cup easily.) Add the egg and beat for a minute. With the mixer on low, beat in the molasses followed by the apple butter. 
  4. Step 4

    Add half the flour mixture and, still working on low, mix until it just disappears into the batter. Blend in the buttermilk, followed by the remainder of the flour mixture. When it’s almost incorporated, mix in the ginger. You’ll have a thick batter. Scrape it into the skillet, nudging it into the corners of the pan and smoothing the top. If using, sprinkle over the sanding sugar then top with the pearl sugar.
  5. Step 5

    Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top of the gingerbread is uniformly puffed, the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and, most important, a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the skillet to a rack and let the cake cool until it’s just warm or reaches room temperature before cutting. Left in the skillet and well covered, the cake will keep at room temperature for about 5 days.