In the grand scheme of things, there are a lot of crappy things about being a grown up. January bills. Dirty laundry. Car trouble. Memos. Doubt.
Today those symptoms of adulthood were particularly pernicious for me, so I drew on the best weapon I had to fight them: pancakes for dinner.
Pancakes have long been a source of comfort for me. As a kid, we’d have pancakes when Dad made dinner. That was a special occasion in the Hutchison household. Perhaps this is why in my first apartment kitchen, I’d always keep a box of Bisquick pancake mix at the ready. Its very presence was a comfort since it meant I could come home after a rough day, shrug off my regular dinner plans, and opt instead for tender pancakes with a maple syrup chaser.
These days I like more sophisticated (and ethical) ingredients than Bisquick and water for my pancakes, so I’m always on the lookout for healthy, from-scratch options that deliver the same endorphin kick as my old standby. This Cinnamon Apple Pancake Cake is the best thing I’ve found yet. It’s soft and sweet like regular pancakes, but it is lower maintenance since it bakes in the oven like a traditional cake. In a tiny concession to adult responsibility I include in my version of the recipe two whole apples and some whole wheat flour. My favorite part is that the apple slices on top of the cake make it look like a flower. Awww.
I found the original version of this recipe on Allrecipes.com, submitted by user Marbalet. I stayed true to the spirit of her dish in my adaptation, but there are some important changes. Instead of pre-boxed pancake mix I use my own proportions of Richardson Farms whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder. I also increased the moisture in the cake by using buttermilk instead of regular milk, and I cut back a bit on the butter. I hope that if this recipe finds you in need of a little comfort, you’ll have everything on hand to make it for yourself.
Cinnamon Apple Pancake Cake
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1 tablespoon butter
2 apples, cut in 1.4 inch slices
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Maple syrup for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, plus baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk and egg. Set batter aside.
Core apples and cut in 1/4 inch slices. Put butter in a glass pie plate and microwave for 30 seconds, until it’s melted. Swirl so that butter coats the bottom of the plate. Next, arrange apple slices on the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle apple slices with brown sugar and pecans, then pour in the batter.
Bake cake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until it is light brown and springy. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean. Run a paring knife along the edges of the pie plate to loosen the edges of the cake, and then invert it onto serving dish. Cut cake into wedges and serve with maple syrup.
* Make buttermilk out of regular milk by adding a 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1/2 cup milk and letting it stand on the counter for 5 minutes.