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Harvest Apple Skillet Cake

Ruth Lewis of Rostraver says, "Harvest Apple Cake is from the Pampered Chef Season's Best Recipe Collection."

2 oranges
5 small firm red baking apples, such as Jonathan (1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice, divided
1/2 cup pecans
1 package yellow cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs
Whipped topping, additional pecans halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Zest one orange; set aside. Score long strips from remaining orange and form into curls for garnish; set aside. Cut one slice from center of scored orange; set aside. Juice oranges to measure 1/4 cup juice; set aside. Core and slice apples, leaving peel on. Slice each apple in half vertically; do not separate slices. Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet (any oven-proof skillet will do) over medium heat, tilting to coat bottom. Combine sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of the apple pie spice. Sift over butter in bottom of skillet. Place reserved orange slice in center of skillet. Arrange 5 apples halves, skin side down, in a circular pattern around orange slice; arrange remaining halves around first circle of apples. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until apples are slightly softened. Using a spoon, gently press down and fan out apple slices to cover bottom of skillet.

Coarsely chop pecans. Combine pecans, cake mix and remaining apple pie spice in bowl. Add reserved orange juice, zest, water, oil and eggs; with a whisk, beat until smooth. Gently pour batter over apples in skillet, spreading evenly.

Place skillet in oven; bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Carefully remove to cooling rack; loosen edges with spatula and carefully invert cake onto heat-proof serving plate.

Garnish with whipped topping, orange curls and pecans.

Thursday, September 28, 2000

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