We’re sweetening things up today. I haven’t been baking or making desserts much lately because we’re trying to eat healthier. However, the temperature is turning cool and apples and pears are in peak season. September days always seem like the perfect time to pull a warm cobbler, filled with sweet apples and pears, out of the oven.
I’m calling this a cobbler cake because it’s not really just a cobbler. It has the feel of a cake, but it’s made in a frying pan in the tradition of a cobbler. I like the mix of apples and pears because the pears lend a sweet warm flavor, while the apple, especially the green Granny Smith apple, brightens the flavor with a little bit of tartness. The coconut is the star of the show though, making this cake moist and nutty.
Making this cobbler cake is truly very simple. Mix the wet and dry ingredients and carefully pour it into your pan on top of the cooked coconut milk and sugar mixture. Your batter should be thicker than a regular cake batter. You can add extra buttermilk if it is too thick. I spooned the mixture in to carefully place it throughout the pan covering the caramel mixture below. This takes a bit of finessing with a spatula. Don’t worry though, I promise it’s easy. Then add your apple slices in a pattern on top of the batter allowing them to sink into the batter a bit. Don’t forget to give it a little sprinkling of sugar before it goes into the oven.
Have you ever cooked with coconut sugar? It acts like regular sugar, but it adds a caramel flavor and a darker color to whatever it is you’re making. The coconut sugar paired with the coconut milk crates a caramel layer under the cake. You can see the caramel color rise up above the cobbler batter when adding the apples and pears. You can substitute regular sugar, but if you have coconut sugar in your pantry I highly recommend using it.
I pulled this out of the oven right as my kids were coming home and the house smelled divine. It holds its shape when sliced, like a cake. Although it is delicious alone, a scoop of vanilla ice cream really seals the deal.
Coconut, Pear and Apple Cobbler Cake
- 14 oz. can coconut milk
- ½ cup unrefined coconut sugar, firmly packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup raw sugar (caster sugar if you can find it)
- 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons chilled butter, chopped
- 1 cup buttermilk (If the mixture feels too thick add two additional tablespoons buttermilk.)
- 2 medium pears, peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces, then thinly slice each piece
- 2 medium Granny Smith green apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces, then thinly slice each piece
- 2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling on top
- vanilla ice cream for serving, optional but strongly recommended
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the coconut milk, coconut sugar and vanilla in an 11-inch ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil and is a caramel color. Remove from the heat. Set aside.
- Place the flour, baking powder, coconut, caster sugar and butter in a large bowl and rub with your fingertips until the butter is combined. Add the buttermilk and mix to combine.
- Spoon the mixture over the caramel in the pan and top with the apple. Sprinkle with the extra caster sugar.
- Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cobbler is golden and puffed.
- Serve warm with scoops of vanilla ice-cream, if you like.