On Wisconsin: a hot-weather dessert from the Dairy State.


And the word of the day is…


Land of cows, corn, and cheeseheads.

And, most important, the Wisconsin State Fair – an event I vow I’m going to attend sometime before I lay down my whisk and go off to that Great Salad Bar in the Sky.

I mean, how can you be a foodie and resist this come-on, straight from the Fair’s Web site:

“Corn-on-the-cob basted in butter and lightly salted, a savory steak sandwich, a pork chop on a stick, an oozing grilled Wisconsin cheese sandwich fresh off the grill, deliciously sweet maple cotton candy, ginormous fried cheese curds, a tasty buffalo burrito, and, of course, the light, airy, creamy deliciousness of the Fair’s Cream Puffs created to perfection by the Wisconsin Baker’s Association…all of these delectable selections and hundreds more are served up over the best 11-days of summer at the Wisconsin State Fair.”

Delving deeper, and opening a copy of the Fair’s menu, I also found chocolate cow pops, apple pie on a stick, frozen bananas, and “deep-fried PB & J.”

I’m SO there.

At least, I wish I was. Vermont actually looks quite a bit like Wisconsin, albeit with steeper hills. So the ambiance is right; but Vermont’s state fair just doesn’t hold a candle to Wisconsin’s, food-wise.

The Vermont State Fair’s Web site doesn’t mention food AT ALL. And nosing around on a couple of travel sites offering customer reviews of the Fair, the main comment seemed to be “eat elsewhere.”

Although Roxy’s fries and the Mt. St. Joseph booth’s sausage and peppers did get a couple of good plugs.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Wisconsin native, but the Dairy State’s food just speaks to me. As does anything Wisconsin. I learned not only to pronounce, but to spell Oconomowoc REALLY FAST when I was about 7 years old. (Next best accomplishment: pronouncing and spelling Passagassawakeag, a river I used to cross frequently when I lived in Maine.)

So when we first started carrying “Wisconsin bowls,” years and years and YEARS ago, I had to buy a set. Made in Sheboygan – how could I resist?

These have become my mixing bowl of choice in the test kitchen. They’re sturdy, yet lightweight; who wants to lug a bowl that’s heavy even before you fill it with cookie dough? And unlike stoneware or glass, you don’t have to worry about dropping them. Which I do, frequently, on our rubberized linoleum floor


OK, I’ve gotten a little distracted here. Must be the heat… yes, it’s still in the high 80s, going on 3 weeks of wickedly hot weather. Thus my attraction to this cake recipe that doesn’t involve an oven.

Unbaked cake? Nope. Cake “baked” in an electric skillet, where a bottom layer of sugar, butter and fruit bubbles up over cake batter dolloped on top.

And guess where I got the idea for this recipe?

From the Norske Nook, a restaurant/coffee shop in Osseo, Wisconsin.

You can take the cheesehead out of the state, but…

So, on to the recipe. First, decide what kind of fruit you’re going to use. I chose a 16-ounce bag of frozen strawberries; raspberries, peaches, or blueberries would be equally good, if you’re harvesting your fruit from the frozen food aisle at the supermarket.

Can you use fresh fruit? Sure. I usually feel fresh berries are best eaten on cereal or out of hand, rather than baked – at least from a monetary point of view. But if you have an abundance of fresh berries, ripe peaches, or whatever, go for it.

Thaw the fruit, if it’s frozen. Chop it coarsely, and let it sit for awhile, to release its juices.

While the fruit is resting, prepare your skillet.

First, spray your 9” or 10” electric skillet with non-stick vegetable oil spray. We use Everbake in the test kitchen; it doesn’t leave sticky residue on your pans.

Preheat your skillet to 275°F. Note: This recipe requires that your skillet have a lid. If it doesn’t you’ll have to fashion a cover out of aluminum foil.

Also, don’t worry; eventually I realized this was at 225°F, not 275°F, and nudged it up.

Yes, this is an old skillet; I’ve probably had it for 25 years. It’s missing one leg, but I can’t bear to give it up. You know how it is with old kitchen friends…

Melt 1/4 cup butter in the skillet, and sprinkle with 3/4 cup brown sugar.

Spread the sugar evenly over the butter.

Press it down with the back of a spoon to make an even layer, then turn the skillet to low.

Top with the fruit.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Pie Filling Enhancer, if desired.

Pie Filling Enhancer will make the syrup that bubbles up around the cake thicker.

Don’t have it? Not a deal-breaker. Continue with the recipe.

Next, we’ll make the cake batter.

Put 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a bowl.

Beat till well combined.

Add the following:

1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat till combined. The mixture will look slightly curdled; that’s OK.

Turn your skillet back on; we want it heated up to 275°F by the time the cake batter’s ready.

Gently beat in 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

…alternately with 3/4 cup milk.

The batter will be smooth and thick.

Dollop the cake batter atop the fruit, spreading it out as best you can. Don’t be too particular about making it perfectly smooth; the dessert will bake up unevenly anyway, so don’t fuss.

Put the lid on the skillet, and bake the dessert for 25 to 35 minutes, till the cake is set and the fruit is bubbly.

Check the cake frequently, to make sure the bottom isn’t burning; remove the lid, and use a spoon or spatula to poke through the cake to the skillet. Notice how the bottom was starting to get quite dark here; if it looks like this, lower the heat.

When the cake tests done — a toothpick or cake tester inserted into one of the pieces of cake comes out clean — turn off the skillet. You can also test by poking open one of the larger pieces of cake with the tip of a knife.

Use a large spoon or spatula to scoop servings into bowls.

Now admittedly, this isn’t the handsomest of desserts.

But warm cake with warm berries, prepared on the stovetop – no oven required? Works for me.

Serve warm, with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Or with a drizzle of plain heavy cream, Wisconsin’s favorite all-purpose dessert sauce/glaze/topping.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Summertime Skillet Cake.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. Kim

    I must put in my 2 cents for the Minnesota State Fair – The Great Minnestoa Get-Together! If I’m not mistaken, it’s the biggest in the country and it has the food you listed and more. I have relatives that come from out of town just to go to the fair. There are so many things to see and do at the fair that a person can’t simply go just once! (Not to mention the baking competitions for which I am a competitor and a ribbon winner!) The fair starts August 26th this year.

    Wish I could make the dessert, but I don’t own an electric skillet!

    First of all, Kim, congratulations on your award-winning baking! Hopefully you use King Arthur Flour… And, you can bake this in the oven in a 9″ square pan – 350°F for about 35 minutes. Enjoy! PJH

  2. Sue

    Yummmmmm I always make some baked goods when camping,pizza on the grill,biscuits etc I think this is the one for this year! Thanks,Sue

  3. Gin

    You might want to take a look at your linked recipe. Step 3 says to turn the skillet off, not down to low. Later it says to cook the skillet contents, but never gives a temperature setting.

    I’ve done a “skillet cobbler” very similar to this, and it’s scrumptious, excellent topped with homemade vanilla ice cream!

    Thanks, Gin – all fixed. Appreciate your eagle eye! PJH

  4. Wei-Wei

    Oh, man, oh wow. I have no words as to how messily delicious this looks. I don’t think I have a skillet that I can put in the oven, so this would be a perfect skillet dessert! :)


    Messily delicious is exactly right, Wei-Wei – luckily, beauty is only crust-deep… Understand, the skillet doesn’t go in the oven – use an electric skillet. Or a 9″ x 9″ pan. Or actually, you COULD use a cast-iron skillet in the oven… PJH

  5. Sarah

    Yum! This bears remarkable resemblance to the “dump cakes” we make here in Dutch ovens over campfires. I’m going to have to try this method when we’re under a burn ban and can’t go all-out!!!! Thanks for the kitchen-ready version!

    Enjoy, Sarah- PJH

  6. Meg

    Ha! You said Oconomowoc, and you spelled it correctly! I’m from Oconomowoc, and I had a father who made us learn to spell Passagassawakeag, because he was from Maine (Calais). The cake reminds me of one from my childhood; I’m going to make it this weekend. Thanks for the fun!

    Meg, I even have an Oconomowoc T-shirt – which I found for sale on Cape Cod, of all places. Can’t believe we share those same specific spelling achievements! How funny… Enjoy the cake – don’t suppose you’ve been to the Norske Nook, have you? :) PJH

  7. deb

    Hi PJH — This sounds so awesome. But does it absolutely require an electric skillet or is there a way to cook it on a regular stove? I will likely find out on my own this weekend, but would love to hear your expert opinion first!

    Deb, Lish asked the same thing. I’m thinking, hey, why not? Heavy skillet – I’d think cast iron – with a lid, set over low heat, should work exactly like an electric frying pan – right? Beware, as I said, this is truly an ugly duckling of a dessert (and I know from the photos on your blog how gorgeous your stuff usually is); but it’s wonderfully comforting, esp. with a bit of ice cream melting on top. Let us know if you try it – PJH

  8. Lish

    I am 30 years old and had inherited the same exact electric skillet from my great grandmother. Unfortunately it finally died this year and I am electric skillet-less. This recipe might make me look for another though. Fruity warm cake without having to turn the oven on sounds great. Don’t suppose there is a way to do this on the stovetop?

    Lish, it seems like it might work over very low heat – especially is you had something heavy, like cast iron? Give it a try, let us know- PJH

  9. SMJ

    That looks like comfort food to me!!! I can imagine some warm cake with some nice vanilla ice cream. I am drooling as I type this…

    Step away from the keyboard… let’s keep things neat here! :) PJH

  10. Bev

    Thanks for the oven directions. We love the Norske Nook! Has KAF ever done a recipe for lefse? I don’t think we have done a recipe for lefse. Maybe someday. So many recipes, so little time :0) Mary@ KAF

  11. Kathy

    There is SO much great food at the Wisconsin State Fair. One of the most famous items: cream puffs. Betcherarse it’s real whipped cream!

    I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about the Minnesota State Fair food — hoping to get there someday!

  12. Sarah

    We happened across the Vermont State Fair a few years ago while on vacation…yes, the food was totally forgettable but the Maple Barn was not…mmmmmm, maple milkshakes and maple donuts!

  13. dorie

    I’m from Wisconsin and have been to Norke’s Nook. I also have her cookbook she put out after being on David Letterman. Don’t forget Wisconsin State Fair’s chocolate covered bacon. This recipe would be great in a cast iron dutchoven. I’m going to try it next time I go camping. Dorie

  14. Ali D

    Just made it straight from my email – with canned peaches as I had them, and two small eggs from my hens. Smells great and will make the perfect dessert for my boys.

  15. Maggie

    You should make a pilgrimage to the Addison County Fair and Field Days in New Haven, VT, for some really good food! If I try listing everything, I’ll short out the keyboard from the drool. Suffice to say I have friends come from up and down the East Coast to eat their way from one side to the other. Yes, there is typical “fair food” but there’s also local milk from Monument Farms, local maple products, a wonderful woman from Brandon does fried dough with maple cream that her family produces, {OSDJL:gv/laeknv;5 oq390egi]- 0ojkgl;xhkAWE”

    Oops. I warned you about the drool! :-)

  16. Cyn

    Yummy-yum!!! Thank you so much for offering alternative ways to “bake” in the hot weather. I really appreciate the suggestion regarding a cast-iron skillet. Would that need to be used with a gas range (on top of the range, that is?) I have a smooth-top electric range, and have always been warned not to use cast iron on the top b/c of possible glasstop breakage. And of course, you don’t have the nice heat control w/electric that you do w/gas.

    Do you think that would work with the cast-iron skillet and a separate electric coil burner, which I do have? I think it would work with the single coil burner on low. Give it a try. hasve fun! Mary@ KAF

    Or…perhaps it is time to pay a visit to our thrift store in search of a gently used electric skillet? ;-) Thanks again, PJ!

  17. Lenore

    I don’t have that small of an electric skillet. Does this recipe double very well? Would I need to make any changes in doing so?
    Looks sooooo yummy !<I think it should. We haven't tried that yet. Have fun with it. Mary@ KAF

  18. Georgeanne

    How much fruit to use? Like a whole can of prepared pie filling? or if using fresh fruit – a cup and a half? Any sugar added to the fresh fruit first?PJ used a pound of frozen strawberries, that would be about 1 large can of pie filling, I think. It would probably be about 3 cups of fresh fruit. I would add sugar to the fresh fruit, but I have a sweet tooth.Mary@KAF

  19. deede

    High 80s? High 80s!

    Woman, yesterday’s heat index here in the Northeast (of Arkansas, that is) was 107!

    I WISH we had high 80s!

    Sorry, sorry; the heat’s gotten to me! This looks great. My kitchen has been closed for more than six weeks because of heat! Maybe I’ll try this if it gets in the HIGH 80s!

    (Sorry, PJ, just kiddin’ with ya!)

    Deede, it’s 71°F right now and feels like it’s FREEZING! I swear this is the first “cool” air I’ve felt since June… Hope you get “down” to the 80s sometime soon… :) PJH

  20. kitty

    I’m getting hungrier by the second reading these comments.
    I like the idea of using a square glass baking pan – nicer looking on the table, that’s all.
    Should the first layer be heated in the oven before adding the second layer? 35-minute baking time is after adding second layer?
    Also, what is the main ingredient in Pie Filling Enhancer? Instant tapioca? You can see I’m a worrywart.
    Definitely want to try it soon.
    Thanks.Melt the butter, but the remaining ingredients should be ok at room temperature. it may need a few extra minutes of baking time. have fun with it! Mary@KAf

  21. Brenda

    Ah, but Deede, do you have air conditioning, unlike we poor ‘ole northerners? Keeping my hot water turned down and not using any more hot water than necessary because that makes a big difference in this second-floor apartment with an old, ineffecient gas hot water heater–gotta insulate it one of these days soon.

  22. Susan Kitchin

    I don’t have an electric skillet, but I do have a nice 5 Qt. oval slow cooker. Could this scrumptious cake be baked in that? That would probably work on high, but you would need to experiment with the times. Experiment, have fun!Mary@ KAF

  23. Deirdre

    This looks soo yummy, but I would like to make this gluten free, is that doable? Oh, and speaking of state fairs, Im going to California in two weeks and we plan on going to the Orange County Fair. The list of food is just OMG, so good.We haven’t tried it gluten free. It would be an experiment. Mary@ KAF.


    I haven’t made this desert yet ,but it sounds soooo good that I will have to go out and buy a electric skillet or borrow my neighbors to make it. I already have the ingredients to do it. Not using the oven ig great too on this hot days we are having in the 9o’s +?HOT HOT.

  25. Angela

    Looks not unlike a dump cake to me too! I tend to make mine in the oven though if I’m starting out with fresh fruit I’ll cook it down on the stove top first. Wonderful summer treat. :)

    And man I have to make the Wi state fair at some point! We’re not too bad off in Dallas where we’re also notorious for our fair food (minus the cheese curds). I actually tried the fried butter they came out with last year!

    How can you fry butter??? I mean, besides the obvious just browning it… Angela, tell! :) PJH

  26. Kim

    To Dorie: I think you’ve confused two things. Norske Nook (restaurant in Osseo, WI) does have a cookbook, but they were not on David Letterman. Marjorie Johnson was on Jay Leno and put out a cookbook after that. The two are not connected as far as I know.

    I would also like to second Bev’s request for a lefse recipe. Of course, in order to make lefse, you need a lefse griddle & stick. (Oh bummer – one more kitchen “necessity”!) Hmm…they sell lefse (with either cinnamon & sugar or lingonberries) at the MN state fair! Just another reason to visit. They also sell the griddles there, too.

    I would also love a good (yeast bread) recipe for Julekage. I’ve tried a few, but I’ve not had great results. I’ve discovered afterwards that I didn’t let it bake long enough and it falls apart easily.

    My mom makes lefse, Kim – she doesn’t use a stick or a special griddle. I’ll have to try her recipe – have to confess, since I don’t care for it, I’ve never made it! And I have my grandma’s julekage recipe – but I don’t think it’s yeasted. Packed with fruit, like a fruitcake. PJH

  27. ellen lathlean

    Can hardly wait to try this skillet recipe. I’ll bet it would work in a dutch oven for camp cooking (?)

    Yes, I’ll bet it would, Ellen – give it a try, let us know. PJH

  28. MaryEllen

    Has anyone tried this in a much larger, dark bottom, non-stick electric skillet? I’m pretty sure I’d have to double the recipe but not sure how to adjust the temperature and cooking time.

    MaryEllen, use the same temperature, and check frequently while cooking – that would be my best advice. PJH

  29. Nancy

    PJ–I’m another cheesehead in exile, living in Iowa. I hadn’t been to the Wisconsin State Fair since I was a teen, which is longer ago than I like to admit! I happened to visit a friend in Milwaukee last year during the State Fair run, and we spent a day there. First thing we did was get the cream puffs. They are as good as I remember them! We also had corn on the cob, a pork chop sandwich, honey fudge, and a cranberry chocolate cookie, but passed on the chocolate covered bacon. We spent the day wandering through all the exhibits. We were dog tired, but had a great time! I’ve never been to Osseo, but the dessert sounds yummy and I plan to make it next weekend when beloved daughter and hubby come home. If I make it now, my BH probably won’t eat it, and I can’t afford the calories of eating it all by myself (though I’d be tempted). I have to fit a slightly snug 20’s era dress for the next two weeks, as I’m in the chorus of a production of “Showboat” at the Clinton Area Showboat Theater (yes, it’s on a real showboat that is dry-docked on the Mississippi) and I can’t afford to gain a pound!! I’m already wearing some very tight unmentionables in order to fit the dress (oof).

    Re: the ’20s dress: I’d love to see you! Sounds like a lot of fun. Also a bit of a challenge – isn’t it always, especially when you love to bake! I’ve never been to the Wisconsin State Fair – someday… I NEED to have one of their cream puffs before I die. I’ve heard they’re as big as a saucer! Thanks for connecting, Nancy- what do they say, “break a leg”? :) PJH

  30. Deirdre

    I wanted to know if this could be made gluten free?We haven’t tried it. It possibly would work using our gluten free multi-purpose blend and xantham gum. We have found that it is better to use recipes specically designed for gluten-free. mary@ KAF

  31. Gail

    What is the pie filling enhancer, and of what is it made? Really love KAF, the recipes and this site. So wonderful for a bread addict. My friend continues to talk about what all she makes in her electric skillet. I’ve been wanting one, and this is a really big motivator. I can’t wait to make this recipe, and what a great idea for these hot days. Try Kansas if you like hot weather! Really enjoy the camaraderie and the obviously nice people on this site.
    Oh, any suggestions for a good brand of electric skillet???

    Gail, Pie Filling Enhancer is a thickener mixed with a bit of extra-fine sugar, so it blends easily; and ascorbic acid, for flavor. And yes, I understand Kansas has bragging rights as far as summer heat – our salesmen are out there quite a bit checking the wheat, and they’re amazed at how VERY hot it gets… Electric skillet- I haven’t bought one in so long, I’m not up on brands. But mine’s a Farberware, if that helps- PJH

  32. Judy Doud

    If you do it in the oven, do you need to cover it?

    Excellent quesiton, Judy. No cover needed – the cover is to simulate top heat, which an electric skillet doesn’t offer, but your oven does. PJH

  33. Eleanor

    On the question of lefse, there’s a recipe for an “Americanized version” of lefse in the KAF “All-Purpose Baking Cookbook”. (Rich Potato Flatbread, p. 176.) No idea how it compares to the original, but there’s no stick involved.

    And, yes, my kitchen is growing a few cobwebs, too, in this weather (mid-90s in NJ). I’m just glad we finished doing the Renaissance Faire before it hit triple digits!

  34. AJ

    Have a new convection toaster oven coming and I’m going to order a bag
    of my favorite “Triple Berry Blend”. (raspberries/blueberries/
    blackberries). Think this will bake up very well in my glass baking pan!
    I’ve also made something similar using rhubarb/strawberry. “Diet?”,
    “What diet”?!

    AJ – the words “diet” and “summer” fight with each other, don’t they? Just be sure to share whatever you bake – that’s one way of cutting calories! :) PJH

  35. Nancy C.

    This sparked my interest to finally unearth a hardly ever used GE automatic skillet given to me over 25 years ago together with an instruction booklet with a recipe similar to your ‘hot weather dessert’ that I will try soon. Thanks for the ‘nudge’ ;-)

  36. PK

    Hey Bakers!

    I made this last night and it is delicious and SO easy!

    I halved the recipe and used my 6 inch cast iron skillet and made it with peaches from a can. I also sprinkled sugar on top and turned my broiler on and caramelized the top of the cake after it was done cooking on the stove top. It added a nice crust!


  37. Roger

    I’ve noticed a few requests for a good lefse recipe on this blog site. I have been making the recipe below for 40 plus years, have given demostrations to friends on how to make it, have tried other lefse recipes over the years but none compare to the recipe below to my way of thinking.. My in-laws were Swedish and Norwegian and they gave their approval to it also.

    It is from The Woman’s Day Encyclopedia Of Cookery 12 volume set circa: 1960’s and I’m sure is out of print by now.

    From the Norwegian Cookery section of the “N” section comes the following recipe.

    Lefser (Griddle Cakes)

    4 cups of riced hot potatoes
    2 1/2 tablespoons light cream
    2 1/2 tablespoons lard (yes lard! Don’t substitute!)
    1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

    Boil your potatoes. Drain. Rice them. Measure out four cups. Add the cream and lard to the riced potatoes and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour. Longer is ok also if your cooking happens to get interrupted. Add the sugar, salt and flour to the chilled potato mixture. Blend thoroughly. Take about 1/3 cup of the mixture and form into two balls. Continue making balls with the remaining dough. CHILL the balls for at least 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a paper-thin round about 5 inches in diameter. Cook on a heated, dry griddle or large skillet over low heat until a very light tan. Turn dough circle over and cook on the other side until light tan. Some areas of the dough will have darker spots than tan on them. DO NOY USE ANY OIL OR GREASE OF ANY KIND IN THE COOKING PAN TO COOK! I place each cooked lefse sheet between paper towels or napkins until I am all finished cooking the dough so they do not dry out. Let them cool, and then stack each one individually between parchment paper, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze if that is what you are going to do.

    To eat, spread each lefse with real butter (best taste), sprinklw with granulated sugar and dust with amont of ground cinnamon your taste dictates. Roll up into a tube and eat. Or can also wrap each roll in plastic wrap to present safely at a dinner, party or for eating on a trip.

    i hope any of you wh tries this recipe, enjoys same.

    Roger 7/17/10

    A special lefse grill and stick is not needed as I did without same for many years. I do have them but they are not necessary to be able to make the lefse.

    Roger, thank you SO much for sharing this. Now I’ll have to go check my mom’s recipe, see if they’re similar – I’m sure they will be, with perhaps little differences here and there. I might have to make lefse yet- PJH

  38. Beth

    Great minds must think alike, PJ = I was looking at KAF’s recipe for kringle this past week – Doesn’t Wisconsin claim bragging rights to that too? And you’re complaining about temps in the high 80’s? It’s been in the 90’s/100’s for the last month or more, and no break in sight – and drought conditions now. By the way, I picked some Ginger Golds last week – they arrived 3 weeks early because of the heat. Rather tart, but that should be good in a pie, right?

    Wow, Ginger golds already?! That is SOME early, Beth… As for the heat – it’s been in the 90s every day, “cools” down to the 80s at dusk, to the high 70s at night. And yeah, I’m complaining! Remember, we don’t have AC up here – my kitchen has been as hot as 99°F – without the oven or stove on. You have to admit, that’s hot! Kringle – is from Racine, Wisconsin. I’d forgotten that. Thanks for the reminder of that holiday treat- PJH

  39. Carolyn

    Roger, Have never had anyone else confess to owning that set of cookbooks. I got a set from the grocery where I shopped when it was published and it is still my go-to for information about things that I may not use very often – how to store unused portion, etc. – or just what a particular ingredient is. It really is an encyclopedia. There are also a number of recipes that I make fairly frequently. Have moved a number of times and that set of books always goes with me.

  40. AJ

    A couple of weeks ago I was sooo nostalgic for lefse that I grabbed one of my sons flour flour tortillas and buttered and sugared it and ATE it.
    Yeah, I was desperate I tell you, desperate!

    AJ, totally missing the potato aspect – maybe if you’d spread it with the thinnest layer of mashed potatoes first…? :) PJH

  41. Gina

    I just made this with a few adjustments on my stove top in a cast iron skillet. I think next time I’ll pop it into the oven to bake the cake portion after bubbling up the fruits. It got a little overdone and I have quite a mess to clean up, but it sure is good! Would I just heat the oven up to 275 and let it go the same amount of time, 25-35 minutes?

    For a twist, I used 1/2 fine corn meal instead of flour and lessened the sugars some to make it more cobbler-ish than cake-ish since I was making it for brunch. I topped it with some cheese I had bought that said it went well with fruit, a fresh gouda. Yum!

    Gina, bake it like a normal cake, at 350°F. Thanks for sharing your tweaks – it sounds yummy! PJH

  42. Roger

    Carolyn, I’m from Iowa and the old Super Valu chain offered the encyclopedia set at 1 book per week, I think it was, for around $3 and some odd cents apiece. Couldn’t wait for the next book to come out so I could get all of them. Was always afraid I would miss one. Good way to get us into their stores often, wasn’t it. My younger sister says she wants them when I’m no longer around but I plan on being around for a while yet.

    Don’t mean to take up your blog space for trivia. Just wanted to add this as I have never heard of anyone else who purchased the set either. Guess we just aged ourselves somewhat. I’m 72 and my books are getting a bit ragged from 50 years of use.

    Love this King Arthur Website.

  43. jrs2rt

    The electric skillet cake sounds and looks delicious. My raspberry patch has/is producing outrageous quantities of huge(double the size of previous years). It seems we got alot of rain at the proper time. I am retired from food service; I develop recipes for my cast iron cookware. I plan to to adapt this recipe for my stovetop recipe collection. I have one piece of equipment that I can’t do without–a surface thermometer, for calibrating stove(electric) settings to skillet temperatures. I live on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota. Wisconsin is a state to the east somewhere. As a child my family vacationed at Stevens Point; I had lot of fun there.

  44. Ron

    Someone may have already mentioned this, but this sounds a lot like the dessert recipe that’s been used in Boy Scouts for a long, long time. Pretty much toss the whole kit and kaboodle into a dutch oven, walk away for about 45 minutes, and Presto!, it’s dessert!

    Yes, we’ve had several Boy Scout comments here… Clearly this is a good “cook over the campfire in a Dutch oven” recipe. Thanks for chiming in, Ron – PJH

  45. Barb Ruka

    Helen Myhre, author of “Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook” HAS INDEED been on David Letterman, as it states on her cookbook flap that I own. She taught Dave how to make a pie. Marjorie Johnson got her start on the Rosie O’Donnell show, went on to the Wayne Brady show, The View, and then the Jay Leno show. She was never on the David Letterman show. Marjorie has won thousands of blue ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair, and recently published her own cookbook, “Blue Ribbon Baking”. I have been to Norske’s Nook many times, and their pies are to die for. And I LOVE both cookbooks put out by these fabulous ladies! They are two of my favorites that I use quite often here at my bed & breakfast inn in Horicon, Wisconsin.

    Barbara Ruka, Honeybee Inn B&B, Horicon WI

  46. Margy

    Hey AJ, I don’t know from lefse, but I’ve done that tortilla thing–locally made tortilla, local butter, cinnamon, sugar, maybe a touch of vanilla powder, toast it up in frying pan–mmmmm, cinammon quesadillas!

  47. Jeanne from NJ

    Like Roger and Carolyn, I too got the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery in the grocery store, one volume a week, and didn’t know anyone else who has it (but then there must be tens of thousands of us!). The book was copyrighted in 1966, but my set is from the fourth printing and I got it in 1972 as a new bride. I’ve probably reached for those books a thousand times in the 40-odd years I’ve have had them — especially the first 5 years or so — even though my cookbook collection now fills an entire wall of my kitchen floor-to-ceiling. You could find ANYTHING in there! I’d be willing to bet that somewhere in those 8,500 recipes there is at least one similar to this frying pan cake — unfortunately, it would take more time to find than I’m willing to spend, without the luxury of a database to search.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe if I can find my old electric frying pan in the basement, though I haven’t used it in decades. If not, I think I’ll experiment with a slow-cooker.

  48. Juliane T

    I see we are sharing lefse recipes above…lol
    I haven’t made it in years, but need to, the trouble is, I can order it any time I want from http://www.norslandlefse.com/ and it comes fresh and then I can freeze it and pull it out anytime I need a lefse fix.

    I know, *frozen* lefse… but until someone can come up with a quick way to make it (I have a lefse griddle & rolling pin, but no turning stick and it is not easy to get them bigger than a lunch plate without either breakage or toughness from added flour), or I can find a whole day to devote to it (then I could freeze my own) I’m ordering online…

    Thanks for jogging my memory!

  49. Carolyn

    Roger, Yes we sure are dating ourselves. I can confess to 75 years and I bought the books at the local Purity Supreme (I lived in a Boston suburb) and like you, got one a week. I don’t remember the price but it was quite low for the book of the week. Earlier volumes were available but at a more normal price.

    This recipe – Summertime Skillet Cale – is similar to one that I had experienced at a friend’s home. When I wrote a thank you for their hospitality, I requested the recipe. It was a long time before I received it and I thought it looked a bit odd. When I attempted to make it (using fresh sweet cherries as I had experienced it), it was a total disaster. I finally threw out the recipe but as I recall, the dough went on the bottom and the cherries on top and the dough was supposed to rise up between the fruit. The quantity of dough was about half a cup and, as I said, a total disaster. So, with this recipe I will try again and maybe have better success. I don’t have an electric skillet so will make it in the oven. Maybe I will then e-mail this recipe to those friends!!

    You’ve got me by about a generation, Carolyn, but we used to shop at Purity-Supreme – which has been gone a LONG time, eh? South Shore, I think there was one in Scituate. Hope this version of the recipe works out for you – PJH

  50. Julie T.

    This cake just finished in my electric skillet (stainless steel Saladmaster, circa 1970. Use it for everything from pot roast to making jam.) and it turned out perfectly. Quick, easy and less mess than the oven. Will put me back in the good graces of the dessert deprived as there has been limited stove and no oven use in the past month. Even in the land of rain west of the Cascades, it has been hot, due for 90 degrees later today. I used 3 cups of ‘heading over the hill’ strawberries, as I tho’t they might cook down too much. The cake recipe is almost identical to a cobbler topping I use. As I try to limit our sodium intake, used only 1/8 tsp salt and 1 1/4 tsp baking powder. The cake had a fine, tender crumb but not dense. How much baking powder is necessary for leavening and is the salt only for taste? BTW, thank you for the whey pancake recipe a couple of weeks ago. Good recipe!! Enjoy this web site. Two Fluffernutter pies for the family reunion in 10 days.

    Julie, it’s good to keep those ANCIENT appliances around – never now when you might need them! Glad the cake turned out well for you. The salt is for flavor, yes – leave it out, or use how much you want. If the amount of baking powder you used gave cake with a nice texture – then that’s the amount you should use. Thanks for checking in – PJH

  51. FRAN S


  52. Marti

    I’m so happy to see other ladies also bought those wonderful cookbooks I had to pinch pennies to buy sooo long ago. There are a lot of great recipes in them Oh how I long for the 60’s again. Thank you for this fun site.

  53. Nancy

    PJ–I noticed that you didn’t get an answer on how to fry butter. I have not made it or even eaten it, but I did read about it when it first was introduced as fair food, and I understand that it is a cold pat of butter that has been coated with a batter and then fried. In the article it was described as tasting sort of like a biscuit with the butter melted in the middle.

    Well, that makes sense – so it’s basically just fried dough, buttered inside. WOW. I’d like to taste that – ONE bite would be all the diet could take, but I’ll bet it’s yummy! Thanks for getting back, Nancy – PJH

  54. Carolyn

    Can’t say I had super success. The cake dough was pretty thin, pourable. When I went to get an egg, all I had was one medium and several extra large or bigger. (I get my eggs from a co-worker who has a flock of chickens and any dozen from her will range from medium to gigantic. I weigh them and mark the weights on the shells. Weight info is available in the book “The Farmstead Egg Cookbook” by Terry Golson, who lives in Mass. and is a friend of mine. Check Amazon for availability and check her website – hencam.com.) Anyway, the cake formed a solid layer over the fruit and it became an ‘upside-down cake’! No question, it’s good but not what I expected or wanted. Maybe it’s something between Vermont/New England and North Carolina but it’s a problem I have with many of your bread recipes. Once I know the problem and deal with it – less liquid/more flour – then the results are better. I make notations on the recipe pages and future results are more predictable. Baking is surely a science!! and lots of delicious fun. Keep up the good work, KAF.

  55. emma.jahoda

    Hi! Forgive me if you’ve already covered this in the comments but I’m wondering if you might be able to give some advice about baking this in the oven instead of an electric skillet? I’m actually making it right now and I’m skeptical about how it might turn out! I’d love to hear your suggestions. Thanks!

    Hi Emma – Hope it worked out well for you in the skillet, but if you prefer the more conventional method, here’s what the recipe says: “Don’t have an electric skillet? Bake this cake in a 9″ square pan in a conventional oven set to 350°F. It should take about 35 minutes.” Cheers – PJH


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