Is there any fruit more succulent and summery than the peach? Each juicy, fragrant peach is like a little bit of summer in your sticky hand. The smell of a ripe peach is a sweet combination of hot days and green leaves rustling in the breeze, with all the bursting hope and bustling joy a beautiful late summer day can promise.
The first recipe in Rose's Heavenly Cakes is an Apple Upside Down cake, but lo! There at the end of the recipe is a fresh peach variation, and when it came time to choose this week's cake (it is free cake week), I couldn't ignore this one. Two of my favorite things, a sour cream-butter cake and peaches? Yes, yes, and yes. And once again, YES.
September 3, 2011
Name of Cake: Late Summer Cake
Occasion: HCB, and peach time
Constituents: one 9 inch yellow sour cream butter cake, topped with peaches, brown sugar caramel and toasted almonds
Some may ask if I haven't yet done the original recipe why I am doing the variation? PEACHES, people. PEACHES. I am counting this recipe as completed.
This cake is relatively easy to do, but be mindful of the extra prep time needed to macerate the peaches. And be mindful of the fact that you need to peel the peaches before you macerate them. Rose's method of peach peeling begins with covering them with boiling water for a minute before shocking them in ice water. I felt a little bad for doing that to the peaches, but they were still happy juicy fruit after pulling them out of the ice water. However, I ended up needing one more peach to equal 450 grams, so I hurriedly sliced another peach without peeling it--shock and horror! Having a quarter of the peaches in the cake be with skin wasn't much of a texture/taste problem, but I wouldn't recommend skipping this step altogether.
After the peaches are sliced, they are tossed with a tiny bit of lemon juice and a couple tablespoons of light brown Muscovado and left alone for at least half an hour. This pulls some of the juices out of the fruit, plus keeps them from browning. The juices are cooked down with some butter and more Muscovado to a deep amber color, which is poured into the prepared cake pan. The peach slices are then arranged prettily on the caramel, and then set aside while the batter is made.
The batter is a good ol' sour cream-butter cake, which means it will be rich, tender, and a little dense. To add to the rich and tender factor, only egg yolks are used. The cake is mixed in the two-stage method as usual, and in a matter of minutes there's a thick and gorgeous batter plopped on top of your prettily arranged fruit. Sour cream-butter cake batters are like the Cadillac of the cake batter world. They are thick, creamy, and velvety. Despite being dense there's an airy quality to them; much like Italian Meringue Buttercream. Only the best for the beautiful ripe peach!
After smoothing out the batter the cake is popped into the oven for a good 35 minute bake. Oh, and to make things even more interesting, if you own a baking stone, the cake bakes on top of that, to further caramelize the fruit and sauce. Don't skip this step, if at all possible...
I know! So juicy and caramelized and yummy!
The cake is flipped over onto a cake plate immediately after removing from the oven, but the cake pan is left on top of the cake for a minute or two, to let the fruit dislodge nicely from the bottom of the pan. When the pan is finally pulled away from the cake, a little juicy caramel oozes out and the steamy sigh of baked peaches will fill your home with eager cake samplers.
At this point, you can sprinkle the top of the cake with your toasted almonds, and serve it warm or room temperature. I recommend warm, and even though there's a bourbon whipped cream to go along with it (actually an amaretto whipped cream would also be good) this cake needs nothing more than a fork.
Other peachy things:
Caramel Peach Grunt (and the birth of a nephew!)
Peach Hand Pies
Other upside down things:
Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cake
Pluot Upside Down Cornmeal Cake