The last of the peaches. Parental scoffing notwithstanding, I found using up 25 pounds of peaches a formidable task. Despite making six quarts of canned peaches, four jars of peach jam, peach salsa, grilled peaches, and freezing a sack of peeled, sliced peaches for future use (a cop-out, I know), last week several bruised, wrinkly peaches, the remnants from my haul, still regarded me forlornly from the dry sink.
I had not yet baked with the peaches, so I decided to make an upside-down cake. I love upside-down cakes, and not just because they’ve got old-fashioned kitsch appeal. They are not fancy, but they are very pretty, they’re quick and easy to make, they’re great with tea or coffee, and they solve the problem of how to incorporate fresh fruits into baked goods without the cake becoming soggy.
This cake is so easy it is practically a one-bowl cake. It’s a buttermilk cake, as I love buttermilk cakes. Almond flour is incorporated into the flour mixture for flavour, moisture, and texture. It is not too sweet, as I am not a fan of overly-sweet cakes. Yes, it’s true – peach season is nearly done, save for a few outliers, but you can make this cake using fall fruits such as pears or late-season plums instead.
You will need:
A 9.5 inch cake pan (I prefer spring form, but it is not 100% necessary). If you use a differently-sized cake pan, adjust baking times accordingly
Parchment paper or silicone liners for the pan
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 and 1/3 cups (280 grams) cake flour
½ cup (35 grams) almond flour (you can also use slivered almonds, ground to a powder in a food processor)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of one small lemon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (210 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ cup (100 ml) buttermilk
1 stick (113 grams) butter, melted, plus additional butter for the pan
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). You may also want to put a pan or layer of foil below the rack to catch any drips.
Prepare your cake pan by lining the base with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and then butter the pan liberally. Sprinkle two tablespoons of brown sugar in the base of the pan.
Prep the peaches by blanching them for about 30 seconds in boiling water. Remove the skins and pits, and slice each peach into 8 slices. Arrange the peaches in a single layer in the base of your cake pan, over the brown sugar.
Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest in one bowl.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter for about five minutes, or until creamy. Whisk in the buttermilk, then gradually sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, whisking, until thoroughly combined. Pour this batter into your prepared cake pan, and bake for 50-55 minutes, until the center of the cake is firm, or a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
If using a spring form pan, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake, if necessary, then loosen the sides. Invert the cake and turn out immediately onto a rack to cool. You should be able to peel away the parchment or silicone and have a lovely intact cake.
Allow cake to cool completely before serving, or serve the day after baking.