Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh, juicy peaches top this simple butter cake.

Last Friday afternoon, I set out to bake one chocolate sheet cake for a weekend dinner party. Baking centers and calms my mind during times when I feel the need to do something or shut off the noise in my head. It had been a tough week and, by the time I emerged from the kitchen, there were three cakes, not one.

There was a chocolate sheet cake, a blueberry buckle and this simple peach-topped butter cake. It was a last-minute inspiration but I liked it so much — as did my friends — that I wanted to share with you. What I like about the cake is that it’s moist and sturdy. It slices easily and holds its shape — the kind of dessert one could eat out of hand, as some of my new co-workers did when I shared leftovers.

The recipe is based on a blueberry buckle that David Lebovitz adapted from the cookbook Rustic Fruit Desserts. Because I’d just slid his blueberry version in the oven (minus the streusel topping and lemon syrup), the recipe was fresh in my mind and I decided to take advantage of the remaining room-temperature butter I had on the counter.

For the peach version, I made a few adaptations: reducing the sugar by one-third, omitting cinnamon and lemon zest, adding vanilla and almond extract. Rather than folding in the chopped peaches, I arranged the slices on top in a circular pattern.

This little inspiration was a winner and I’ll be baking it again now that peaches are in season. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it, too.

Fresh Peach Cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup organic granulated sugar and 1/3 cup organic coconut sugar)
1 1/2 cups+2 tablespoons white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 to 3 big peaches, sliced vertically into 1/2 in. wedges

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 inch round or an  8-inch square cake pan.

With a hand mixer or in a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half the flour mixture to the batter and beat gently. Then add half the buttermilk and beat gently. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Then add vanilla and almond extracts. Beat gently to incorporate.

Pour batter into the prepare cake pan. Arrange sliced peaches on top of the cake.

Place in oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until the cake is browned on top and springs back when you touch it. 

Remove and let cool a little bit. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream for dessert, or plain with afternoon tea, or for breakfast with your coffee.

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