Peach Cake

Peach Cake
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Peach cake
Peaches! Raspberries! Cake! Oh, my!

If fresh peaches weren’t just so darn good, we’d be sick of them by now. Instead, we’re thinking about the next time we can get out to pick some more! But, for now, we think we’ll make up Peach Cake. It’s fast and easy, but, most importantly, it’s tasty. Plus, you can claim you’re eating fruit, when you’re really eating cake!

When we have a bunch of peaches, this is our standard go-to recipe for a quick, tasty cake. Naturally, it came from our go-to cookbook: The Joy of Cooking, by by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, although we did modify it a bit to eliminate the need for separating eggs and making meringue. Not that we think it’s too much trouble; it’s just that this cake doesn’t need it.

Making the cake is very straightforward: slice peaches into a pan, add some sugar and a few other ingredients, spread a batter over the top, and bake. Once baked, simply invert onto a plate for a nice-looking, fruit-covered cake. Oh, and, you can use fruits other than peaches and make an equally nice pear cake, or apple cake, all in little over 30 minutes. How’s that for some serious scratchin’?

Makes one 8-inch round cake.

Peach Cake

Peach Cake


    For the fruit layer
  • 2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • For the batter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan.

For the fruit layer

Spread peaches in pan.

Sprinkle with the 2/3 cup sugar and nutmeg.

Pour lemon juice and zest over the sugar and peaches.

Sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of flour.

For the batter

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together egg, butter, and milk.

Combine flour and egg mixture with swift strokes until well mixed.

Spread batter over fruit layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Let rest 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.

Ingredient discussion:

Fresh ripe peaches are the only real key here. Using substandard peaches (read: store peaches) will result in a substandard cake (read: taste like a store cake). That might be good enough for others, but not for people like us. Right? For the lemon, if you can, try to buy organic, since you’ll be using the zest. Failing that, you can wash it well with soap and water to remove the wax and pesticides. Sometimes we run boiling water over the lemon to remove the wax. After all, we want zest, not wax and bug killer.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan, and move a rack to the middle of the oven.

lemon juice and zest
We just mixed the zest in with the lemon juice. They both get added at the same time, so why not?

Zest and juice lemon. As we said above, when you use the zest, scrub that lemon well. Then, either grate the zest off, use a shape knife, or, if you have one, (we just bought ours), use a microplane to remove the zest. Then squeeze the juice. We knew these were going on the fruit at the same time, so we just mixed the zest in with the juice. It seemed the simplest thing to do.

sliced peaches
We try to cover the bottom of the pan with a layer at least two slices deep. More peaches is more better!

Peel and slice peaches. This is the most difficult part, and even that isn’t difficult. So peel those peaches, slice each into eight wedges, and cover the bottom of your cake pan. We ended up using about 5 peaches total.

adding sugar
Coat the peaches with the sugar and just spread it around; no need to mix.

Sprinkle with sugar. Once you have the peaches in a layer, pour the sugar over the top in a somewhat even layer. Then, if using, sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg. No nutmeg? Use cinnamon, but just a bit to give a hint of flavor; we’re making a peach cake, not a spice cake.

adding lemon juice
Pour on the lemon juice. It’ll dissolve some and maybe all the sugar.

Douse with lemon. Pour the lemon juice and zest over the sugar. Try to spread it around evenly and dissolve some of the sugar.

flour dredging
Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of flour. We think that this helps to thicken the sauce that will form while baking.

Dredge with flour. Well, we wouldn’t think of using the term dredge here, but Rombauer and Becker do, so dredge the fruit with about a tablespoon of flour. Or maybe sprinkle with the flour, whichever term you think is more appropriate.

adding butter
Pour on the butter. That must be the saying bakers use when they want to increase their speed: “Pour on the butter!”

Drizzle with butter. Melt the butter in the microwave and drizzle about 3 tablespoons over the top. When we do this, we melt 4 tablespoons of butter and try to use only about 3 of those tablespoons now, saving the remaining tablespoon for the batter.

That’s it for the fruit layer, so let’s get to work on the batter.

We hadn't don it yet, but whisk those dry ingredients together.
We hadn’t done it yet, but whisk together those dry ingredients.

Combine dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cup of flour, the 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combining the wet ingredients is easy, there are only three: egg, milk, and butter.
Combining the wet ingredients is easy; there are only three: egg, milk, and butter.

Combine wet ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and a tablespoon of melted butter.

mixing ingredients
A spoon or rubber spatula works better than a whisk to combine the wet and dry ingredients. We learned.

Make batter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and quickly stir them together. It should make a fairly thick but smooth batter. A bit thicker than pancake batter, perhaps, but not like a dough.

Spread the batter over the fruit, and the cake's ready for the oven.
Spread the batter over the fruit, and the cake’s ready for the oven.

Spread batter over fruit. Using a rubber spatula, spread the batter in an even layer over the fruit. We try to have a bit more batter near the edges; it’ll bake more evenly, although we’ve failed sometimes, and ended up with a cake whose middle needed to be baked just a few minutes more. We ate it anyway.

Bake. Slide the cake into the oven and bake it for about 30 minutes; the top should get nice and brown. With all the fruit on the bottom of this cake, we’re not sure if you can reliably test it for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center and having it come out clean. We tried it this time, and it was clean, but that might have been a fluke.

peach cake
The cake can get quite brown, but don’t worry, since you won’t see that side.

Rest. Remove the cake and let it rest for a few minutes, while you steel yourself for this next step.

peach cake
Inverting a cake onto a plate is easy, unless you happen to have it slide off onto the floor (that hasn’t happened to us yet).

Invert. Surprise! This is an upside-down cake, and now it’s upside-down and we need to fix that. Place a large plate over the top of the cake pan, grab it with both hands — use oven mitts — and, in a quick motion, pull the cake and plate upward and over. It should drop right out onto the plate. Ta dah! You could be a magician.

Peach cake
Peaches and raspberries look so good together!

Cool. Let the cake cool as long as you dare, then cut a nice slice. We happened to have a few raspberries, so we popped some on to make it look even more special.

As we said above, this is a great go-to cake for fresh fruit. It’s easy, the cake looks nice, tastes good, and you can pretend that you’re eating healthy from all that fruit. The only downside we’ve had, is that it seems a bit fickle when it comes to the proper amount of baking. We’ve had it turn out a bit underdone in the middle (still really good), or a bit overdone, too (a bit on the dry side, even with all that fruit). Still, for how fast, easy, and tasty this cake is, four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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