Mid-August is the perfect time to enjoy fresh, ripe Summer peaches. They are worth waiting for and once they are here – like so many other Summer fruits and vegetables – I try to come up with lots of ways to use them. I’m trying to expand my baking repertoire (honestly, I’m not much of a baker) and I couldn’t walk past the basket of fresh peaches at the @summitfarmersmarket. Peach cobbler, crisps, pies and crostatas are all great but I’ve been in a cake mood so I set out to find the perfect cake recipe. I found one in the America’s Test Kitchen’s 20th Anniversary Cookbook but I made a few edits (the first was not including peach schnapps – my peaches were so fresh, they didn’t need any enhancements!). There were a few more steps than other recipes but they are worth it. Peaches give off lots of liquid and this recipe helps eliminate a potentially soggy bottom. I use fresh peaches but you could probably do this with frozen though I would defrost them first to help cut down on the added liquid.
2 ½ lbs Fresh peaches (peeled, pitted and cut in half)
4 tsp Fresh lemon juice
¾ cup Sugar
1 cup Flour
1 ¼ tsp Baking powder
¾ tsp Salt
½ cup Light brown sugar, packed
2 Eggs, large
8 tbs Melted and cooled butter
¼ cup Sour cream
3 tbs Super fine flour (Wondra is one of my secret weapons!)
1/3 cup Raw sugar
Pre-heat oven to 425.
Cut some of the peach halves into wedges (about 24), toss them in 2 tsp lemon juice and 3 tbs sugar – set aside. Dice the rest of the peaches into large chunks and mix the chunks with the remaining 2 tsp of lemon juice and 2 tbs of sugar. Place the diced peaches in a strainer for 5 minutes and reserve the liquid. Line a cookie sheet with foil and parchment paper and spread the diced peaches in a single layer. Place in the oven for 20 minutes to extract additional juices. Remove from the pan and let the peaches cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Combine the brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar, and eggs in a bowl till mixed. Add the sour cream and vanilla, mixing well. Slowly add the melted and cooled butter. Combine well with the flour mixture but don’t overmix.
Grease and flour a springform pan. Add half the batter and scatter the cooled peache chunks over the batter, lightly pressing them into the batter. Sprinkle the super fine flour over the peaches and top with the remaining batter making sure to cover the peaches.
Arrange the peach wedges on top in a circle making sure to fill the center as well. Sprinkle the entire top generously with the raw sugar and bake, rotating the pan once, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about an hour). Once you remove the cake from the oven, run a sharp knife around the edges and let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the outer ring. Let the cake cool completely for a few hours before serving.
I served slices with whipped cream but vanilla ice cream would be great, too.