Parting is such sweet sorrow: Peach Upside-Down Cake

Not to brag too much but I have a farmer’s market in my neighborhood on Friday afternoons. And even though it is sometimes difficult to find a real farmer at this “farmers market” (it is very small and tends to have more resellers of produce and/or ‘artisans’ selling non-food wares), I did come across some of the last local peaches of the season here. They were plump SC grown peaches and I could not pass them up even though they cost, ‘gulp’, about twice what they did a couple of weeks before.

Not that my waistline needs it, but I felt like these fresh peaches, most likely my last of 2012, deserved to be eaten with some pomp and circumstance. I’ve been itching to make something “upside down” too, thus peach upside-down cake was birthed. Inspired by a recipe in my Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I set about testing this cake recipe and lo and behold it came out great on the first try. This never happens for me, I must confess. Usually it’s at least twice before I get it just right and deem worthy to share on southbyse.com

I would imagine that this basic technique and cake (adjust the spices) would work with any firm or semi-firm fruit like apple, apricot, pear and maybe even fig (if you can get them). Apples and pears may also require pre-cooking … perhaps on the grill? That would add an interesting twist.

This cake was also fun to make with the assistance of Girly Girl and she was astonished when I told her we would be flipping the cake upside down to get it out of the pan. I think she was even more surprised when she tasted it and decided that it was indeed ‘good’.

The last of the summer peaches got a fitting send off nestled in this rum and brown sugar infused butter-cake, served warm and topped with a dollop of real, homemade whipped cream. Farewell sweet, delicious South Carolina peaches…until we meet once again… next July.

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside, while creaming the butter and sugar in the mixer and preparing the butter/rum/sugar topping.

Sliced, fresh peaches.

Mix the rum into the brown sugar and add the softened butter.

Spread this rum/butter/brown sugar mixture into the springform pan.

Place sliced peaches over the rum/butter/brown sugar mixture.

After creaming the butter and sugar together, add the eggs, mixing well after each. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a food processor or with a hand blender puree the remaining peaches with the buttermilk and 1 tablespoon rum.

Mix the buttermilk/peach puree into the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture alternating with the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter (it will be thick) over the sliced peaches.

Ready for the oven!

Allow the baked cake to cool for only a few minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan then…

…place your cake platter or serving plate over the cake and…

carefully flip everything right side up. Remove the springform pan bottom.

Voila! Peach upside down cake. I like mine warm topped with whipped cream or creme fraiche.

I topped it all off with a dash of nutmeg too!

Peach Upside-Down Cake

14 tbl butter
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tbl. dark rum
4 large ripe (but not over-ripe) peaches (about 2 ½ cups sliced)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted then measured
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground coriander
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In medium bowl mix 6 tablespoons melted butter with the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons rum. Pour this into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (wrap the bottom of the pan in foil to catch any sugar/butter that may leak out the bottom). Arrange about 2 cups of the peaches over this mixture. Set aside.

In a mixer cream 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, beating the mixture well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Sift flour, spices, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a food processor or blender puree the remaining peaches, buttermilk and remaining 1 tablespoon rum. Add this to the sugar/butter mixture and mix well. Mix in the flour mixture.

Pour the batter over the peach slices in the springform pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until center is cooked through.

Remove to a rack but while cake is still very warm run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Remove the side of the pan and invert onto serving platter. Remove cake pan bottom. Serve warm with whipped cream or crème fraiche.

Peach chutney (with a cherry on top).

This week’s second post is somewhat abbreviated as I am officially ‘vacationing’ in the Buckeye state. Having arrived after an uneventful 12-hour car ride and suitably plied with good red wine and fed a lovely meal outside on the patio by the in-laws (thanks Mike & Kay!), my good intentions of loading this post last evening were shot. So forgive my tardiness but please rush out and buy some fresh peaches to make this awesome chutney. Down South, this year’s peach harvest is on the decline but apparently up here along the Great Lakes, peach season has just begun. I am pleasantly surprised by this tidbit of information, because I didn’t know peaches grew this far north. Our South Carolina peach crop was especially ‘peachy’  good this year and I was inspired to make this chutney so we can enjoy their flavor, albeit punched up a bit, all year long.

This recipe is straightforward and although I added cherries, you could make it with only peaches as the main fruit (just substitute extra peaches for the cherries). I use golden raisins and lots of whole cloves. Use the best spices you can – nothing old – fresh spices makes a big difference in the taste. If you’ve never tried making it, give it a go. It’s a forgiving recipe and you’ll surely find lots of delicious uses for this condiment.

Chutney is delicious on roasted and grilled pork and chicken, served with cream cheese and crackers as a snack or appetizer (handy to have when company rolls in) and a myriad of other fun foodie amusements. I’ll be posting some of these in the coming weeks. And homemade preserves always make a welcome housewarming or hostess gift.

Ingredients for this chutney include fresh peaches, cherries and golden raisins.

No need to peel the peaches but you must remove the pitt from the cherries.

Mix the sugar and the vinegar to make a syrup. Then all you do is…

add in the onions, fruit and spices. Smells so good!

The heat in this chutney comes from hot cherry pepper which I slice and cook with the chutney for awhile.

Once the chutney has the level of ‘heat’ I want ( which isn’t much) I remove the pepper. Since I give some of these as gifts and we have a 4-year-old I don’t make spicy hot chutney. It has a bite but not a “my mouth is on fire” burn.

The chutney is just about ready. The fruit should be soft but not cooked beyond recognition.

Fill the hot, prepared jars. Wipe the rims clean and seal with hot, sterilized lids and rings.

Peach Chutney – with a cherry on top!

Ingredients

  •             10 cups peaches, washed and diced – no need to peel
  •             2 cups fresh cherries, washed, stems remove, pitted and cut in half
  •             2 ½ cups packed light or dark brown sugar or a combination
  •             2 cups chopped onions
  •             2 cups raisins
  •             2 ½ cups white or cider vinegar
  •             1 fresh red sweet pepper, washed and diced
  •             1 hot pepper, washed, cut in half and seeds removed
  •             1 heaping tbl. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  •             1 tsp salt
  •             1 pinch cayenne pepper
  •             1 tsp. tumeric
  •             2 tsp. mustard seeds
  •             ½ tsp. cinnamon
  •             1/4 tsp ground cumin
  •             1 tsp. ground coriander
  •             1-2 tsp. whole cloves*

Preparation

Mix spices (last 7 items listed above) plus the salt in a small bowl, set aside. In large heavy nonaluminum pot, combine sugar and vinegar over medium heat. Stir and bring up to a boil. Add peaches, cherries, onions, raisins, red pepper, ginger and spices; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, for 45 minutes or until thickened. Add in the hot pepper and stir. Cook another 5 minutes stirring every minute or so.

Remove from the heat. Discard the hot pepper. Pour into hot canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims with a clean cloth and seal with prepared lids and bands. If any of your jars do not seal within 15 minutes of being canned, process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. When a seal is made you will hear a ‘pop’ and if you push down lightly on the top of the lid with your finger it will not bounce back. If it does, it is NOT sealed. Makes 12 half pints.

* I love cloves so I use 2 teaspoons but if you are not so inclined use less.