This time of year the fruit is plentiful and delicious. The peaches, plums, cherries and berries are emitting their sweet fragrances as I walk in the produce aisle of the store. Being especially fond of peaches, I like to use them as much as possible during this season. Aside from eating them alone, I like to add them to cereal, ice cream and use them to top pancakes or add them to a cake.
I first tried this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated about a year ago and dreamed about it until this peach season came around again (I suppose canned peaches could be used but I like the seasonal anticipation). The recipe takes a little more effort because half of the peaches are roasted and all are macerated.
But it is well worth the effort.
Roasting the peaches concentrates the flavor as well as releases some of the juices thus helping to avoid a soggy cake. Panko crumbs are added to the roast peaches after they come out of the oven to further ensure the avoidance of “soggy cake syndrome.” I didn’t use the peach schnapps called for in the recipe because I like the true peach flavor to shine through.
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
- 2 1/2 pounds peaches
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 6 Tbsp plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp almond extract
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, finely crushed
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with oil spray. Pit the peaches and slice into 1/2 inch thick wedges. Place 24 of the slices into a bowl and gently toss with 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp sugar; set aside. Cut the remaining peaches into thirds crosswise. Place in a bowl and toss with remaining 2tsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp granulated sugar. Spread peach chunks on prepared sheet in a single layer and bake until the juices begin to thicken and caramelize, 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and eggs together in second bowl until thick and thoroughly combined. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream, vanilla and 1/4 tsp almond extract and whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Transfer half of the batter to the prepared springform pan and spread evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle panko crumbs over the cooled peaches and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach chunks evenly over the bottom layer of batter gently pressing peaches into surface of the cake. Spread the remaining batter over the peaches and smooth the top. Arrange the reserved peach slices in a ring on the top, using smaller ones for the center. Stir together remaining 3 tbsp granulated sugar and 1/8 tsp almond extract in small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of pan by running a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove sides of pan and allow cake to cool completely.
Serve and enjoy!
To summer’s bounty,