I recently offered to bake for a friend’s baby shower. When I asked her what dessert she’d like me to make, she replied that she had been craving fruity pastries instead of chocolate. I decided to make this cake because it’s deceptively straightforward despite looking impressive. Even though peaches weren’t exactly in season when I made this cake, the process of caramelization brings out the sweetness of the fruit. In fact, slightly under ripe peaches are ideal for this recipe as they hold their shape better in the pan. You have the option of blanching and peeling the peaches before slicing, but I prefer the look of them whole. If you are making this cake for someone with a nut allergy, you have the option of substituting additional vanilla extract for the almond. I prefer the taste of almonds with the peaches but it’s your choice.
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 peaches, pitted and cut into 6 wedges each
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Tsp almond extract (or 1 tsp extract, 1 tsp Almond Cream liquor)
3/4 cup milk
Spring form pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly butter your spring form. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat then add 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water and cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth and deep golden brown, approximately 8 to 11 minutes. Remove your mixture from the heat as soon as it caramelizes.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and tilt to coat the bottom.
Arrange the peach wedges snugly in the bottom of the pan in a single layer, cutting to fit if needed. I like to start at the outside with the peaches facing in one direction, then move inside, turning them to the other direction for aesthetic effect.
Next, combine your flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Beat the remaining 7 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add your eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition then beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Finally, beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches; alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in each addition until just incorporated.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake with a pan underneath in case of drips. Bake until golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Transfer to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes then invert onto a plate and let cool completely.