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Simple Pleasures Made Simply Delicious: Peach Upside Down Cake

Simple Pleasures Made Simply Delicious: Peach Upside Down Cake

Day 113

A perfectly ripe, juicy peach is my very favorite fruit.
This year, I decided to enjoy fresh peaches as well as cooked peaches in
cobblers and cakes. I hate to see the season end, honestly. Although it’s hard
to beat a peach-blueberry cobbler, I couldn’t resist making my first peach upside
down cake. I had heard of this cake, but until my two recent baking adventures,
I had not tried one.

© Doug Kapustin Photography, 2015

 

As a child, we often had pineapple upside down cake in the
fall or winter as a treat. I looked forward to the delectable caramelized brown
sugar topping, and I always stole the maraschino cherries from the center of each pineapple. To make something that is reminiscent of a traditional
upside down cake but with peaches, I turned to a trusted southern source: Southern
Living
magazine. There is no better place to find tried-and-true southern
recipes for all occasions, and I am a bona fide devotee. Every woman in my
family who has enjoyed cooking over the years has used Southern Living’s
recipes. Growing up, I distinctly remember that there was always an ear-marked
copy of the latest magazine on top of the recipe book stack. Grandma and my
aunts had folded down the pages to so many of the recipes that they could never
try them all. In my house today, nothing has changed. You can find old copies
of the magazine on almost every surface, folded and ear-marked for later.

Sure enough, it didn’t take lots of searching for peach
cakes to find just what I was looking for this time. So, of course, today’s
recipe is straight from the archives of Southern Living, and I know you
will be pleased. If you feel even a little bit daunted by the steps, please
give it a try anyway. It’s not difficult, just a bit time consuming to make the
hot sugar topping. I promise that it’s so worth it. All the same, if you read
the recipe and think “I’d eat this but would never take the time to make it”,
please scroll to the bottom of the recipe for an alternative, “second best”
version.
Oh, and I don’t know how you’ll feel, but for me, the
down-home taste, texture, and feel of this cake, served warm with vanilla ice
cream, makes me want to leave the hectic hustle and bustle of my present life
to find a quiet place to breathe and to truly live. Having grown up on a farm,
I’m fairly smitten with the idea of homesteading and have been researching it a
bit. I think that’s what aging does to us; it makes us want to connect more and
more with what really matters in life.  If flavors like today’s recipe stir those
homesteading emotions in you, too, I highly recommend the website and blog that
has become my relaxation therapy to read. Please visit this link: http://oursimplelife-sc.com.
Today’s “therapy” was reading the homestead author’s post
about sturdy clothespins and the “Clothesline Revolution.” Don’t you love the
sound of that? Although I’d surely get some sort of HOA citation for putting a
clothesline in my backyard where I currently live, I sure do miss clothes dried
outside.
How’s that for a tangent that I can’t comfortably bring full
circle? Oh well! Enjoy the cake, and here’s hoping it transports you to your
“happy place” as well.
4 medium peaches, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch wedges or
rounds
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and divided
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment
paper (This helps with cleanup.) Toss peaches with lemon juice.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Cook ½ cup granulated sugar in a 10-inch cast iron skillet
over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes or
until sugar melts and turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat. Immediately
add ¼ cup butter, stirring vigorously. Spread caramelized sugar to coat bottom
of skillet evenly, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange peach wedges over
sugar mixture, overlapping if desired.
Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds into bowl
of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat vanilla seeds and remaining ¾
cup granulated sugar, ½ cup butter at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one
at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add sour cream, beating
until blended. Gradually add sifted flour mixture, beating at low speed just
until blended, stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Spoon batter over peaches in
skillet and spread to cover. Place skillet on prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and
wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on wire
rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen.
Carefully pour excess liquid from skillet into a cup and
reserve (If you don’t have any excess, that’s fine. It depends on juiciness of
the fruit you use.). Carefully invert cake onto serving plate and drizzle with
any reserved liquid. Cool about 10 more minutes and cut cake into wedges or
pieces using a serrated knife. Top with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired,
and serve immediately.
Recipe from Southern Living magazine, found at this
link:
Something to consider—An easier alternative that is also tasty:
Just for those of you who prefer baking shortcut methods
using cake mixes, I made an alternate version of this cake using a Pillsbury
Super Moist
butter recipe yellow cake mix for my second try. The results
were not quite as rich and decadent as the Southern Living version, but
they were tasty, all the same. For the cake mix, I didn’t use a skillet.
Instead, I used a 9×13 baking pan, and I made the cake mix according to the
package except that I substituted buttermilk for water and I added a teaspoon
of vanilla extract in addition to the vanilla bean.
In the bottom of the 9×13, instead of pouring caramelized
sugar, I simply melted the butter and sprinkled the sugar/brown sugar over the
melted butter before arranging the peach wedges.
It did save time and was less messy, for sure. The cake
turned out delicious, although I’d recommend the Southern Living version
if you have the time. Some of you might be hesitant because of not owning the
right skillet. If you don’t own a cast-iron skillet, please consider purchasing
one. They are oh-so-useful and wonderful additions to your kitchen.

It’s up to you which version you make, but I’m learning more
and more that investing a little more time into our recipes pays great flavor
dividends. That being said, I know some of you have tremendous time constraints
with work, family, and young children. Bottom line: do what works best for you
and either way, take the time to enjoy these simple pleasures with your
loved
ones. 

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