Nothing says summer quite like fresh peaches, which are described in the book All the Light We Cannot See as “wedges of wet sunlight.” I love their bright, sweet flavor and their offer of hydration as well as taste. The gift of truly good, ripe peaches only comes in the midst of sticky summer months, so they must be enjoyed in copious amounts. For the Sayre household, this means buying them weekly at the farmers’ market, having them as a mid-afternoon snack paired with cottage cheese, and incorporating them into as many desserts as possible.
Our latest after-dinner sweet treat did not disappoint, as it was devoured by all and was easy to prepare. If you are planning ahead for a dinner party, as I was, you can even make it the day before. Be sure to heat beforehand and buy some good vanilla ice cream to go alongside.
Peach-Bourbon Upside Down Cake
Adapted from the Food Network
●1 1/2 cups sugar
●4 peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
●3 tablespoons bourbon
●1 cup all-purpose flour
●½ cup whole-wheat flour
●1/4 cup walnut pieces
●1 teaspoon baking powder
●1/2 teaspoon baking soda
●1/2 teaspoon salt
●1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
●2 large eggs
●1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
●1 cup buttermilk (I always make my own)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons water in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and stir until the mixture looks like wet sand. Cook over medium-high heat, gently swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until light amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and arrange the peaches in concentric circles over the caramel. Drizzle with the bourbon; set the skillet aside.
2. Whisk the flours, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
3. Beat the butter and the remaining sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix until just incorporated. Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly.
4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes, then invert onto a platter and allow to cool.