Every Saturday morning, I make a trip to Trader Joe's with the intent to stock up on necessities for the week. Sometimes, things end up in my cart that might not be classified as "a necessity" (tater tots), but for the most part I stick to my list.
I. Love. Fresh. Peaches.
Let's take a step back. I love fresh peaches, so long as they aren't mealy. It's such a disappointment to bite into a fresh, fragrant peach, preparing for the juice to dribble down your chin, only to be met with mealy, flavorless mush. Talk about a buzzkill.
This is one of the reasons why I get so excited to see the peach crates at T.J's. I've been buying these crates for three years, now, and I have yet to taste anything but a juicy, sweet peach. I'll usually buy the fruit a bit underripe, so that I have a few extra days to eat them, although finishing the peaches has never, ever been a problem.
I've even been known to buy two or three crates at a time. After I've added the fruit to smoothies, mixed it into salads and sliced it over my cereal, I let the remaining peaches serve as inspiration for a new recipe.
Like this cake, for instance.
This play on a pineapple upside down cake is topped with sliced or halved peaches and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and a touch of rum in the batter, giving it the flavor of a cobbler but the texture of a moist cake.
This cake is a winner. I might go so far as to call it a new favorite. And, it's easy to make: 10-15 minutes of prep time and then baked in one pan directly on the grill (or in your oven.)
That's right. Baked on the grill. Betcha didn't know you could do that, did ya?
It's true. You can. Baking on the grill is similar to baking in the oven, but there's a bit more babysitting involved. You need to pay more attention to maintaining the temperature under the lid, as it could fluctuate, and it's best to bake over indirect heat so that you don't burn whatever you are baking. So, pour a glass of wine, move the party outside (if it's not already out there) and babysit your dessert while it bakes.
**Note: Now would also be a good time to send someone out for vanilla bean ice cream if you don't already have some in the freezer.
Of course, if you'd rather just bake this cake in the oven, that's perfectly fine, too. Either way, your friends and family will be happy with the results.
This recipe yielded four mini cakes when I used small cast-iron skillets, which I found at World Market. I'm just a fan of mini desserts. You can also use a standard 10-inch skillet to make one large cake, or you could even use a fireproof cake pan or skillet. All if the details regarding these variations are noted in the recipe.
Happy baking--via the grill or via the oven!
In this recipe, traditional upside-down cake takes a summery twist. Instead of being baked in the oven, this peach topped cake is baked on the grill, making it the perfect ending to your barbecue, picnic or campfire cookout.
- 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
- 1-1/4 teaspoons (6 mL) ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, softened, divided
- 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) dark rum, bourbon or brandy
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed light brown sugar
- 4 ripe but firm peaches, peeled and sliced
- Heat your gas grill to 350F degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon, ginger and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the butter and sugar at medium speed until very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the rum and vanilla extract.
- On low speed, add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, until the ingredients are well combined.
- Place a large cast-iron skillet (see notes, below, for other options) over medium heat. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons (60 mL) butter in the skillet. Lower the heat and add the brown sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cinnamon; stir until smooth and no lumps remain in the brown sugar.
- Arrange the peaches in the skillet, overlapping a bit in concentric circles. Try to cover all of the surface.
- Spoon the batter over the peaches, carefully smoothing the top with a knife or an offset spatula.
- Place the skillet on a small sheet pan or a flat grilling pan and place, and then place them on the grill. Bake the cake over indirect heat, lid down, trying to keep the grill's temperature as close to 350F as possible. Bake until the top is puffed and golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center emerges clean, 40-50 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the grill and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the (very hot!) skillet to release the cake. Place a large plate or a serving platter on top of the skillet and very carefully invert the cake onto the plate. It should release quite easily. Serve warm or room temperature.
Variations: Instead of using one large skillet, you can divide the peaches, batter, and brown sugar topping among four smaller cast-iron skillets (I found mine at Cost Plus World Market.) Bake the smaller skillets for 25-30 minutes.
You can also use peach halves instead of sliced peaches for the topping, as shown in one of the photos, above. Place the halves, cut sides down, around the skillet before topping with batter.
If you don't want to grill, you can certainly bake the cake in the oven at 350F degrees.
Finally, if you don't have a cast-iron skillet, use a fire-proof cake pan or a different skillet.