Every Summer, I look forward to the late, lazy days of July when the peaches are so fragrant and ripe that the juices run down my neck.
It is in those late days of July that I start hoarding peaches, snatching them up at nearby farm stands and furthermore supplementing my peach supply with those that I can pick from a nearby orchard.
You’d think I was making jam or at the very least preparing for a hefty weekend of canning. Nope. Don’t know how to make jam and I’m to clumsy to can. Besides, that’s what Whole Foods is for, duh.
No, I just collect them, so to speak. Add them to my countertop peach throne. To ooh and ahh over. Pet them occasionally. Is that weird? They remind me of the sweet forehead of a sleeping puppy. That’s probably weird.
Thrones of fresh peaches only last so long, so certainly every summer, during the late lazy days of July, I’m preparing lots of peach cobbler. This year the cobbler was too trite, too predictable, so instead there was cake. This cake. And I think there may be more cake next year, if not every remaining week of this summer.
This is all peach, concentrated and sweet, gooey but still juicy, without the mush you always get with cobbler. The cake is nutty with browned butter, just sweet enough, with a tender but hearty crumb, allowing those peaches to be there, bam, all up in your grill.
It’s how I like my peaches. All up in there and out there and letting it all hang out. Besides, in the late lazy days of July, letting it all hang out is the best I can do.
Browned Butter Peach Cake
(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
5 large peaches
4 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
8 tablespoons unsalted butter,
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup plain, unseasoned bread crumbs, crushed fine
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. If using parchment paper, brush the paper liberally with oil or melted butter.
Using 2 out of the 5 peaches, slice the peaches into eighths and toss them in a large bowl with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.
Slice the remaining 3 peaches also into eighths. Toss these peaches in another large bowl with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Arrange the peaches in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast the peaches in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.
While the peaches are roasting, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Stir the butter continuously over the heat until browned flecks begin to appear at the bottom, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove the butter from the heat immediately and transfer it to a small bowl to keep it from burning. Allow the butter to cool.
Once the peaches are finished roasting, allow them to cool, also. Lower the oven temperature to 350. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with oil or melted butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the 1/3 cup sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and eggs until thick. Add the cooled butter and whisk until combined. Add the yogurt and stir until blended. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold until no streaks of flour remain.
Spread half of the batter across the bottom of the prepared spring form pan. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the layer of cake batter and arrange the roasted peach slices evenly over the top of the bread crumbs. Spread the remainder of the cake batter over top of the roasted peaches. Arrange the fresh peaches over the top of the cake and sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake 50-60 minutes, until the cake is golden and cake tester emerges clean. Allow the cake to cool 40 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yields 8-10 slicesPin It