We live in Monmouth County NJ. We love it… but let’s face it. NJ is the punch line of many jokes. However, there are great things that come from NJ, especially in terms of food. In the summer, one of the gifts from the Garden State are the local peaches. (Sweet corn and tomatoes are up there too!) Following is a great peach cake recipe.
SUMMER PEACH CAKE RECIPE ……From Cook’s Illustrated.
Janine’s notes: I love this recipe and thought it would be good to share it. I prep all ingredients out separately. Now in summer we are getting good peaches, I still use the Schnapps. Overripe peaches are no good, too mushy. I use ones that are not too firm..but not too soft… but more on the firm side with a little give when you squeeze lightly. (no snickering after reading those words, I am just telling you what I use)
As far as batter, don’t worry it does not produce a lot of batter. This is not a high rising cake. Pay attention in recipe when you divide batter when placing into the pan. Per recipe, you put half batter in pan, put small roasted peach pieces in and cover with remaining batter. At this point, I scrape every last bit out of the bowl for the last part and you get it all in there. It seems you barely have enough but you do, then you lay the pretty peach wedges on top. **Don’t forget the 3 tablespoons sugar and almond extract for top of cake before you place in oven.**
Cooking time says 50 minutes. I start watching it very carefully after 40-45 minutes and check every 2-3 minutes. The first time I made it I overcooked (still edible but crust a bit hard) It does not get super dark brown when done but a nice light golden so keep checking with your toothpick. Best served with fresh whipped cream or warm it up with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream (w/vanilla beans)
Enjoy! Janine 😉
Why this recipe works:
To achieve the right texture for our Peach Cake, we sprinkled the peach slices with sugar and baked them in a very hot oven until they lost most of their moisture. Tossing the cooled peaches with crushed panko bread crumbs sopped up the gooey, viscous film that the peaches had acquired in the oven. (The panko gets incorporated into the cake as the peach cake cooks.) Adding some peach schnapps to the batter boosted the peach flavor and gave us a peach cake recipe that could be made even with not-so-perfect peaches.
To achieve the right texture for our Peach Cake, we sprinkled the peach slices with sugar and baked them in a very hot oven until they lost most of their moisture. Tossing the cooled peaches with crushed panko bread crumbs sopped up the gooey,…(more)
Serves 8 to 10
To crush the panko bread crumbs, place them in a zipper-lock bag and smash them with a rolling pin. If you can’t find panko, 1/4 cup of plain, unseasoned bread crumbs can be substituted. Orange liqueur can be substituted for the peach schnapps. If using peak-of-season, farm-fresh peaches, omit the peach schnapps.
Pam Vegetable Spray, 9” spring form pan, Baking sheet
- 2 1/2 pounds peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch-thick wedges
- 5 tablespoons peach schnapps
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, finely crushed
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Gently toss 24 peach wedges with 2 tablespoons schnapps, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in bowl; set aside.
2. Cut remaining peach wedges crosswise into thirds. Gently toss chunks with remaining 3 tablespoons schnapps, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in bowl. Spread peach chunks in single layer on prepared sheet and bake until exuded juices begin to thicken and caramelize at edges of sheet, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let peaches cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
3. Spray 9-inch spring form pan with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and eggs together in second bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
4. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle crushed bread crumbs evenly over cooled peach chunks and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach chunks on batter in even layer, gently pressing peaches into batter. Gently spread remaining batter over peach chunks and smooth top. Arrange reserved peach wedges, slightly overlapped, in ring over surface of cake, placing smaller wedges in center.
Stir together remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and remaining 1/8 teaspoon almond extract in small bowl until sugar is moistened. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake.
5. Bake until center of cake is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.Transfer pan to wire rack; cool five minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
***Note from Janine, watch cake carefully after 40-45 minutes baking time.***
Above: chunks of peaches on the roasting pan
Above, pretty slices for the top.
Above: cake batter ready to go in the oven. Note: not a lot of batter.
Perfect summer peach cake cooling.