Saturday, May 3, 2008

Very Peachy Peach Upside Down Cake

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, May 03, 2008

Peaches are delicious and easy to work with. They offer the perfect combination of flavor and nutrition. This is how I used up my leftover peaches (5 of them of regular size ones). Removing the skin of a peach is a pain the ass if you don't know how to do it the right way. I included in steps on removing peach skin easily in this post. However, I personally do not see why we should remove the skin when all nutritions are from the skin itself. This has been widely proven and you could drop by here and here if you wanna know more.

For this upside down peach cake, I used up 5 peaches and the peaches are not only used on top of the cake just to add in the aesthetic. In fact, it is called a 'very peachy' cake for a reason. I used cubed peaches within the cake batter as well. Many recipes for upside down peach cake often call for cake enhanced with milk or orange juice but let's face it, in reality, all these are just plain yellow cake mix. Also, I saw many recipes for this requires cast iron skillet. In reality, there is really no such need. I baked mine in my one and only 8'' round non stick pan. They came out perfect.

I skinned the peach cubes that will be added into the cake batter (also for the tutorial purpose to show you how to blanch peaches the right way) and I leave the peach slices skin on (these will be used to line the pan so make sure you washed them properly else skin them!).

Start off by cutting the peaches along its natural divide (I tried showing you in the picture above but if you still can't seem to get it, please email me!). Insert the knife until you feel the pit, then move the peach all around the knife until you have a clean cut dividing the peach. Now, the only thing holding the peach is its pit.

Working gently, twist both halves in opposite directions (obviously!) and try loosen up the peach. This might not work for over ripe peaches because they tend to be mushy. This works alright for firm ripe peaches like mine. You will end up with 2 halves of the peach, one with pit. Working a knife along it to try dig out the pit or just remove it (some peach's pit comes off easily) and again half them. You'll end up with big peach slices like above. Some peaches gives colored center. In my opinion, though they don't look pretty, they're still edible so don't bother about them.
Next, bring a pot of water to boil. The water amount would be just enough to cover the peach slices. When boiling, reduce the heat and throw in the peach slices. Let the slices simmer for at least a minute. If peaches are slightly under-ripe, allow them to remain in the hot water a little longer to loosen the peel (Bonus : This will also improve their flavor and discolor the center a bit so you can reduce the ugliness center a little bit more!)

Next, dunk them in icy cold water. The skin should come off the peach in large peels. There you go, as simple as that.

Next, preheat oven to 175
°C and generously grease an 8'' round pan with cooking oil but do not over do it (see picture below!) and set aside.

Bring 1/2 cup scant of Demerara sugar and 4 tbsp of water to boil (not burnt) and dissolve all the sugar. Quickly pour this into the greased pan and arrange peach slices over them.

For the cake:

Portion A
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup scant white sugar

1/3 cup full cream milk (I used a ixture of full cream milk and orange juice to come up to 1/3 cup)

2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

1 cup of cubed peach (this is about 1 and 1/2 peaches. The other 3 and 1/2 peaches are slices )

1) Sift Portion A and set aside.

2) Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in, one at a time.

3) Add in the vanilla extract and beat slightly.

4) Fold in Portion A alternatively with the milk-orange mixture, making sure to end the process with flour mixture.

5) Gently fold in the cubed peach.

6) Pour the prepared mixture into the ‘peached’ pan.

7) Even out the surface of the batter with a spatula to make sure it covers the whole pan uniformly and tap it a few times to release any air bubbles

8) Bake at 175° C for 35 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

The end product. Looks pretty delish eh? It was very nice! The cake was very peachy .

Sinfully rich in peach. Saw the cake layer? It's got peach cubes to bite on when eating. This taste better the next day in fact. I dunno bout you guys, people usually serve this either
warm or at room temperature, either plain or with whipped cream. I like mine served with real crème anglaise (pronounced as krèm-an-glez ) . Recipe here as below but you really could just leave it out if you don’t want to. The peach cake still does taste very yummilicious all by itself.

Crème Anglaise

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour

2 cups full cream milk (I used half-and-half cream)

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


1) Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.

2) Stir in milk until smooth (the colder the better, after all, corn flour dissolve really well in cold liquid rather than hot liquid).

3) Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

4) Then, reduce heat and cook-stir for another 2 minutes.

5) Remove from heat and stir 1 cup into yolks. Then, return all back to pan. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for another 2 minutes. This is called tempering and is indeed a very important step in order to not overcook the egg.

6) Finally, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool slightly and cover the surface of custard with cling wrap to avoid skin formation (like how the cream patisserie of cream puff was covered). Chill it well before serving. This could be well made before hand.

Note: If vanilla pod is to be used, it should be split open into half, scraped and all the scraped residue together with the pod should be put in along with the milk.

Serve a slice of the cake, warm with a dollop of the crème anglaise. If you think it is such a waste to cover the beautifully arranged peach cake with the custard, just place a dollop by its side.


Note : This cake produce a dense bread-dough texture so if you don't like that kinda texture, don't try this.

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