Peach Upside-Down Cake

On the farm we always bought our peaches in crates to can, eat and bake. After the canning was done, it was time to process and freeze peach slices for pie. It was so handy for later baking to process the peeled, slice peaches flavored with sugar and cinnamon in the exact amount needed for a pie. A freshly baked peach pie in the middle of a long cold Minnesota winter was good tonic for a bad case of cabin fever. Yes, frozen peaches can be a blessing.

However for one recipe only fresh peach halves would do and that was fresh Peach Upside-Down Cake. Both my grandmother and my mother used to bake this cake. As it baked the kitchen would be filled with the aroma of rich caramel, peaches, and maraschino cherries. Not only is it delicious, but it is a very pretty cake.

This cake is actually quite easy to make. The important thing to remember is to make sure that your cake is baked through completely before you flip it. You must use the toothpick coming out in the center clean test to check for doneness.

It is best served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Upside-Down Cake

Prepare your pan:
In a heavy 10-inch cast-iron skillet of 9-inch square pan melt 1/3 cup of butter. Sprinkle ½ cup brown sugar evenly over the melted butter.

4-5 peeled fresh peaches cut in half (If fresh peaches are not in season you can use well-drained canned peach halves.)
1 jar of maraschino cherries

Arrange fruit in an attractive patter on top of the brown sugar and melted butter mixture. I always put a maraschino cherry into the center of each peach half, then place the flat side of the peach half, with the cherry inside, on the brown sugar mixture. Once I have arranged the peach halves, I add more cherries to the design. Remember that what you put on top of the sugar is what is going to show when you flip the cake out of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cake batter:
Sift together in a medium-sized mixing bowl:

1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Add:
1/3 cup soft butter
2/3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix for 2 minutes with electric mixer.

Add:
1 large egg
Beat for 2 more minutes.

Pour batter over fruit. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately turn upside down on a serving platter. Leave pan over cake for a few minutes. Remove pan and allow caramel mixture to run down into the cake. I spoon any caramel that misses the cake onto the top of the cake.

Serve warm with ice cream.

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