Drowning in Peaches – what a wonderful problem to have!

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There is nothing in the world that screams summer to me more than a peach.  The way it smells, the way it tastes, the luscious texture, the overabundance when they’re in season.  A few years ago, Marcusand I decided that we were going to try to buy all of our fruit locally that year.  We had been buying almost all of our vegetables locally for several years and we wanted to take it to the next level.  Of course, that would be the year that a late freeze in April, after several unseasonably hot weeks, killed off all of our plans for fruit that year.  We went to ridiculous efforts to save our strawberries that involved wrapping our beds in plastic and putting lights out to keep it warm enough not to freeze.  But local farmers around here couldn’t do that and the 23 degree nights devastated farmers all over the southeast.  That summer was a lean year on the fruit front.  We had our miracle strawberries and we had melons but that was it.  Without peaches, the summer just didn’t seem the same.  So every year since, we’ve gorged ourselves silly on local peaches.  I like yellow peaches best but any local peach will taste so much better than peaches trekked in from hundred of miles away.  

I always buy too many peaches and end up with some that are going a little soft around the edges.  This cake is a great way to use them up.  I really loved this recipe.  It’s a very light, eggy, sweet cornbread with a deliciously buttery peach layer on top.  Next time I make it, I’m going to wedge in even more peaches – this cake can handle it.

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Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 medium ripe peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, pitted, and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt three tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Make sure to swirl butter up on sides so that they’re coated.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly over bottom of skillet.  Sugar will start to bubble and turn a golden-brown color – this will take about three minutes.

Arrange peaches in a circle around the edges of the skillet.  Arrange the rest of the peach wedges in the center.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the peaches are soft and the juices are bubbling.  This will take around ten minutes.  Remove from heat.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Using a mixer on high speed beat the remaining stick of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until mixture is fluffy and pale.  This will take about three minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time allowing each egg to be fully incorporated before adding the other.  Scrape down the sides of bowl and add the vanilla and cream.  Reduce speed to low and add half the cornmeal mixture.  Scrap down sides and add the rest of the cornmeal mixture and mix thoroughly.

Drop large spoonfuls of batter over the peaches and spread the batter evenly over them using a spatula.  Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.  This will be 20 to 22 minutes.  In my oven, it took 25 minutes.  Place skillet on a wire rack for ten minutes and then run a knife around the edges of the cake.  Do the next movement quickly – Invert cake onto a large plate or cutting board and tap the bottom of the skillet to release the peaches.  Carefully remove skillet – you may need to reposition the peaches on the top.  Let cool slightly and serve.

Click here for a printable recipe!


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This is my entry for week two of Summerfest.  Join in the fun!


18 Comments on Drowning in Peaches – what a wonderful problem to have!

  1. Mangochild
    August 4, 2009 at 6:07 am (5 years ago)

    Quite right! I love this time of year for it. Going to the local orchards each weekend and picking juicy, delicious peaches for the week is an activity in itself, as is finding all the different ways to eat the food. Summerfest – I’d love to join even though I missed week 1. Great concept.

    Reply
  2. TNLocavore
    August 4, 2009 at 9:52 am (5 years ago)

    You can still participate. Go check out the link – there are two weeks left.

    Reply
  3. Charmian Christie
    August 4, 2009 at 10:18 am (5 years ago)

    I love that there are so many recipes for peaches. An upside down cake never occurred to me. Looks wonderful!

    Reply
  4. TNLocavore
    August 4, 2009 at 10:42 am (5 years ago)

    Kelsey – I know – what a horrible problem to have! I’m hoping we can squeeze a tree onto our city lot so I can drown in even more.
    Charmian – it’s not a traditional upside-down cake. It’s more like a very fluffy, buttery cornbread topped with buttery peaches. We really liked it.

    Reply
  5. Chef Gwen
    August 4, 2009 at 10:58 am (5 years ago)

    I associate peaches and cornmeal both with the south… and being a Texas girl, this is right up my alley! Looks delicious, thanks for sharing.
    I’m behind on my 2nd Summer Fest Post, but I will get to it before the week is over. In the meantime, I’m subbing an earlier stone fruit post on cherries:
    http://penandfork.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/now-and-later-cherries/

    Reply
  6. Alta
    August 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm (5 years ago)

    Mm…this sounds yummy! I love peaches, and I especially love peach baked goods! Will have to make.

    Reply
  7. cosmic cowgirl
    August 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm (5 years ago)

    we had some peach issues here in texas this year, too. they had to adjust some of the rules relating to the peach festivals because there were so few peaches in this year’s harvest.
    this looks absolutely divine!

    Reply
  8. TNLocavore
    August 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm (5 years ago)

    I’m thankful we’ve got peaches this year but it was a pretty bad strawberry and cherry season here. We’ve gone from drought conditions over the past few years to rain every other day.

    Reply
  9. Vanderbilt Wife
    August 4, 2009 at 5:01 pm (5 years ago)

    I’ve made a peach-maple upside down cake for the fall, but this sounds delightful for the summer! I am definitely bookmarking it to try as we’re peach-a-holics at my house.

    Reply
  10. Vanderbilt Wife
    August 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm (5 years ago)

    I meant PEAR in the above comment–I’ve made pear-maple upside down cake. Which is definitely winter. Sorry for being a dope.

    Reply
  11. TNLocavore
    August 5, 2009 at 10:58 am (5 years ago)

    I so wish my husband liked pears! Because the maple with them sounds soooo good!

    Reply
  12. Karine
    August 6, 2009 at 8:10 pm (5 years ago)

    This recipe looks to be a great way to enjoy peaches!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  13. TNLocavore
    August 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm (5 years ago)

    Plum Chutney sounds so good – I just got done making some cherry chutney today!
    Thanks Karine! It’s really hard to improve on a ripe summer peach but I did really like this recipe!

    Reply
  14. Susan from Food Blogga
    August 8, 2009 at 8:17 pm (5 years ago)

    I could never resist a slice of upside-down cake, especially with sweet peaches and crunchy cornmeal. Oh, that’s just heavenly.

    Reply
  15. TNLocavore
    August 9, 2009 at 8:38 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks Susan! It was a very tasty departure from a traditional upside-down cake. Although, I’d never turn down a slice of that either!

    Reply

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