August 31, 2010
Rustic Peach Cake
When you have a newborn in the house, finding the time to cook, much less bake, takes on a whole new meaning. You basically have to seize the free time whenever you can while the baby's sleeping or being entertained by her dad. Those moments are precious and other things like taking a shower often take precedence. But recently, I used my free hour to bake a beautiful rustic summer cake.
This recipe is one I found in Cook's Illustrated 'American Classics' which is on newsstands now. I was immediately drawn to it for two reasons: peaches are at their peak right now and who doesn't love peaches? And, because it is really, really easy.
This rustic peach cake, like many sweets that I see in Italy, is just the kind of cake I love: not too sweet, not fussy, made with simple ingredients, like fresh fruit, that can be eaten anytime of day. My personal favorite is in the morning with a homemade cappuccino made with local roaster Drew's Brews Zappia family espresso. Or, as a late-night snack with a glass of Hatcher family dairy whole milk. Yum. I plan to save this recipe and use it all year long, replacing the peaches with whatever is in season. It would be great with apples (like this torta di mele), pears, plums or dried fruit in the winter.
This cake is so good and so un-sweet, therefore not too guilt-inducing (there's only a 1/2 cup of sugar in the recipe) that this is all that was left 24 hours after I made it.
Rustic Peach Cake, from C.I., American Classics
1 cup a.p. flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
Mix until light:
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
8 T unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 T sour cream (or whole milk)
1 t vanilla extract
Then add flour mixture to egg mixture and mix on low until just combined. Pour into greased and floured cake pan.
peel, pit and slice 2 medium peaches and toss with 1/4 c sugar and 1/2 t cinnamon then arrange in a circular pattern around the edge and in the middle of cake.
(*Tip: scattering some chopped, dried apricots or peaches over the batter before arranging the fresh peaches on top will soak up the excess peach juice and eliminate a soggy cake top, but this is kind of fancy and is optional.)
Bake @ 350 for about 35-40 min. I used a 9-in cake pan, but you could use a springform or any kind of cake pan for this.