Peach Cake Tatin
While preparing for my parents’ visit this past weekend, I must have looked at least 10 different recipes looking for just the right peach dessert to serve. I looked at cobblers, crumbles, pies, ice creams, crumb cakes, tarts and finally, finally, found a plum recipe. But this was no ordinary plum recipe. It was a plum cake with caramel. Yum! And in place of the plums, my trusty Ina said that peaches would work great for this recipe…as well as apples of course as apple tatin is certainly a classic. I was hoping that some sort of peach cake recipe would catch my eye and I knew this one would be perfect.
What I didn’t know was how quickly caramel burns because either my candy thermometer is broken or the 360 degrees written in the recipe is just wrong – mine burned at 275 degrees. So forget using a candy thermometer for the caramel and use your judgment here: almost continuously swirl the sugar-water mixture and take it off the stove when it turns a nice warm amber color. After two batches of caramel and one severely burned fingertip (don’t ask!), the cake went in the oven. And when it came out…oh boy did it smell good!! It eased out of the pie plate without sticking and I squealed with excitement at the look of the cake…easily the prettiest cake that has come out of my oven in a while.
The smell was only a precursor to how fabulous this cake actually was. It was absolutely out of this world! As the cake cooled, the caramel flavor seeped into the cake, leaving it not mushy but just delicious. The sweetness of the peaches exploded and the now caramel-y cake was dense and perfect. I can’t say enough good things here (obviously) but I have to say that it is must to serve a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream alongside…the ice cream takes the cake to level sublime!
There are a few things I want to note:
- When Ina says to generously grease the pie plate, she means it.
- Arrange the peach slices close together – almost jam them in there – because when they cook, they will shrink.
- Don’t touch the hot caramel. Take it from me.
Peach Cake Tatin
source: adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
- 2-3 large fresh peaches, pitted and sliced into approx 1/2″ pieces
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the peaches in the dish.
- Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. Pour evenly over the peaches.
- Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.
- Pour the cake batter evenly over the peaches and bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If a peach sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.