August is peach season, and aren’t we blessed to have so many orchards around to gather this wonderful gem of a fruit?
There is much discussion about the “best” peach, but honestly it’s been my experience that in an ample rain year the peaches are not quite as flavorful. In a more dry year, the flavor of all the varieties becomes a little more intense because the flesh of the fruit becomes more concentrated with less water on board — making them a little sweeter. In that case they are all my favorite.
(As an aside, this same concept holds true for berries, tomatoes and other garden dwellers.)
I tend to go for the “seconds” for baking. They are usually softer and there’s no waiting time. They are also less expensive.
When I buy soft seconds, I skip the messy step of dropping them in boiling water and peeling them. That does work, but with soft peaches I can peel them without sacrificing too much of the fruit.
don’t miss:Need more fruits and veggies? Try this rhubarb berry crumble
More Melinda:Like blueberries? Like cake? You’ll love this summer treat
Here’s another tip: When you are buying peaches at an orchard, ask them if you can sample them. I learned to carry a plastic knife in my car in case they don’t have anything to cut them with. Why buy a peck of fruit if the flavor isn’t what you were looking for?
When baking with peaches, I mix varieties for the best result. I do the same with apples. This time I used Loring and SunHigh. If I’d had another variety on hand I would have added it.
This recipe will work no matter what kind of season we’re having. If the peaches aren’t as sweet, be a little more heavy-handed on the sugar. Don’t worry if you don’t have a skillet; you can use a 9-inch cake pan or even a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. For this recipe I am using a cast-iron skillet, but any oven safe skillet will do as well.
Easy Skillet Peach Upside Down Cake
Here is a delicious yet easy dessert to throw together for any occasion. Make sure you read through the recipe first. You might not want as much cinnamon, so you can adjust it to your taste — there’s no right or wrong there.
- 1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) salted butter
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 peaches, thinly sliced
- Optional: 1 maraschino cherry for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Add the butter to a 10-12 inch oven-safe skillet set over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown lightly until it smells toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir often. Remove from the heat and carefully pour the butter into a large mixing bowl. Line the skillet with parchment paper, then grease with additional butter. Set the skillet aside.
- Add the yogurt, eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, the vanilla and milk to the mixing bowl with the butter, beating until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and the salt. Mix until just combined.
- In a small bowl, mix the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
- Sprinkle the bottom of the buttered skillet with 3 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar. Arrange the peach slices in a single layer over the sugar, then sprinkle the peaches with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. Pour the cake batter over the peaches. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar, then arrange the remaining peach slices on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the skillet for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Let cool slightly.
- Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the skillet or in an airtight container for up to four days, but no leftovers here.
If you don’t have a skillet: Use a 9-inch pie plate or springform pan lined with parchment paper. You will need to bake the cake closer to 55-60 minutes.
Melinda Malott of Williamsport is a self-taught baker and cook. Follow her on Instagram @Melindaluvs2bake.