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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Peachy Upside Down Cake





Gastropost this week is all about the peaches. I didn't think it was peach season yet but the folks at the Post said it was so we set off to Niagara to find some. As things often happen in our little family, we had good intentions but instead of Niagara, we meandered over towards Caledonia, where we had a really tasty lunch at the Cornerstone Tap and Grill thanks to Restaurantica and Urban Spoon. If you are ever in Caledonia, make sure you stop here for lunch - the food was really quite good, the portions were generous and we were very pleased with our pulled pork crostini, various salads and fish and chips for The Kid.
With full bellies we set off to continue our drive. Of course, I am NOT the navigator so I had no idea where Caledonia sits in relation to Niagara so I just sat back and enjoyed the lovely scenery as we continued on our way to find peaches. Eventually, just was I was thinking that it was taking a very long time to get to Niagara I noticed a sign letting us know that not only were we about to enter Port Dover, Ontario, but that it was Friday the 13 weekend and all bikers were welcome! Great! Maybe they will have some fresh peaches at the Harley Davidson belts and boots stand!



I might not know much but I did know that we were really not near Niagara at all but it was a lovely day and so we parked and got out and walked around, got ice cream for the boys and enjoyed the colourful scenery. Besides the fact that it was a biker holiday, Port Dover is a bustling beach town and we plan to go back before the summer is out but on purpose the next time.
Back in the car, we drove on until we eventually came into Niagara region through the back door, so to speak, and when it seemed like all hope was lost, we happened upon the Peach Country Farm Market and they did, indeed, have peaches.
What started out as a nice, little drive to Niagara for a basket of fruit turned into a 500km little tour of what I think might be south westernish Ontario.
The easy part was over because then I had to decide on what to do with these peaches .Shack LOVES peaches but only eats them when they are 45 minutes away from rotting so these will have to sit out for another week to get to his required level of over ripeness.





Onto what to make with these beauties.
I have been obsessed with this pineapple upside down cake featured on Food 52 ever since the day I saw the recipe. I love the idea of baking it in my skillet and it just looked so delicious. My mom made pineapple upside down cake all the time when I was young and it was always one of my favourites. I do think that peaches and pecans go together even better than pineapple and pecans so this was a no brainer all around. I also knew I would make a version of my Rose Prosecco Sangria with fresh fruit puree this time instead of canned peaches in syrup but for the mission, I wanted to bake.




So, as far as this recipe goes, it is even better than I had hoped. The cake batter is so light and fluffy and full of flavour, even without any additions of things like vanilla or other flavourings. The ONLY thing I might try a little differently next time is to stir the melted butter and the brown sugar until the sugar is totally melted because it's still kind of thick and grainy after it's cooked and I think it might be nicer if it was a bit more syrupy instead but that is just a nit picky texture thing, not a taste thing.
This is now going to be my go to anything upside down cake for the rest of my natural life.




Peach Upside Down Cake
adapted from Abra Bennet at Food 52

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
pecan halves ( I only used a handful)
about 4 peaches, skinned and sliced
5 tbls peach puree
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


First I pureed a bunch of peaches to make the strained puree (I needed a cup for my Fizzy Peach) and I think 1 good sized peach gave me the 5 tbls. Strain it through a fine strainer and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Melt the butter in a 9" cast iron skillet and add the brown sugar. Mix it well until the sugar is totally combined with the melted butter and turn off the heat. Arrange your peach slices and pecans artfully (or not if you don't care about such things- again, I don't judge). Make sure the pecans are upside down so they will be right side up when you turn out your finished cake (again, if you don't care, I won't tell)


Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks at med speed until they are thick and yellow and then gradually add in the sugar, beating at med speed the whole time. Turn the speed to low and slowly start adding the flour mixture in there. Lastly, add the peach puree.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold them into the cake batter. Pour the batter over the fruit/butter/sugar and make sure it's evenly spread and covers all of the fruit.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack in the skillet for about half an hour before inverting it onto a serving plate.
Amaze and wow your friends.