peachy peachy cake

feeling peachy-keen?
definition:peachy keen adjective
chiefly US, informal : very good : fine or excellent

yes, peaches are in, and what finer way to enjoy them than this fruit-laden cake. i used to hesitate in using stone fruits for baked desserts due to the labor intensive instructions on how to properly peel, which all called for some blanching in boiling water then gingerly handling hot fruit while carefully peeling…
and then i got my hands on this spiffy peeler with the jagged edges.
i’ve made these twice in a week now! first my daughter did the assembling and we brought them over to their grandparents, dessert for a take-out dimsum lunch in their condo, the second time for home consumption.

the recipe is based on one for plum cake, from the Boston Globe food edition; i substituted firm peaches and i only changed the cinnamon-sugar sprinkle on top to mostly-nutmeg and demerara, with a tiny smidgen of cinnamon. lovely lovely flavors in this cake! when it bakes, the peach slices exude a juice that seeps into the batter in the best possible way. recipe follows….

peachy peachy cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temp.
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temp.
2 tsps. vanilla extract
5-6 firm-fleshed peaches, each sliced into 2 segments

spiced sugar: 2 tbsps. of demerara sugar plus 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg and a sprinkle of cinnamon, for sprinkling before baking
confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling after baking

preheat the oven to 350°F. butter a 9-inch square baking pan. dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
in a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
in an electric mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar. beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
with the mixer set on the lowest speed, blend in the flour mixture. the batter will be thick. pour it into the dish and smooth the top.
arrange the peach slices, overlapping slightly in rows on batter. sprinkle the spiced sugar.
bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake shrinks away from the sides of the pan slightly and tester comes out clean when pierced in the center.
let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes. sprinkle with confectioners sugar before slicing.

from The Boston Globe, August 21, 2013.