It’s my Gram-gram’s birthday week! Who is Gram-gram? She was definitely a force of nature and my fiercely loyal grandmother. I always know that her birthday is coming up because it was during Summer solstice week. She always told me that God wanted her to have the longest birthday than anyone else; to this day I believe her …
The other thing that arrives this time of year besides solstice are the peaches in the markets. Gram-gram had a massive peach tree near her house and not only did we get fresh peaches with cream and peach ice-cream … she would make this cake. She told me that either she or Papa didn’t like pineapple, I can’t remember which, and that’s why she created it; since upside-down cakes were the rage when they were first married. You can use either white or regular peaches, sometimes I use both just for a color variance; for the photo I used only white peaches.
The key to this cake is using a cast-iron skillet; trust me. If you try to make it in anything else I will not be held accountable. Plus, every kitchen should have at least one cast-iron skillet in my opinion. They are pretty much indestructible, and can come in handy as a weapon.
Gram-gram's peach upside-down cake
- ½ cup butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup melted butter
- ½ cup baker’s sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 3 large peaches – peeled and sliced
- Step 1 Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 2 Slowly melt ½ cup of butter, vanilla, and brown sugar together in 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium/low heat. Stirring constantly. When sugar and butter have completely melted, remove from heat and let cool.
- Step 3 The riper the peach the easier it is to peel. Use a non-serrated paring blade and peel over the sink so you can have an easier clean-up. Get as close to the peel with the blade as you can since you want all the fruit and not the peel. Try to slice the peaches in 10 length-wise slices, if some get broken … that’s okay, that’s what goes the in the middle of the fanned peaches.
- Step 4 Place sliced peaches fan-like inside the caramel, starting from the outside. It is totally fine if the caramel oozes all over them and in the center put the peach slices that didn’t make the cut. Feel free to adjust the peaches to how you want them to look, that’s why we let the caramel cool so adjusting will be easier.
- Step 5 In medium-sized bowl, mix together nutmeg, ½ cup butter, baker’s sugar, egg, flour, baking powder, salt, half and half, and sherry until smooth.
- Step 6 Pour batter on top of peaches and caramel in a circular motion so you cover them evenly.
- Step 7 Put the skillet in the oven on top of a cookie sheet (just to catch the drippings) on the middle rack. Cook the cake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean after poking the cake. It is okay if the top is cracked and there is caramel oozing in places … remember the top will be the bottom, folks won’t see it!
- Step 8 Remove the cake from oven and let cool in the skillet for about 35 minutes. Put serving plate on top of skillet … the top of the plate should face the insides of the skillet. Cover both with a tea towel, so the caramel won’t leak all over your counter. With one hand holding the handle of the skillet and the other the bottom of the plate … invert the cake. Let sit for a minute or two while inverted so caramel can drain.
- Step 9 Remove skillet, if peaches or caramel are still in skillet use a spoon to put them back on top of the cake.