alexandra alger


Let Them Eat Peach Tatin Cake

Have you been looking for a peach dessert that isn’t crumble or pie? I’ve got one! It’s Tish Boyle’s peach tatin cake from The Cake Book (Wiley, 2006). It’s peachy, it’s cakey, it’s caramel-y, and it comes out perfectly (or as near as anyone could want) even for baking tyros like me. The preparation is time consuming, I can’t lie, but only if you’re doing it alone. Enlist a sous baker, and it’s more than manageable. My sixteen-year-old, Vanessa, and I made this together, and we had it in the oven within an hour. PEACH TATIN CAKE Tish says it serves 8-10; I say 6-8, really 6, since everyone will want seconds. Ingredients: For caramel peach topping: 1 cup sugar 2 TB water 5 TB unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons 4 large peaches (recipe was divine with not-quite-ripe peaches, and even better, if a bit wetter, with ripe ones) For cake: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 1/4 tsp. salt 1 cup sour cream 2 tsp. vanilla extract 9 TB unsalted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs Prepare the topping: Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. The recipe calls for a 10”x3” pan; mine is 9.5”x2” and works fine. (Don’t use a springform pan, because the caramel is sure to leak out of it.) The recipe calls for greasing the parchment paper. I forgot to do this had no trouble getting the cake out of the pan intact later. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and the water and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. I found I need to add at least twice as much water to dissolve the full cup of sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to high and cook until the mixture turns golden brown. This can take a while, but once the darken begins, it proceeds quickly. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time (the mixture will bubble furiously). Carefully pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan. Cut the peaches in half, then cut each half peach into six wedges. Arrange the wedges, overlapping them slightly, around the edge of the pan, on top of the caramel (which will be hard by this point). Arrange another circle of wedges in the center, facing the opposite direction, for a truly professional effect, until the caramel is covered completely. Make the cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside. In a small bowl, stir the sour cream and vanilla extract; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed until the mixture has lightened in color and texture, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. At low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour-cream mixture in two additions, mixing just until blended. Spoon the batter in large dollops over the peaches and smooth into an even layer. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (my pan only needed 40 minutes), until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan. Using pot holders, carefully invert the cake onto a cake plate. Peel off the parchment paper. Serve the cake warm (the best!) or at room temperature. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to two days or refrigerate for up to a week.

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