Peaches! We have them…the first of the season from south Georgia, and boy are they a welcome sight. It seems like forever since peaches were in season, and now at last they’ve arrived, even a bit early, like everything this year.
After the first week of eating them in a few juicy bites, or with some Greek yogurt and granola, I began to calm down once I realized that these were early peaches and we should have peaches for a while to come. And that’s when I started thinking about baking. Now, I don’t bake a lot…mainly because there are just two of us and, well, if I make it, we will eat it…rapidly and until no crumbs remain. But peaches do inspire me to start trying some new ideas.
My first thought was something cake-y. More so than a crisp or a cobbler, but maybe more versatile than a muffin. I love shortcakes…why not combine the idea of fruit and shortcake into one…besides the fact that I’ve never seen it done? And hence the result: a very short little peach cake!
I started by utilizing some of my favorite flavors from both peach and other fruit crisps, including oats, plus some other fresh ingredients that I think compliment the peach itself, like orange zest and ginger. Then, combining ideas from a couple of shortcake recipes that I liked, I came up with this easy little cake. The shortcake-styled batter is topped with a layer of peaches and almonds, then sprinkled with sugar and baked until golden and the almonds are toasty. The final cake is moist and flavorful, a cross between the biscuity texture of a shortcake and the moist crumb of a traditional cake. It isn’t overly sweet and is quite good on it’s own as a dessert, snack, or even breakfast. But of course for the true shortcake experience you can top it with your favorite topping of plain yogurt (to feel virtuous), whipped cream (to feel sophisticated) or even ice cream (for total gluttony, uh-huh) and all are good. Oh yes, peaches do love some cream!
All hail to the mighty peach, and welcome to the season, at least in our neck of the woods. What? No peaches for you yet? Well, as soon as they come in, here are a few more tasty looking treats using peaches that you might want to check out: my Mom’s Easy Peach (and Blueberry) Crisp, City Hippy Farm Girl’s Peach and Almond Clafouti rift on my Apple Clafouti, and Geni’s Peachy Summer Muffins and Peachy Puffy Pancake at Sweet and Crumbly. And there are oh so many more great ideas out there. Just click on any one of the folks I follow, go to their site and search for peach recipes, and the world of peach is at your fingertips. Yay, I love peach season!
A little side note. You may or may not have noticed that my posting frequency has dwindled to about once a week over the last couple of months. I’ve alluded to a few reasons for that in addition to just plain being busy, like we all are, plus I’ve been working on a rebrand for my business. I hope to be back up to a more regular twice-a-week posting schedule pretty soon, and appreciate you bearing with me. Like the song for Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, if you believe in me posting more frequently, clap your hands! No seriously, you could just “Like” me on Facebook at the top right sidebar of my home page, and that would be wonderful, plus it would encourage me to post more there, too! Thanks for reading this public service announcement. Back to work.
A Very Short Little Peach Cake
Makes 8 decent sized slices, or 4 extremely generous ones!
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats, ground to coarse flour in a processor
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons (I use cane sugar)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 cup whole buttermilk
1 generous cup sliced fresh peaches, about 3 small peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Plain Greek yogurt, heavy whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to serve. (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round non-stick cake pan, and I usually use the butter wrappers for this…waste not!
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients (flour through zest) and stir with a fork or whisk to well distribute. Add the butter and lightly mix with your hands to combine the dry ingredients with the butter, resulting in a coarse meal appearance. Add the buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just combined, do not overmix. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the peach slices in an even and single layer over the smoothed top of the batter, gently pressing and using an artful design if desired. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the peaches, then sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top.
Bake the cake in the 400 degree F oven for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and shrinking from the sides of the pan, and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake and cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 8 minutes. Remove the cake gently from the pan, and place it back on the wire rack to cool completely. Serve as is or with a dollop of your favorite creamy topping. Enjoy.