Fresh Peach Cake comes together very quickly, and is a perfectly rustic dessert with very little effort. The addition of the vanilla paste elevates the flavour and pairs so well with the peaches. No decorating needed here! Just add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’re all set!
I hope I’m not too late with sharing this Fresh Peach Cake recipe with you, Dear Reader! I know that locally grown fresh peaches are in stores right now, but that’s in Ontario. The harvesting season could be earlier or later where you live. The good news is that even if it isn’t peach season, you can buy fresh peaches year round!
This is one of those cakes that I get most excited about. I love to bake, as you well know, but I can’t seem to master the skills or technique required to beautifully decorate a cake. With a cake like this one, there’s no need to decorate it! The overlapping layering of the peach slices do all of the work for you!
With this particular cake, you basically whip up the cake layer and then layer the peach slices on top. There’s very little fuss with that, isn’t there!? Bake the cake and remove it from the oven to cool. You have the choice to fully cool it or serve it while it’s still warm – just warm enough to slowly melt that vanilla ice cream!
BAKING A FRESH PEACH CAKE
In terms of baking, you can bake this cake in a 10″ spring form pan like I did, or you can use a 9 x 13″ baking dish. I used the spring form pan so that I could place the humble cake on a pretty cake stand; not that the cake needed anything to help it be pretty, but because I love cake stands!
You cannot bake this cake in a normal cake pan or bundt pan, because you will not be able to turn it out. Most cakes are flipped over onto a cooling rack to get them out of the pan to cool. But, you can’t do that with this cake, because all of those beautiful peaches are on top. You would ruin all of your hard work.
If you are willing to slice the cake right into your cake pan, then you can bake it in a regular pan. Please keep in mind that most cake pans are not built to withstand a sharp knife being dragged across it. Doing so might put that non-stick coating at risk. The best alternative is the 9 x 13″ pan. Line it first with parchment paper to make the cake easier to lift out. You will also need to layer the peach slices in rows rather than in a circular fashion.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Peaches – Wash the peaches and dry them. Slice the peach in half, working around the pit just like you would an avocado. Gently twist to release one side from the other. Use a paring knife to cut out the pit. Slice the peach halves into wedges. You should be about 10 wedges per peach, depending on the size.
- Flour – Regular all-purpose flour was used. I have not tested this recipe with any other types of flour.
- Sugar – The peaches are already sweet, but not sweet enough to make the cake a dessert. Adding just a bit of sugar to the cake batter is worth it!
- Eggs – It’s always a good idea to make sure your eggs are at room temperature before baking. Sit them in a small bowl on your countertop for 10-15 minutes before using.
- Salted Butter – It doesn’t need to be at room temperature or softened, because you’re going to melt it first!
- Milk – Any milk will do – skim, whole, half and half, etc.
- Baking Powder – This is used to increase the volume of the batter and to add texture as well.
- Vanilla Bean Paste – This has a strong vanilla flavour and has vanilla beans in it. It’s a more economical way to get the little black flecks of vanilla beans into baked goods without buying expensive pods!
HOW TO MAKE A FRESH PEACH CAKE:
The first thing you want to do is to prepare the peaches. Once that is done, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 10″ spring form pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and greasing the sides with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Next, using a hand held mixer on the lowest speed possible, gently and lightly blend together the flour, sugar, melted butter, and baking powder until smooth – about 3 minutes.
Now, whisk the eggs with the milk and the vanilla bean paste (or extract) and add it to the flour mixture. Again, with the hand held mixer on the lowest speed, mix together until just formed – about a minute. Clumps are to be expected! Pour the batter into your prepared spring form pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula. Finally, lay the peach slices in a slightly overlapping pattern, starting with the outer edge of the cake batter.
Once done, tap the pan onto your counter top or a cutting board a few times to help the batter settle into the pan and to eliminate bubbles. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven when done and allow the cake a full 20 minutes to cool before removing the spring form pan. Place the cake on a cake stand or a cooling rack to finish cooling.
VANILLA BEAN PASTE
What is vanilla bean paste anyway? Have you used it before? I’ve only just learned of it myself about a year ago. I was reading through a dessert cookbook and it seemed like every third recipe had vanilla bean paste as one of the ingredients. I was intrigued.
Vanilla bean paste is a mixture of vanilla bean seeds, sugar, vanilla extract, and some type of thickener. In most cases, it’s is corn syrup. It is a pourable substance, but not like water. It is more like molasses! The best part about it is that the vanilla flavour and scent is more intense, so if you love vanilla, try it! Like I mentioned above, it is certainly a less expensive way to get those characteristic black flecks of a vanilla bean into your baking. Buying and scraping whole beans it not only tedious, but expensive too.
If you don’t have any, or if you don’t want to buy any for this Fresh Peach Cake, you can simply use regular vanilla extract in equal amounts. I used a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste in this recipe, so if using vanilla extract, use a tablespoon of that instead.
PEACH FUZZ ON OR OFF?
I personally know some people who think that eating the skin on a peach is just gross. I think the fuzziness of the peach turns them off a little. But, there’s a way to get rid of that peach fuzz! Don’t wash the peach first!! Use a kitchen towel and gently wipe the entire surface of the peach with it. The fuzz will come right off. Once you’ve done that, you can go ahead and wash the peach.
If you want to remove the skin completely, you can do that too. First, you can peel each peach with a paring knife, but that takes too long and you remove too much of the peach. The best way to do it is to score the skin on the bottom of each peach. This basically means to cut an X-shape into the flesh of the peach – not too deep! You’re just cutting through the skin.
Place the peaches in a large bowl and completely cover them boiled water from a kettle. Let them sit for a minute or two while you fill another bowl with cold water. Use a slotted spoon to fish the peaches out of the hot water and submerge them into the cold water. After a minute or two, you can easily peel the skin from the peaches using the X at the bottom to pull away the skin. I left the skin on, because I like the crinkle effect that happens as a result of the heat.
DON’T LIKE PEACHES? USE A DIFFERENT FRUIT!
This cake will work with many other fruits, if you’re not a fan of peaches. You can use plums or apricots, for example. Nectarines will work too, but to me, they taste almost exactly like a peach, so what’s the difference!? Smaller stone fruit like cherries would work, although I would not want to overlap them! Ha!
You might want to consider using berries instead of fruit. Consider using a layer of blueberries or raspberries. Don’t pile them up onto the cake, because they will turn into jam and will prevent the cake from baking all the way through. Just a single layer will work just fine.
Whatever you decide to use, be sure to serve this cake with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. The cake is not extra sweet at all, and can certainly use the extra sweetness. You will see in the photos that my cake has some sanding sugar sprinkled right on top. I did that for 3 reasons – it will add sweetness, it will add texture, and it will add a glistening beauty. However, it’s completely optional!
Fresh Peach Cake
- 8 large peaches, pit removed, sliced into 10 wedges
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, or extract
- Prepare a 10″ spring form pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and greasing the sides with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Using a hand held mixer on the lowest speed possible, gently and lightly blend together the flour, sugar, melted butter, and baking powder until smooth – about 3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and the vanilla bean paste (or extract) and add it to the flour mixture.
- Again, with the hand held mixer on the lowest speed, mix together until just formed – about a minute. Clumps are to be expected!
- Pour the batter into your prepared spring form pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.
- Lay the peach slices in a slightly overlapping pattern, starting with the outer edge of the cake batter.
- Tap the pan onto your counter top or a cutting board a few times to help the batter settle into the pan and to eliminate bubbles.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven when done and allow the cake a full 20 minutes to cool before removing the spring form pan.