Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

It was as good as I hoped. (I posted the fresh-out-of-the-oven pic in my last blog entry, and I'm sure you were all on the edge of your seats.) We still have peaches left (6 as of this morning, soon to be 5) and I found a Martha Stewart recipe incorporating peaches and cornmeal. Joe and I had tiny slices, then each of us brought half to work with us after lunch (hooray for being able to go home for lunch with my sweetie!!). Being a guy, he knows only that the cake disappeared but has no idea how people felt about it. My office loved it, particularly the cornmeal and the caramelized sugar on top.

The recipe's not bad at all. I was concerned about the 'Quickly invert cake onto a cutting board' step but it flipped out quite smoothly and I didn't even have to adjust any of the peach slices. It's sorta fun to brown sugar in the skillet, arrange the peach slices on the stovetop, and then plop dough all over the top and slide it into the oven.

Of course, I don't have fresh or dried lavender in the house, because who has that in her kitchen? Martha Stewart? I used some fresh basil instead because I do enjoy peach with basil (see peaches wrapped with pancetta). The green bits distributed throughout the dough weren't especially lovely but tasted a-ok!

The only other modification I made was to use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, because that's what I have, and it worked well using the same cooking time.

Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
from Martha

5 1/2 oz (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 medium ripe peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds), skins on, pitted, and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp chopped fresh lavender, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, using a pastry brush to coat sides with butter as it melts. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly over bottom of skillet, and cook until sugar starts to bubble and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Arrange peaches in a circle at edge of skillet, on top of sugar. Arrange the remaining wedges in the center to fill. Reduce heat to low, and cook until juices are bubbling and peaches begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, lavender, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat remaining stick of butter and 3/4 cup sugar with a mixer on high speed, until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Mix in vanilla and cream. Reduce speed to low, and beat in cornmeal mixture in 2 additions.

Drop large spoonfuls of batter over peaches, and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Place skillet in oven. Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer skillet to a wire rack, and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around edge of cake. Quickly invert cake onto a cutting board. Tap bottom of skillet to release peaches, and carefully remove skillet. Reposition peach slices on top of cake. Let cool slightly before serving.


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