Peach Upside-Down Skillet Cake


Fresh off this week’s From My Kitchen Friday*, this little beauty of a cake is the perfect back-pocket recipe for just about any type of stone fruit, but especially the freestone peaches that are rolling through markets right now. Bright in color and sweet-tart flavor, yellow peaches stand up beautifully to all manner of buttery pie crusts, cake batters, and cobbler toppings. If you find yourself faced with a gloriously blushed pile of fuzzy gems within the next few weeks, the combination of pantry staples in this casual summer cake will turn them into something extra special**.

*Join me every Friday on my Instagram Stories for fun baking recipes, tips, and general kitchen life hacks! They stay up for 24 hours after posting, and then go on to live in the highlights in the little circles under my profile name and bio.

**Speaking of something special, my new cookbook Midwest Made is now available for pre-order! Choose your favorite online bookseller to secure your copy (and holiday gifts for the beloved bakers in your life) or even better, visit your favorite local indie bookseller and ask them to order it.

Peach Upside-Down Skillet Cake

Serves 8 to 10

Instead of ground cinnamon, you can spice up your batter with ground ginger or cardamom, and/or add a generous handful of minced candied ginger. Top with ice cream, or whip some heavy cream with a splash of bourbon and very little sugar, if any, to dress up this cake even more.

For the topping:

4 tablespoons/57 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan

2/3 cup/148 g firmly packed dark or light brown sugar

Pinch of fine sea salt

3 to 4 large peaches, pitted and cut into sixths

For the cake batter:

2/3 cup/132 g granulated sugar

1/2 cup/113 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups/92 g unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup/120 g sour cream or Greek yogurt

1/2 large peach, chopped

Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350°F/180°C.

Butter the sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Add the butter, brown sugar, and salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the mixture is melted and begins to come to a low boil. Boil to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Place the peach wedges snugly in a circular pattern atop the caramel. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl often.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients to the batter—don’t overmix. When almost smooth, stir in the sour cream or yogurt—again just with a few strokes to avoid overmixing. Fold in the chopped peaches by hand. Spoon the batter on top of the fruit in several large dollops, and spread gently with a spatula.

Bake until deeply golden and bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a cooling rack and loosen the edges of the cake from the sides of the pan. Let rest for 10 to minutes. Invert onto a serving platter. Allow to cool and set for at least 10 to 15 minutes more before slicing and serving with lots of vanilla ice cream or bourbon whipped cream.

Shauna Sever