If you can muster the inner peace to not explode when you turn on the oven, you should definitely make this cake. Granted, the 100+ temperatures make summoning the will to add heat to your home that much more masochistic, but like I said: if you can find that inner namaste, this cake is a handsome reward. It’s a simple summer cake recipe, one whose heft and flavor comes as much from thick, juicy peach slices as from freshly ground almonds.
You’d think the big hunks of fruit and almond flour would make this cake heavy, but they don’t. No, it’s not the lightest, most fluffy cake, but you know what? Neither is summer the lightest, freshest season. These are the dog days. With weather like this, you have two choices. You can sip cold soup, do a 10-day cleanse, and will the season to fade into fall, or — if you can’t beat’em, join’em. This slightly dense, incredibly moist cake will bring that love-hate relationship with summer right to the fore. It’s plump and bursting with peach juice. It’s not the least bit cold. And as you eat it, you’ll realize that succumbing to the dog days of summer, while sweaty as hell, can actually be liberating.
While this recipe calls for peaches, summer nectarines are really hitting their stride. They work very well here, too. I’ve got a funky thing about peach fuzz, so I’m actually partial to nectarines — but I admit that peaches were just made for this cake. Either way, make it. Set it out on the porch. Then pour yourself a glass of white, or mix a cold drink. Sit outside, cake slice in hand, and accept summer for the hot, sticky mess it is.
Summer Peach Cake
adapted from Savour on Food52
3 ripe peaches (cling and freestone are both fine)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar, preferably unbleached
6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Turbinado Sugar, for topping the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
Cut the peaches in half and remove pits, then chop roughly. Toss the peaches with nutmeg and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and remaining sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the egg, buttermilk, vanilla and almond extracts, and stir to combine.
Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth (some lumps may remain). Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth top.
Lightly press the peaches into the top of the cake. (There’s really no need to arrange them fancily, as they’ll sink into the cake as it bakes.) Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top of the cake; you’ll need about 2 tablespoons.
Bake cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.