Until Next Year, Old Friend


As summer switches hemispheres for a while, we enjoy its parting magnificence, in golden, juicy, sweet peaches.  This is the last chance we’ll have for nine months, six days – or thereabouts – until summer is ours again.  What better way to crown its glory and to partake of its warmth than with Peach Coffee Cake?

Before additional details,  a look at the nice peaches that inspired this final celebration:Chambersburg PeachesFruit worthy of immortalization comes once a season, and when Cook’s Country described Peach Coffee Cake in the June/July 2018 issue, the dessert became a perfect tribute. Sweet enough to recall the splendid greenery that produced such treasures, yet with warmth to satisfy  and to sustain through the chill until summer returns.

Unlike many peach creations, Peach Coffee Cake glistens with the fruit, in fact, it nearly bursts with its exuberance.  This is thanks to a triple billing, as peach preserves lace the cake, peach nectar reinforces it, and a ribbon of fresh peaches draws together the cake and the topping.  This ribbon makes the coffee cake, as it ensures peaches explode from each bite.

The topping, a streusel actually, compliments the peaches with a buttery dusting of cinnamon.  Not only is this a perfect companion for the fruit, but cinnamon’s tingle also tantalizes the cake’s sweetness and gives it a light, ethereal boost.  Interestingly, too, its crumbly crunchiness contrasts texturally with moist cake and the succulent peaches.

This is a coffee cake, making it a warm, satisfying way to greet the morning.  Imagine waking to the aroma of peaches, vanilla and cinnamon wafting from the oven and inviting you downstairs.  What an entrancing start!  Though, speaking from experience, this cake is pretty spectacular at any time of day (or night).

Thank goodness, though, despite the dessert’s name, coffee is optional.  Indeed, the mug you see above is empty; just a prop, really.  Milk is the only proper companion for desserts.  To those of you who like coffee, well, that’s your problem.

Still, if it enhances your breakfast, by all means, bring on the coffee.  After all, you’re savoring summer’s best and brightest efforts and you’re building the dreams that will anticipate its return.  Yes, this cake is that good – put some in the freezer – it’ll turn a winter day to August.

*****

Peach Coffee Cake

For the peaches:

  • 2  peaches, pitted and cut into thin wedges (*1)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the cake:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (*2)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup peach preserves

In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with the sugar and salt and let it sit at room temperature for half an hour.  After the time has elapsed, pour the peaches into a colander with another bowl beneath, to capture the peach juices.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the juice.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a cake pan.

Create the topping by stirring together in a bowl the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle in the melted butter, stirring constantly (*3).  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and the peach juice reserved from the first step.  Add the flour mixture to the liquids and stir until just combined.  Stir in peach preserves, again, until just combined.  The goal is to retain at least some streaks of peach preserves.

Pour the batter into a cake pan and “jiggle” the pan until the batter is even.  Lay sliced peaches from the first step on the batter, trying to cover as much of the surface as possible.  Sprinkle topping on the peaches, covering the entire surface evenly.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the topping is golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake’s center comes out clean.  Remove pan from the oven and cool on a rack for two hours.  Cut the coffee cake into pieces and serve.

*****

NOTES:

1 – If you’re making this when peaches aren’t quite perfect, frozen sliced peaches will work.  Not quite as splendidly, but they’ll do well.

2 – If you have it, use cake flour.  AP flour is more-than-adequate, but cake flour imparts a silkiness and moistness that’s unparalleled.

3 – At first, it doesn’t look like there’s enough butter.  Keep stirring, though, and the streusel eventually will form.  In the end, everything will be just right.  Trust me.

 

2 thoughts on “Until Next Year, Old Friend

  1. Those peaches look lovely. The cake must be decadent, with the sweet, juicy peaches lining the soft and fluffy cake. And nothing enforces the emergence of fall like the lucid aroma of crushed cinnamon. A perfect cake for any day. Fantastic recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks. Your recent creations, of course, have been excellent examples of the two very best pairings, chocolate-peanut butter and apple-cinnamon. You’re right, in fall cinnamon is as comforting and as reassuring as a warm sweater. Maybe because it’s a delightful part of so many softly satisfying aromas drifting from the oven on a chilly day. Instant nostalgia.

    Liked by 1 person

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