Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Baltimore Peach Cake

Apparently peach cake is a bit of a Baltimore institution. I thought our only institutions were Natty Boh and crab cakes. Who knew? There was an article in Urbanite magazine a few months ago about peach cake, and I intended to make the cake using the recipe they provided. I finally got around to it last night, and the results were, well, rather good.

I’m not a huge fan of yeast-based doughs (unless, of course, it’s for bread), so that might be why I don’t absolutely adore this cake. The peaches I used were from Reid’s Orchards, purveyors of fine stone fruit and berries and apples. (Aside: although they do sell my favorite apple, the glorious Macoun, all of their apples pale in comparison to those from my beloved Red Jacket Orchards. It's pretty much impossible to compete with Empire State apples.) The peaches I used for the cake were a touch overripe, but it didn’t really matter because they were going to be assaulted by an oven at 400° F.

OK, having just eaten a piece (really just a piece), I have learned something very important: this cake tastes better the next day. I believe this is due to the fact that, overnight, when no one was looking, the peach juices and glaze seeped into the cake, thereby making the cake even more soft and moist. I, being the impulsive woman who requires instant gratification that I am, had to have a piece of it a half hour after it came out of the oven. (See, I do have a tad of patience; I gained it from burning my mouth many times over the course of my 28 years.) I clearly judged this cake a little too soon. Then again, I judge pretty much everything almost instantaneously, so this cake got the same treatment.

So, the final verdict on this cake is that it is indeed yummy and moist and full of peachy goodness. Just keep your paws off it until the AM. Then feel free to eat half of it for breakfast.

Baltimore Peach Cake
Adapted from Urbanite magazine
(makes one 9-inch cake)

½ cup all purpose flour
5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 package (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
½ cup hot water
1 egg
¾ cup flour
3-4 medium peaches, cut into 8 slices (quarter peaches, cut each piece in half lengthwise)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
A few shakes of cinnamon (a little less than ¼ teaspoon)
1/3 cup apricot or raspberry jam (or a combination of the two)


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, salt and yeast. Add the butter and mix on medium speed (either a stand mixer or handheld mixer) for a few minutes until the butter is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the water. Increase speed to medium and mix for a minute or so.

Add the egg and flour. Start the mixer at low and gradually increase to high. Mix for two minutes. The batter will be thick and soft.

Grease a 9” cake pan with butter. Pour the batter into the pan; use a spatula to get all the batter out of the bowl and to spread it around the pan.

Arrange the peach slices into the batter, pressing them in as you go. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the peaches. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and leave the pan in a warm place for 1 hour to allow the batter to rise.
After 40 minutes, heat an oven to 400° F.
Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 23-25 minutes. (A knife will not come out clean. Ignore it. Remove the cake anyway. It will cook a little more when you take it out of the oven.)

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert the cake and transfer it to a serving plate.  Heat the jam in a small microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute on high power. Stir well and spoon the melted jam over the cake.
After the jam has cooled and set, cover the cake with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight (room temp is fine). This next step is important: resist the urge to eat it, as it will definitely taste better in the morning.


Unknown said...

Looks tasty...where's my piece?

kristen said...

that looks yummy AND easy.

but i would totally eat the whole thing - complaining the whole time - before it sat long enough...

what was that indian saying for that lack of patience thing that you and i share???

Rachel said...

Yum. My grandpop loves peach cake. I've never seen it round before.

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roopa said...

kristen - i ate about a quarter of it before i wrapped it up for the night, all the while complaining that it wasn't just right. and then i proceeded to eat more of it in the morning because it was even better.

and i have no idea how to write in english that tamil phrase my mom calls me.

xiao zhu said...

I love Bmore peach cake! I'd never had anything like it before. I've made it with canned peaches before too, and it was ok, but this looks great!

K8teebug said...

Being from Baltimore, I grew up with this cake. I love it. Thanks so much for the recipe!

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