Confession: my greatest Wisconsin farmers market purchase this summer to date was a bag of Georgia peaches. I walked home with four pounds, and the ones I didn’t devour met their exquisite end in the form of Peach Upside Down Cake with raspberries.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure to experience a Georgia peach truck, it’s exactly what its name suggests: a truck that delivers fresh Georgia peaches that are only a few days off the trees to areas that do not grow them as easily (i.e. Wisconsin).
Different companies serve different parts of the country, and the trucks have actual tour schedules where you can meet the driver and purchase your bounty (this is one that serves Wisconsin).
I’d heard rumors of “The Peach Truck” in the past but hadn’t seen it in action until that week at the farmers market.
Yes, I realize it’s a bit counterproductive to buy decidedly non-local peaches at a spot whose very purpose is to promote local purchases, but the peaches were too outrageously delicious for me to fuss over semantics.
Plus, I bought some locally produced vanilla ice cream to accompany the peaches, so I’m feeling absolved.
After inhaling the first pound (FINE, two pounds) of peaches and giving away the third, I was faced with a very ripe, very ready-to-be-baked-with fourth pound.
I debated a few different peach dessert options, but after my grammy told me about an upside down cake that had received rave reviews from her church group, I couldn’t get the retro dessert out of my head.
Classic upside down cake recipes typically call for canned pineapple, jarred maraschino cherries, and boxed cake mix. It’s the 1950s at its finest, in a homey, comforting way.
My perfect peaches, however, deserved more than a mix.
I wanted a real-deal, from-scratch Peach Upside Down Cake, made with whole-food ingredients.
I did my research, headed into my kitchen, and what emerged from my oven turned out to be one of the best summer desserts I’ve ever baked!
The Lowdown on Peach Upside Down Cake
This supremely fluffy, marvelously moist peach cake is made with whole wheat flour, primarily sweetened naturally with honey and coconut sugar, and almond milk.
This easy Peach Upside Down Cake begins with a five-minute caramel that’s made by melting coconut sugar and butter together on the stove. No tricks or candy thermometer required.
Melt, stir, DONE. Spread the thick, glossy sauce into the bottom of a round cake pan, then create your fruit mosaic on top.
I had a lot of fun playing with my design, but there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
You can even vary the fruit! I adored the pairing of peaches and raspberries (my summer upgrade to replace the maraschinos), but any summer stone fruit or berry is sure to taste divine.
- Peach Upside Down Cake with Frozen Peaches. I tested the recipe this way also, and it was delightful. Frozen sliced peaches are a great option if you don’t have access to good-quality fresh peaches at the time you are baking the upside down cake, or if you are in a rush and don’t want to fuss with slicing and peeling fresh peaches.
- To Make Dairy Free. Swap the butter for a vegan buttery spread in the same amount. No other changes needed.
My final tip to Peach Upside Down Cake success: patience. Do not rush the unmolding. This moist peach cake is going to smell like sweet summer heaven, and I know you are going to want to reveal (and subsequently faceplant into) your masterpiece the moment it exits the oven, but please PLEASE follow the directions and let it rest first.
Your patience will be rewarded with a clean lift and pretty design.
And if the worst should happen and part of the cake does stick to the pan? Slide that fruit right back on top and cover the entire thing in powdered sugar…and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Problem solved.
Recommended Tools to Make This Cake
- Favorite 9-inch round cake pan
- Offset spatula (ideal for spreading batter into an even layer in the pan and frosting cakes too)
Peach Upside Down Cake with Raspberries
FOR THE TOPPING:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter*
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar packed (or substitute light or dark brown sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 large ripe peaches peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch slices, or 1 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened sliced peaches, left frozen
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
FOR THE CAKE:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter*
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder I recommend aluminum free
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or substitute white whole wheat flour or additional all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond milk or milk of choice
- 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray.
- Make the topping: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium low. Add the coconut sugar and ginger and stir until smooth and the butter is incorporated with the sugar, about 2 to 3 minutes. The batter will be very thick, like melted caramel. Remove from heat. If the butter separates from the sugar as it cools, simply stir it back together (a little separation is OK). Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, then spread it in a thin, even layer, stretching all the way to the edges of the pan. I found it worked best to use the back of a spoon, then once the caramel was cool enough, gently press it with my fingers. Arrange the peaches and raspberries in a single layer on top of the caramel.
- To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, until smooth and creamy. Beat in the honey, egg, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla until completely combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer running on medium speed, gradually add the whole wheat pastry flour, then the almondmilk, then the all-purpose flour, incorporating completely between additions and stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Once the last of the flour is added, mix very briefly, just until smooth. Do not overbeat. The batter will be very thick.
- Spoon the batter on top of the fruit in the pan, spreading it to the pan’s edges. The cake will seem thin but will rise as it bakes. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake will spring back lightly when touched. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the cake’s edge to loosen it from the pan, then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Let the pan rest upside down on the plate for 1 minute, then gently lift the pan away. Let cool on the plate 10 additional minutes. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
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