Upside Down Peach Cake

Peaches are one of my favorite fruit, but only when they are perfectly ripe at the end of summer. This is a perfect end of summer cake that uses peaches, but lets them shine by glazing them at the bottom of a dense and moist cake, which when inverted shows off the beautiful summer fruit.

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Beautiful Peaches

This upside down peach cake is so pretty and all the credit goes to the peaches. Peaches truly are a thing of beauty – their fuzzy skin protecting the perfect yellow (or white) flesh that surrounds a jagged pit. I love the touch of crimson that is left in the center of the peach when the pit is removed, contrasting with the yellow flesh and allowing pretty designs to be made in pies, tarts and cakes. It’s really that crimson marking that lets us all immediately identify a slice of peach as a peach (and not a piece of mango or other fruit). Stop for a moment to admire the peach.

How to Peel Peaches

Ok, on to the recipe… The first thing you need to do to make this delicious upside down peach cake is to remove that fuzzy skin. While the skin is somewhat adorable when eating a slice of peach, it’s not nice to find a fuzzy peach skin in your teeth when you’re enjoying a piece of cake. So, to remove this skin without removing too much of the flesh along with it, you score the bottom of the peach, blanch it in boiling water and then shock it in ice water. This procedure is the same as that to remove the peel from a tomato. You can see this step by step process and read more about peaches in the cooking school here. Once you’ve shocked the peach and the peel has come off nicely, slice around the inner pit with your knife and twist the two halves of the peach in opposite directions. If you have a nice ripe freestone peach, the two halves should come apart easily. (Freestone peaches are available June through August, whereas clingstone peaches are earlier in the season, available from May to June.) Slice the peaches and then arrange them in a pretty design on the bottom of your cake pan, on top of the butter and sugar.

A cake pan on a countertop with slices of peach in the bottom.

How to Make Upside Down Cake

There is nothing unusual about making this cake batter. Make sure to cream the butter and sugar sufficiently. Creaming is always the most important step in making any cake batter and you can ready why and how to do it here. Don’t underestimate how long it will take – it should be at least 5 minutes of electric mixing – and remember that it’s much easier to cream room temperature butter. If your butter is rock hard out of the fridge, put it somewhere warm in your kitchen and pour yourself a cup of coffee. Go read a book or magazine article for an hour and only then come back to make this cake. Once the butter and sugar have been creamed, all the wet ingredients get beaten in. The dry ingredients are combined separately and then you marry the dry and wet ingredients, making sure to mix only until everything is incorporated and no more. Over-mixing the cake batter will make it tougher and chewier.

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Upside down peach cake on a white platter with a pie server and a blue and tan towel.

Un-molding Upside Down Cake

Un-molding the cake can be a moment of great excitement (or trepidation). Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake and then invert the pan onto a serving platter. Holding them tightly together, give the platter and pan and good, sudden shake down together (as though you were shaking the shampoo bottle upside down to make the shampoo head down towards opening) and then lift the pan from the platter. The weight of the peaches should let them fall away from the pan with the cake, but should one or two slices stick in the pan do not panic. Just remove them with your fingers and place them back on top of the cake where they belong.

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A piece of peach cake on a plate with a scoop of ice cream, with the whole cake behind it.

How to Store Leftovers

While I highly doubt there will be any leftover (unless you are making this cake for just yourself, and even then… no judgement if you finish it all on your own), store the remaining upside down peach cake in the refrigerator, but make sure to let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes or so before serving round two.

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
All About Peaches

Peaches are such a delicious summer stone fruit. Here's all you need to know about when they are in season,...View Technique

How to Cream Butter and Sugar

Creaming the butter is one of the most important steps in home baking. Learn why you should be paying attention...View Technique

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Upside Down Peach Cake

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 50 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 20 m
  • Servings:
    10

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups fresh peaches peeled and sliced (about 3 to 4 peaches)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • cup sour cream
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF
  2. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2½-inches deep and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top. Layer the peaches around the bottom of the pan, letting them overlap slightly. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to allow the butter to harden again.

  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light yellow in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each new addition. Stir in the milk and sour cream and mix until the batter is smooth. Finally, stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredient to the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined – do not over-mix. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan, on top of the peaches. Transfer the cake pan to the oven.
  5. Bake at 350ºF for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake in the pan. Unmold the cake by inverting the cake pan over a serving plate and gently lifting the cake pan away from the cake. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
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Comments (9)Post a Reply

  1. Yum looks good. Do you think I could use an 8inch square pan? And what about fruit…nectarines, plums?
    Thanjs for your reply. 🦋

    1. Hi PattiAnn. Yes, you can substitute an 8-inch square pan instead of the 9-inch round pan, as long as it is 2½-inches deep as per the recipe. The time and temperature should stay the same. And, yes, you can also substitute nectarines or plums instead of the peaches. Go for it! 🙂 ML

    1. Hi Karen. You don’t want to use a springform pan for this recipe because the butter and sugar mixture on the bottom could leak out while baking. You want it to caramelize and coat the peaches when you invert the pan.

  2. 4 stars
    I love peach upside cake and it usually comes out great, but for some reason, in your recipe, ‘batter’ came out like biscuit dough. I’m real careful about measuring and I’ve never had this happen before. Is that how it’s supposed to turn out? (In oven now, so we’ll see)

    1. The batter is a little thicker than regular cake batter, more like a quick bread or pound cake but I wouldn’t say it should be like a biscuit dough. It is a moist and dense cake. I hope it turned out well and you enjoyed the cake!

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