Peach Cake (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
The cooks at America’s Test Kitchen maintain that peaches these days do not have the flavor they once had. They need a flavor boost. Though I agree with them, I did not want to buy a whole bottle of peach schnapps. I would never bake enough peach cakes to finish it. So I substituted peach flavoring for the schnapps. And I substituted yogurt for the sour cream. The cake came out moist and tender, dense with fruit and a delicate scent of peach that lingered even after baking.
2 1/2 pounds peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch-thick wedges
2 1/2 teaspoons peach flavoring
4 teaspoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek style yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, finely crushed in a food processor
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. In a small bowl, gently toss 24 peach wedges with 1 teaspoon peach flavoring, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; set aside.
2. Cut remaining peach wedges crosswise into thirds. In a medium bowl, gently toss chunks with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons peach flavoring, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Spread peach chunks in single layer on prepared sheet and bake until exuded juices begin to thicken and caramelize at edges of sheet, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let peaches cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Cake Baker’s Note: If using a pan with a dark non-stick finish, reduce the heat to 325˚F.
3. Brush a 9-inch spring form pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter mixed with a tablespoon flour. Whisk a cup of flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and eggs together in second bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add yogurt, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture all at once and whisk until just combined. Be careful not to over mix!
4. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle crushed breadcrumbs evenly over cooled peach chunks and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach chunks on batter in even layer, gently pressing peaches into batter. Gently spread remaining batter over peach chunks and smooth top. Arrange reserved peach wedges, slightly overlapped, in a ring over the surface of cake, placing smaller wedges in center.
Cake Baker’s Note: Don’t worry if the batter seems a little skimpy for the amount of peaches. It will rise on baking and fill in the spaces.
Stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and remaining 1/8 teaspoon almond extract in small bowl until sugar is moistened. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake.
Cake Baker’s Note: I left out the sugar topping on the peaches. Didn’t need it, didn’t miss it!
5. Bake until center of cake is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
Cake Baker’s Note: If using a pan with a dark nonstick finish, check to see if the cake is done after 45 minutes.