We have biked every day this week: Stampede, swimming lessons every day, Stampede breakfasts. It’s been busy and wet (for Calgary), but refreshing and everything is greening up beautifully. Today it really, really rained just as a Stampede breakfast was wrapping up, then we raced home during a short reprieve, only to get soaked while putting the bikes away! We got inside and our littlest said, “Cake?” Um, okay!
My one use of the car this week was to go to the Calgary Farmer’s Market as we just don’t really have a pleasant, nor safe, route there yet, unless we want to go about it in a very roundabout way. Plus, there ain’t enough room on the bike for me, two kids, and allllllllll the fruit! Blueberries were on sale this week! Mangoes are still abundant and succulent. And, we snagged out first small box of peaches!
I made cake for the first time in eons some time last week, inspired by the Whitewater Cooks at Home cookbook and their delectable Summer Cake with Nectarines. But, I played around with it and used apricots and felt like upside down cake and cardamom and, and, and! And, we really enjoyed it. So, I changed things even more and mixed up a slightly different cake batter – reminiscent of pound cake – and made it very Canadian with scads of rich Grade B maple syrup that we got this spring in 4 L jugs, all the way from Ontario. I think the only thing that I couldn’t let go from that recipe was the addition of cornmeal – I just really like the texture contrast.
The peaches aren’t the most spectacular just yet, so the maple syrupy goodness is a welcome sweet, warmed with a bunch a cardamom and a lingering heat provided by some freshly ground black pepper. The cake is appropriately simple and lets the fruit topping do the talking. If you don’t believe me, keep your eyes peeled for 5 or so decent peaches and try this cake the next rainy day we have… It is delicious served warm or cold. It would be sinfully good with some Village Vanilla ice cream from our local ice creamery.
Peach Maple Cardamom Upside Down Skillet Cake
Time: 60 mins
Maple syrupy peach goodness, warmed with cardmom and a lingering heat of black pepper, filled out with a simple, moist cake.
Very loosely inspired by Shelley Adams’s Summer Cake with Nectarines from Whitewater Cooks at Home (2009)
- 1 T butter
- 2/3 c maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp green cardamom, ground
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 5 peaches, sliced
- 1 T butter, to add at the end of making the fruit topping
- 1/2 c butter, room temperature
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 c buttermilk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 c barley flour or unbleached flour
- 3/4 c unbleached flour
- 1/4 c cornmeal
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Melt 1 T butter in a 12″ cast iron skillet.
- Add maple syrup, spices, and peaches and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken and when you stir the pan appears dry for a little bit. About 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the cake batter by creaming together butter and sugar for 3 minutes.
- Mix in vanilla, then slowly add the eggs to incorporate and continue to mix until well blended.
- Add the buttermilk and blend again.
- In a separate, small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing slowly until just mixed.
- Add the remaining 1 T butter to the fruit and mix well to melt. This extra bit of butter at the end helps to make sure the fruit comes off in one feel swoop.
- Spoon the batter in small blobs on top of the fruit. Using a table spoon works best as the batter is tricky to spread with the fruit underneath if you do big, taller blobs. Don’t fret about complete coverage; it’s nice to have some maple syrup oozing, in my opinion!
- Bake about 30 minutes, check after 25.
- Immediately run a spatula around the circumference of the cake, to loosen. Then turn the cake upside down by placing a plate on top of the skillet and turning both over together. Place an oven mitt or similar on the bottom of the skillet and tap. Gently try to lift the handle of the skillet and if it feels lighter, proceed, if not do a little more tapping.
- Enjoy now or let cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.
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