Dessert: Peach Cake with Cinnamon Sugar Walnut Topping

Peach Cake with Cinnamon Sugar Walnut Topping
Spring seems to be having an identity crisis. For the past month, temperatures across the country have been feeling a lot like early summer -- 88 degrees in Boston?! -- but a trip to my local Farmers market doesn't match up. Weaving through the aisles of produce stands reveals spring's typical bounty of  oranges, artichokes, asparagus and even strawberries, but there's not a hint of summer's harvest. Mother Nature has pulled a cruel bait and switch; it feels like June but the plump cherries, juicy plums and fuzzy peaches are nowhere to be found!

No matter. I've got a peach cake recipe that I'm going to make, summer or not. I'm so intent on making it not just because of the peaches, but because of these four words: cinnamon-sugar walnut topping. Mmmm-mmm. A quick trip to my grocer's freezer section provides a solution to this seasonal setback. I grab sliced peaches that are picked at their peak and flash-frozen, sealing in the fruit's sweetness and gorgeous jewel tones. The rest of the ingredients are in my pantry at home and probably in yours, too! Nothing exotic, just a delicious combination of butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon and walnut pieces. Add the peaches and you've got an amazing dessert that will make your kitchen smell like peach cobbler mixed with cinnamon-sugar toast. A perfect ending to any meal, whether it's spring, summer, winter or fall! 

Peach Cake with Cinnamon-Sugar Walnut Topping
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's cookbook, "How Easy is That?"
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (sliced frozen peaches will work if fresh peaches are out of season)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Vanilla bean ice cream, for serving
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla bean ice cream.


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