I went from vegetable obsessed to cake obsessed in a matter of hours. Last week I was on a war path to clear out my produce drawer, one second later I was dreaming of cake. And not the frosted, for-that-special-occasion, perfect looking type. I wanted informal cake. Happy cake that you whip together and bring to a potluck. A summery dessert that is packed with fruit, mixed by hand, served in squares from a 9×13 pan. I wanted blueberries, cherries, raspberries or stone fruits. And not any cake or pie or buckle or crisp. I wanted it all and I wanted it all in one cake.
So what’s a girl to do when she wants her dream cake but can’t find the recipe. I consulted the experts, did some research and found the perfect formula. This cake is 50% coffee cake, 30% dessert bar, 20% fruit crisp. And let me tell you, some very exact math went into these calculations. The batter, which makes up the majority of the cake, is spiced, light and buttery. The fruit layer on the bottom is similar to what you’d find under a crisp or pie crust. There is juicy, sweet, soft peaches in every bite. The moment where cake meet caramelized fruit and melty crumb topping is most certainly buckle or fruit bar-esqe. Perfect to take to a barbecue, perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, and perfectly shared in the office lunch room. It’s my all day, all occasion cake.
We start this cake with classic coffee cake flavors. Warm baking spices, flour and the regular contenders get all mixed up together. We also dice up the peaches and get them ready. If you’re like me then you’ll steal a couple bites for yourself.
Next we get the wet ingredients going and pour them into the dry ingredients. They get all mixed together and our batter is ready to go. We microwave a quick caramelization sauce for the peaches and make sure our pan is thoroughly coated in butter then flour. This is important because the layer of the peaches at the bottom will want to stick.
The last step is layering the cake. This batter needs to be scooped and spread not poured. We put a layer of batter on the bottom of the pan so it will rise slightly as it cooks and hold the peaches and cake together. We could skip this step (and it will taste just fine) but we’d have to spoon our cake into a bowl to serve it instead of serving it in neat little squares. I learned this from experience during the first attempt at this cake. The rest of the batter is scooped on and we top it off with the crumble topping.
Peach All Day, All Occasion Cake
extensively modified from Pear Crumble Coffee Cake by Joy the Baker
For the batter:
2 1/2 cups all- purpose flour (320 grams)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
1/2 cup light brown sugar (110 grams)
1/2 cup butter (110 grams)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the quick caramelized peaches:
1/4 cup light brown sugar (55 grams)
1/4 cup butter (55 grams)
4 peaches, diced into 1 inch-2 inch pieces
For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour (128 grams)
1/4 cup light brown sugar (55 grams)
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted (55 grams)
Special Equipment Needed: None
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Butter and flour a 9×13 pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the sugars and stir to combine. Set aside.
Melt the butter in the microwave. Let it cool slightly before adding the other wet ingredients or they could curdle. Whisk in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until fully incorporated.
For the quickly caramelized peaches, place the butter and brown sugar in the microwave. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. Pour over the peaches and stir to distribute.
Take between 1/4-1/2 of the batter and spoon it onto the bottom of the pan. Using the back of the spoon gently spread it until the bottom of the pan is nearly covered. Try not to scrape away the buttered/floured bottom while doing this. Layer the peaches evenly over the batter. Finally, gently spoon the remaining batter on top trying not to disturb the peaches and batter below. If the peaches are not fully covered, that is ok.
Mix together all the ingredients for the crumb topping. Break apart with your fingers as you sprinkle it over the top. If this is difficult freezing the crumb for a couple minutes will help.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve.