By Rose McAvoy
Peaches and cardamom are one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. In my humble opinion, cardamom is under-appreciated in western cooking. Cooking with peaches (or nectarines for that matter) and not sprinkling in a dash of this aromatic spice is leaving a huge flavor opportunity on the table.
We took this cake to a potluck a few weeks ago and it was a huge hit especially among the young attendees. Such a huge hit, in fact, that our family didn’t get to have a slice. The Little Helping was visibly distressed to find out he had to leave the party cake-less. Even though I didn’t think we needed an entire cake in our house I promised to bake a second one the next day. Round two of baking provided a chance to double check my adjustments to the original recipe and the inspiration to share it with you!
The density of this cake lands it somewhere between a coffee cake and a dessert cake. As far as I’m concerned that means you may feel free to enjoy a slice at any time during the day — once. The cake will keep for a few days and, while I haven’t tested freezing and thawing a portion, I imagine it would do very nicely if you chose to wrap half for a future cake craving. It is also a lovely treat to share with friends, just be sure to keep a serving for yourself.
Cardamom Peach Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 40-50 minutes. Yield 8-10 slices.
2 medium fresh peaches, approximately 1/2 pound
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3/4 cup cane sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup low fat milk
Topping: 1 tablespoon cane sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Rinse, dry and slice the peaches into 1/2-inch wedges. Leave the skin on the peaches. You’ll need about 16 to 20 slices for this recipe. Set the slices aside.
Prepare a 9-inch cake pan by placing a circle of parchment in the bottom and lightly greasing the sides of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
Use an electric mixer to whip the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Should take about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the egg and continue whipping for another 1 to 2 minutes. You want the batter to fluff up and turn a smooth buttery yellow.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk. Begin with 1/3 of flour mixture and mix just enough to combine then add 1/2 of the milk again mixing just enough to combine. Continue adding the flour, milk, flour until the batter is an even texture and the dry ingredients are fulling incorporated. The batter will be quite thick.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top so it is roughly even, it can be a little lumpy bumpy.
Poke the peach slices, skin side up, part way into the batter. Leave about half an inch of peach standing above the top of the batter. Finish by sprinkling the mixture of sugar and cinnamon over the top of the cake.
Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes. Check to see if the cake is done after 40 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out sticky continue baking for 5 to 10 additional minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake to sit in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring the cake to a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving, several hours if possible.
Approximate nutrition per 1/10 serving: 216 calories, 8 g fat, 34 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3.2 g protein, PP = 6