Hopefully, you enjoyed our previous segment on adding smoke flavor to seasonal peaches. We sure have had fun providing you with different techniques to add the natural flavor of wood. Now is the fun part where you take those smoked fruit pieces and turn them into something great.
I’m going to introduce you to a super flavorful and balanced peach cake done in the style of the traditional pineapple upside down cake — only with peaches! For this recipe you’ll need three peaches but don’t waste the perfect time to do some extras so you can make all our great smoked peach recipes.
Be sure you follow our posting on how to smoke peaches on a grill with wood or on a traditional smoker. Our cake recipe starts with 3 tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter and coat a cast iron skillet with it. Be sure to get the butter up the sides of the pan as this will be the non-stick guarantee for removing the cake. Place a ¼ cup of sugar evenly on the bottom of the pan and allow to brown for about 3 minutes. While the sugar is browning, slice the peach halves into ¾-inch thick slices. Once the butter/sugar mixture is ready, arrange the peaches around the edge of the pan on top of the sugar. Then fill the center of the pan with the remaining peach slices. Cook just for a few minutes until the peaches are sweetened by the butter and sugar mixture. Remove the skillet from the heat. Now, time to prepare the cake batter.
Tasting Notes: Keep in mind, we will be cooking the cake on the grill which means you must use a high heat tolerant cookware. Cast iron is ideal for this purpose but feel free to use another piece of cookware that will tolerate a grill or smokers heat.
Upside Down Cake Batter
The cake batter starts with the dry ingredients. You’ll need a medium bowl for these ingredients. Start by whisking 1 cup of coarse yellow cornmeal with ¾ cup all-purpose flour. Keep in mind, you can use polenta if you prefer. Add 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh lavender or 1–1/2 teaspoons of dried lavender, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. Next, we’ll work on the wet ingredients for our batter.
It’s important to mix the wet ingredients separate from the dry to ensure each ingredient is mixed well. Start by getting a large bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of softened butter and ¾ cup sugar to the bowl. With a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Get 3 large eggs and add one egg to the batter at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter will slowly become thinner. Mix in ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ cup heavy cream. Now, taking the medium bowl of cornmeal mixture, add ½ the dry cornmeal mixture to the large bowl of wet ingredients. Be sure to use a low setting on the mixer and scrap down the sides of the bowl to get a complete mix. With the batter ready, we’ll be adding batter to our cast iron pan loaded with peaches.
A Beautiful Finish
What’s great about making cakes in a cast iron pan is generally, the batter is dropped into the pan rather than poured. Using a large spoon, drop the prepared batter over the peaches and spread with a spatula. Time to add flavor to the entire cake by cooking it on the grill with wood chunks in a smoker box.
Cook until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean; this should be 20–25 minutes with a steady grill temperature of 350°F. Transfer the skillet to a wire rack and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around the edge of the cake and invert onto a serving platter. Tap the bottom of the skillet to release the cake and remove the skillet slowly. Let cool slightly, then serve.
Although this is a sweet cake, I like to add a bit of unsweetened freshly whipped heavy cream. Feel free to change the fruit in the cake to something else that is in season like plums, strawberries, blueberries — you get the picture. For all you camp cooking lovers, this is one to try at the camp as well. Just gather some hot coals and place your cast iron near those coals and you’re on your way!
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