This cake is a delicious play on the traditional upside down cake. With a moist cake layer and a topping of gooey caramel and sweet peaches, this Caramel Peach Upside Down Cake is sure to be a hit!
This Caramel Peach Upside Down Cake can be made using fresh or frozen peaches, making it suitable any time of year. Serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream and you've got one tasty dessert!
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How to Make an Upside Down Cake
Typically, upside down cakes are made with canned pineapple cut into rings with maraschino cherries in their centers. The cake is made upside down, with a brown sugar glaze poured into the bottom of a pan, pineapples and cherries added, then the cake batter is poured on top.
Once the cake is baked, it's flipped upside down so the pineapples, cherries and glaze are now on top. This is one of those classic American cakes that can be used as a base for loads of flavor and fruit variations.
With this version, we use fresh peaches (frozen may also be used) and instead of a brown sugar glaze, we pair those juicy peaches with a rich brown sugar caramel. This flavor combo works so well together
If you have leftover peaches and want to learn about how to blanch them and then freeze them, read my how to blanch peaches tutorial.
Achieving a Moist cake that's not overly dense
The cake is moist but not dense. This is thanks to a combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour.
Cake flour has less protein than all-purpose, keeping the cake light in density with a fine crumb. All-purpose is needed to give the cake structure, therefore, equal amounts of both flours are used here.
If you do not have cake flour or cannot find it in the store, all-purpose flour can be substituted in equal amounts. The cake may be a bit more dense, however, it'll still taste fantastic.
Cake flour can also be substituted with 1 cup all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons removed and replaced with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk together to evenly incorporate and use as instructed.
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Looking for more summer cake recipes? Give these a try:
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- 1 pound peaches fresh or frozen slices, about 2 large
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar packed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cake flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Halve and pit the peaches, but leave their skins on. Cut each half into 3 wedges. If using frozen sliced peaches, do not defrost. Set aside
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper and brush the paper with butter. Set aside
Prepare the Caramel
- In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns an amber caramel color, about 3-4 minutes. Be careful the sugar doesn’t burn. If it starts to smoke, remove it from the heat. Turn off the heat and pour in the heavy cream, being careful as it may splatter. Stir well. Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan and set aside to cool for a few minutes
- Arrange the peach wedges in concentric circles in the pan, on top of the caramel, placing them close together, as they’ll shrink once baked. Set aside while you make the cake batter
Prepare the Cake
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth, about 1 minute more. With the mixer off, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula
- With the mixer on low speed, add in ⅓ of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated, about 15-30 seconds. Combine the milk and oil and add half to the batter, mixing until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add another ⅓ of the flour mixture, mixing again for about 15-30 seconds, followed by the remaining milk/oil. Add the remaining flour and mix until completely smooth, about 30 seconds more, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl at least once to ensure all of the batter is evenly incorporated
- Pour the cake batter over top the fruit and caramel, making sure it is evenly distributed. Smooth with a spatula
- Place the cake pan on a baking sheet to catch any spillover, as the fruit and caramel tend to bubble up while baking. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
- Remove the cake from the baking sheet and place it on a cooling rack. Let the cake cool for just a minute, until the fruit stops bubbling. Place a cake plate (or cutting board) over the cake and, using oven mitts, carefully flip the cake over. Gently remove the cake pan and parchment, if it’s stuck to the cake.
- Using a fork, rearrange any peaches that may be out of place or have fallen off the sides. Let the cake cool until still warm but not hot. Serve warm with whipped cream
- To store, wrap carefully in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature
- Cake flour can also be substituted with 1 cup all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons removed and replaced with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk together to evenly incorporate and use as instructed
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I made every possible mistake (caramel separating, batter seizing, pan overcooking) and this still came out great! Be sure to watch your caramel closely and don’t stop stirring until the sugar dissolves. I added a couple tablespoons of hot water when mine started to separate, and it came back together. After cooking, you’d never know the sauce had flopped at first. The cake was super moist and rich, like a pound cake without being stirred together. Such a tasty summer treat!
Great tips! I'm sorry so much went wrong, but so glad it worked out well anyway! This is a great end of summer recipe for using all those peaches 🍑