A Peach of a Pair
By Angela Denstad Stigeler
When testing this recipe, I had briefly considered dividing it in half. After all, I wasn’t sure I needed two peach cakes in one weekend. But as I always hate to halve an egg, I thought I’d better just follow instructions.
It was, in fact, for the best, seeing as the pieces (already quite generous) seemed to follow one another out of the pan in pairs. Not only did the enthusiastic requests for seconds assure me that the recipe was worthy of sharing, it also reminded me of a coffee cake recipe my own great-grandma used to make, sans the peaches but spread with sour cream. I think, while peaches are in season, I’ll pair up the two recipes for a doubly delicious treat. And as this is really more of a bread dough under wonderfully roasted fruit, it really could double as desert and breakfast—which explains why you really will need a pair of peach cakes. But you’ll be lucky if they last you two days!
Grandma’s Peach Cake
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm whole milk
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 large egg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 1/8 teaspoons (a 1/4-ounce envelope) instant yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
12 peaches, each cut into 1-inch wedges
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Combine the water, milk, salt, egg, 4 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 cup sugar in a mixer bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, beating until a sticky dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until a ball forms, 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Using some of the remaining butter, grease two 9-by-13-inch glass baking dishes. Divide the dough in half and stretch 1 portion to cover 1 dish. Repeat with the remaining dough and dish. Toss the peach slices with lemon juice. Arrange peaches on top of the dough (leaving juices in bowl), overlapping. Mix the cinnamon and remaining 1 cup sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the peaches and evenly top with the cinnamon sugar. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the cakes in the upper third of the oven, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted in the centers of the cakes comes out clean (bottom crusts will be golden brown), 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks. Cut each cake into 15 squares and serve. The cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living