A Peach of Summer Blues

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

If I could only make one dessert all summer, I think it would be this one. It’s a self-decorating, fruit-topped, tender cake that seems to pull together most of what’s best about the season: summer-ripe peaches, fresh plump blueberries, and a bit of homey cornmeal flavor. It can even be served warm, so you don’t have to wait on it very long. The fruit base, once unmolded, comes out on top, a striking contrast of colors and flavors. Serve a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and you’ll marvel at the easy elegance of this seasonal treat. It’s a real peach—just the thing for turning summer blues upside-down.

Blueberry-Peach

Upside-Down Cake

Topping

6 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 or 4 small peaches

2 cups fresh blueberries

Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine salt

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups buttermilk

Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Butter the pan and paper.

Make the topping by combining the butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until melted. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and tilt to spread the mixture evenly. Peel the peaches, if desired, and cut them into ½-inch slices. Place them cut-side down in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the blueberries over the top. The pan should be completely lined with a single layer of fruit. Set aside.

For the cake batter, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla. On low speed, add a third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture; next add half of the buttermilk, mixing well between additions. Add another third of the flour, then the rest of buttermilk, and finally the last of the flour. Stir together with a rubber spatula, assuring all the flour is incorporated and the batter is evenly mixed.

Spread the batter evenly over the fruit and then firmly tap the pan on the counter to help the batter settle, releasing any large air pockets. Bake the cake, rotating halfway through, until golden, puffed and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Remove the parchment from the top and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com