You know it's the end of summer when the peaches start disappearing. And it seemed like such a travesty that I had only made one peach dish that I decided to make another one with the very last of the California crop. After this, only rock hard tasteless paste will be found in the grocery store masquerading as peaches.
So, this is pretty different. Almost sweet and salty. I really like the sweet almost-cornbread with the caramelized brown sugar peaches. It really kinda does it for me. And the herbes de Provence add this interesting background note that really makes you wonder. I doubt I could have nailed it if I hadn't have put it in myself. You could certainly substitute lavender for the herbes if you like, but I'm kinda partial to the almost savory flavor it gives the cake.
Peach Cornmeal Upside Down Cake
Loosely adapted from Martha Stewart
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2-3 ripe peaches, unpeeled
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup canola oil
½ cup half and half or whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Melt the butter in a small pan and cook over medium-low heat until the butter stops foaming and browns. Pour the browned butter into a 9-inch round cake pan. Tip the pan so that the butter coats the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the dark brown sugar evenly over the butter.
Slice the peaches into wedges about a ½-inch thick. Lay the peach slices around the bottom of the pan in a ring, with a couple of slices laid in the center. Set aside.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sea salt, herbes de Provence, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, canola oil, and half and half. Mix just until well combined. Pour over the peaches in the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly over the top.
Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let rest for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving dish. Reposition peach slices if necessary. Let cool slightly before serving.
Makes 8 servings