A few days ago I was eating at a local restaurant, Publick House in Mountainside, and my friend Maria and I ordered the Nectarine Tarte Tartin for dessert. I think it was the first time I've ever seen a nectarine dessert on a menu- it's pretty underrated as a fruit. Well, one bite in and I was blown away. I was determined to use it as an inspiration- and that's where this recipe was born. I chose peaches because that's what I had access to, but you can very easily substitute nectarines. The most important part of balancing the flavors in this dessert is to utilize high quality vanilla and cinnamon. As you can see from my photograph of ingredients that I used, I chose a vanilla bean paste. If you've never worked with it before I highly recommend trying it- it's basically a suspension of vanilla beans and the ratio is 1:1 of extract to paste in a recipe. In the picture above I served this cake with fresh cinnamon ice cream, but this would also pair great with vanilla.
As always, start by gathering up your ingredients. You want to make sure that you use peaches that are ripe so they split easily, but not too ripe that they get mushy when you try to remove the pit. It's a fine balance. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your 9 inch springform pan.
Start by preparing your caramel topping. Combine 4 Tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Bring to the point where there is a light bubbling throughout the mixture as you can see in the picture above. Reduce the heat to low, and stir continuously until it comes to a deep, golden color. Pour into the bottom of the cake pan and place to the side.
Cut the peaches (or nectarines) in half and remove the pit- slice in half again so that you have a full round about a half inch thick. Lay them around the cake pan uniformly- as you can see I had one piece that didn't fit, so I just ate it!
In a small bowl on the side mix together the flour. baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar using a paddle attachment. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, eggs and butter. You will need to do this on medium-high speed so that it will fully combine. Once that is complete, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter will be thick.
Spoon the batter over the peaches, and using an spread evenly. I find that this is easiest with a firm metal spatula, like an icing spatula. But you can use whatever you have. Place in the oven and bake for 33-35 minutes, until done.
Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, then use a knife to ensure there is no sticking between the cake and the side of the pan. Gently release the ring of the spring form pan, then carefully turn the cake out onto a cake plate. Serve with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream and enjoy!
Caramelized Peach Upside-Down Cake
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ Tablespoon baking soda
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup butter, softened
3 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons salted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9in springform cake pan.
2. For the caramel topping, place the butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and melt. Bring to the point where there is a light bubbling throughout the mixture. Reduce the heat to low and while continuously stirring allow it to come to a deep, golden color. Pour into the bottom of the cake pan.
3. Halve the peaches to remove the pit. Slice each peach halve in half again so the you have a full round about ½ inch thick. Lay peaches on top of the caramel mixture evenly. Some overlap is ok.
4. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the brown sugar and butter using a paddle attachment. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and eggs and mix on medium-high until combined. Add in the dry ingredients until just combined.
5. Spoon batter (it will be thick) over the peaches and gently spread to cover evenly. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 27-30 minutes until everything is a nice golden brown and fully baked.
6. Place springform pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 3 minutes before releasing cake from pan and flipping over onto a cake serving plate. Serve with cinnamon ice cream and enjoy!