The Perfect Use for Your Summer Peaches: Peach Upside-Down Cake

Beth Lipton, food director at sister brand Health magazine, says peaches are "the quintessential summer fruit, and they represent the season perfectly — they're sweet and fragrant and luscious, just like summer itself." So when Short Stack cookbooks wanted her to pick something super seasonal for a summer edition, she knew just wanted she wanted to do. Here, find her summer twist on a classic dessert: Peach Upside-Down Cake. Pick up Peaches on shortstackeditions.com for just $14.

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Take a tarte Tatin, mate it with a buttery cake and the resulting love child is this fancy-looking but simple dessert. The strong butter flavor and a little hint of ginger are a delicious setting for the slightly boozy, very brown sugary sautéed peaches. Except for a moment when you have to be a bit careful spreading the batter over the cooked peaches, this cake is ridiculously simple to make, but the result is very pretty. I think the cake tastes best warm, but it’s good the next day, too. Don’t forget the ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided, plus more for the pan1¼ cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon ground ginger½ teaspoon baking powder¼ teaspoon baking soda¼ teaspoon plus a pinch salt¾ cup packed dark brown sugar2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided3 tablespoons bourbon2 to 3 medium-ripe peaches (8 to 12 ounces)—peeled, pitted and sliced¾ cup granulated sugar2 large eggs, at room temperature½ cup buttermilk, at room temperatureIce cream or whipped cream, for serving

PreparationPlace a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Butter a 9-inch-round cake pan. In a bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk until well mixed and set aside.

Cut 4 tablespoons of butter into slices and place in a large skillet. Add the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, bourbon and a pinch of salt and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and the mixture is well combined. Add the peach slices and cook, gently stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and their liquid thickens, 7 to 9 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the peach slices and arrange them in circles in the bottom of the cake pan, beginning on the outside and moving into the middle of the pan, overlapping if necessary (you may not use all of the slices; save any extras for snacking or another use). Pour the remaining juices from the skillet over the peaches, taking care not to move them.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter with the granulated sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk and remaining teaspoon of vanilla, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

Using an offset spatula, gently spread the batter over the peaches, taking care not to move them too much. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden and bounces back when lightly pressed in the center. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife along the outer edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving dish. If any peach slices are stuck in the baking pan, carefully place them on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Peach Upside-Down Cake

Another wonderful summer treat to cook! This cake is fast, easy and perfect way to enjoy peaches in a dessert! If you think “pineapple” when you hear upside-down cake, it’s time to expand your horizons! Summer’s classic stone fruit is ideal in this cake&mdashor try it with plums, cherries, or apricots. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, be sure the skillet you use is ovenproof.


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

8 fresh peaches, pitted and halved

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup peeled chopped fresh peaches (about 2 medium)

To make the topping, melt the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and begins to caramelize. Remove the skillet from the heat and arrange the peaches, cut side down, in a circular pattern. Set aside.

To make the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, for 2–3 minutes, and then add the vanilla.

Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, on low speed until blended. Fold in the chopped peaches.

Spoon the batter over the peaches in the skillet. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

Run a knife around the inside edge of the skillet to loosen the cake. Set a serving plate over the skillet and, holding both together, carefully turn the plate and skillet upside down. Replace any fruit that sticks to the skillet. Serve right away!

Plum Upside-Down Cake: Replace the peaches in the topping with 10 unpeeled fresh plums and the peaches in the cake with 3 peeled fresh plums.

Cherry Upside-Down Cake: Replace the peaches in the topping with 1½ cups halved pitted fresh cherries, spreading them out to make a single layer. In the batter, replace the chopped peaches with 1 cup diced cherries.

Apricot Upside-Down Cake - I love it even more than the peach one!! Really delicious! Just replace the peaches in the topping with 10 unpeeled fresh apricots and the peaches in the cake with 3 peeled fresh apricots.

Upside Down Peach Cake

Peaches are one of my favorite fruit, but only when they are perfectly ripe at the end of summer. This is a perfect end of summer cake that uses peaches, but lets them shine by glazing them at the bottom of a dense and moist cake, which when inverted shows off the beautiful summer fruit.

Beautiful Peaches

This upside down peach cake is so pretty and all the credit goes to the peaches. Peaches truly are a thing of beauty – their fuzzy skin protecting the perfect yellow (or white) flesh that surrounds a jagged pit. I love the touch of crimson that is left in the center of the peach when the pit is removed, contrasting with the yellow flesh and allowing pretty designs to be made in pies, tarts and cakes. It’s really that crimson marking that lets us all immediately identify a slice of peach as a peach (and not a piece of mango or other fruit). Stop for a moment to admire the peach.

How to Peel Peaches

Ok, on to the recipe… The first thing you need to do to make this delicious upside down peach cake is to remove that fuzzy skin. While the skin is somewhat adorable when eating a slice of peach, it’s not nice to find a fuzzy peach skin in your teeth when you’re enjoying a piece of cake. So, to remove this skin without removing too much of the flesh along with it, you score the bottom of the peach, blanch it in boiling water and then shock it in ice water. This procedure is the same as that to remove the peel from a tomato. You can see this step by step process and read more about peaches in the cooking school here. Once you’ve shocked the peach and the peel has come off nicely, slice around the inner pit with your knife and twist the two halves of the peach in opposite directions. If you have a nice ripe freestone peach, the two halves should come apart easily. (Freestone peaches are available June through August, whereas clingstone peaches are earlier in the season, available from May to June.) Slice the peaches and then arrange them in a pretty design on the bottom of your cake pan, on top of the butter and sugar.

How to Make Upside Down Cake

There is nothing unusual about making this cake batter. Make sure to cream the butter and sugar sufficiently. Creaming is always the most important step in making any cake batter and you can ready why and how to do it here. Don’t underestimate how long it will take – it should be at least 5 minutes of electric mixing – and remember that it’s much easier to cream room temperature butter. If your butter is rock hard out of the fridge, put it somewhere warm in your kitchen and pour yourself a cup of coffee. Go read a book or magazine article for an hour and only then come back to make this cake. Once the butter and sugar have been creamed, all the wet ingredients get beaten in. The dry ingredients are combined separately and then you marry the dry and wet ingredients, making sure to mix only until everything is incorporated and no more. Over-mixing the cake batter will make it tougher and chewier.

Un-molding Upside Down Cake

Un-molding the cake can be a moment of great excitement (or trepidation). Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake and then invert the pan onto a serving platter. Holding them tightly together, give the platter and pan and good, sudden shake down together (as though you were shaking the shampoo bottle upside down to make the shampoo head down towards opening) and then lift the pan from the platter. The weight of the peaches should let them fall away from the pan with the cake, but should one or two slices stick in the pan do not panic. Just remove them with your fingers and place them back on top of the cake where they belong.

How to Store Leftovers

While I highly doubt there will be any leftover (unless you are making this cake for just yourself, and even then… no judgement if you finish it all on your own), store the remaining upside down peach cake in the refrigerator, but make sure to let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes or so before serving round two.

1. Grease the inside sides of the cake tin with a little butter, this will prevent the sides of the cake sticking to the tin.

Next, make the caramel, by melting the butter. You can either melt the butter in the microwave oven or melt it a small saucepan on the stove.

Remove the butter from the heat and add the brown sugar mixing well. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the tin

2. I used a 820 gram can of peach slices, which contains about 500 grams of peaches. Drain the peaches and use absorbent paper to pat dry. The peaches don’t need to be completely dry.

Arrange the peach slices decoratively over the top of the brown sugar and butter mixture.

Tip: When in season 500 grams of fresh peaches with skin on can be used.

3. To make the cake batter, all the ingredients should be at room temperature. So, remove the cold ingredients from the fridge about 30 minutes to one hour before using. Place all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

4. Use an electric mixer and mix for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture looks light in colour and is lump free.

If you don’t have and electric mixer, use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture until the batter looks light and creamy.

  1. The cake batter is quite thick so, use a spoon to drop the batter all over the peaches.
  2. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the batter.

  1. Bake the cake in a preheated oven for about 30 – 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  2. Remove the peach upside down cake from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack or serving plate.
  3. This cake is best eaten hot or warm on the day it was made.

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How to peel peaches:

Heat water to boiling in a large pot. Use a knife to make an X cut on the bottom of each peach and set aside. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath (fill with water and some ice cubes). When the water comes to a boil, work in batches to put a few peaches in the boiling water for 45 to 60 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the boiling water and put them in the ice bath, and allow to cool completely. Where the X was made, you can see the skin pulling away from the peach. Repeat until you’ve boiled all the peaches you need.

When cool enough to handle, hold a peach in your hand and rub the skin with your fingers to remove the peach skin. It should easily separate from the peach. Then you can continue with your recipe preparation and slice your peaches into wedges.

Peach Upside Down Cake

What is an upside down cake? It’s super simple and they’ve been making these cakes for hundreds of years. Back in the day, they would add fruit to the bottom of a cast iron skillet and then bake the cake batter on top of it. Then, once the cake is done, flip it over so that the cake part is on the bottom and the fruit is on top. All the juices and flavors of the fruit get infused and baked in with the cake and it is, quite simply, delicious. One of the most famous of these recipes is the Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

While there is nothing wrong with Pineapple, we feel that’s been done so many times. We thought it would be fun to share something a little different: Peach Upside Down Cake.

Easy Cake Mix Peach Upside-Down Cake

When you hear the words "upside-down cake," they are usually in the context of a pineapple and maraschino cherry confection. But you can make the classic dessert with other types of fruit, including peaches, plums, and pears can be used.

This peach upside-down cake is fast and easy to prepare because it starts with a cake mix. The irresistible dessert is soaked with sweet fruit juices and topped with caramelized brown sugar for a moist treat. It can be baked in one rectangular cake pan or two 8-inch round cake pans.

How did the upside-down cake become embedded in the culinary repertoire of nearly every home cook? Bakers have been cooking cakes "upside-down" in cast-iron skillets and flipping them out onto a serving platter for hundreds of years, but it wasn't until the mid-1800s that they got the name "spider cakes" because the cast-iron skillets were known as "spiders."

With the advent of canned fruit by the Dole company in the early 20th century, in particular, pineapple cut into perfect rings, the upside-down cake really took off. Topped with maraschino cherries for a pop of color, canned fruit became the convenient, preferred way to make upside-down cakes.

Peach Upside Down Cake

This is not your everyday Peach Upside Down Cake – this is caramelized deliciousness over a rich, fluffy & moist cake. It will put every upside down cake you’ve ever had to shame.

  • Author: Southern Living, adapted
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 min
  • Yield: 8 servings 1 x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Southern


  • 3 – 4 medium peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), unpeeled and cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges, perhaps just a bit thicker
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, optional
  • 1 cup cake flour or measure 1 cup of flour, remove one tablespoon and substitute with 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup for caramel, the rest for the cake
  • 3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature, 1 stick for the cake, the other half for the caramel
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or brandy
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream, optional


Preheat oven to 350º. Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil to catch any drips and make any possible clean up easy.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.

Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until sugar melts and turns a deep amber color about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

This is a good time to cut the peaches and there will be no need for lemon juice. If you prep them ahead, toss in the two tablespoons of lemon juice to prevent browning.

Immediately add 1/4 cup butter pieces, stirring vigorously. Spread that caramelized sugar to coat bottom of skillet evenly, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange peach wedges in concentric circles over sugar mixture, overlapping as needed. For the prettiest final product, start arranging around the outside edge and finish with the center. Set aside.

Make the cake portion: With an electric mixer, beat the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add sour cream, beating until blended, then the vanilla or brandy.

Gradually add sifted flour mixture, beating at low-speed just until blended and stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Dollop batter over peaches in skillet, and spread to cover. Place skillet on prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen.

Carefully pour out any excess liquid from skillet into a measuring cup, and reserve. (It’s okay if you don’t have any excess liquid–it all depends on how juicy your fruit is.) Carefully invert cake onto a serving plate with a lip, and drizzle with any of that excess reserved liquid.

Cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Cut cake into wedges using a serrated knife. Top with sweetened whipped cream or ice-cream, if desired, and serve immediately.


When cutting peaches, it’s very helpful to lay the slices out on a cutting board or flat surface all facing the same way so they can be quickly and easily picked up and transferred to the caramel-coated pan.

Keywords: Desserts, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Peaches, Cake, Sour Cream

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Nutrition Facts
Servings 10.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 382
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17 g 26 %
Saturated Fat 10 g 51 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 78 mg 26 %
Sodium 168 mg 7 %
Potassium 192 mg 5 %
Total Carbohydrate 54 g 18 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 5 %
Sugars 41 g
Protein 3 g 7 %
Vitamin A 17 %
Vitamin C 10 %
Calcium 4 %
Iron 8 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

I’ll be bringing this recipe over to Fiesta Friday #180 , hosted this week by Tracey @ My Baja Kitchen and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Recipe Summary

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups sliced canned peaches, drained
  • 6 cherries, pitted and halved
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup orange juice

Spread butter or margarine in bottom of 8 inch round baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and arrange very well drained peaches and halved cherries on top.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar together thoroughly. Blend in unbeaten egg, and beat well.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with the juice. Stir in orange rind until evenly distributed.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cake is done. Allow cake to cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan. Invert over serving plate to remove cake, and allow syrup to drain a minute.

16 Sweet & Savory Peach Recipes for Summer

A perfectly ripe peach is the sweet apotheosis of summer. After the seasonal first thrill of eating peaches out of hand (preferably over the sink, to catch the fragrant, golden juices), there are almost endless other ways to use them, from perfect peak-season fruit salads and fresh fruit salsa to classic cobblers, crumbles, and crisps. But there are less conventional things to do with them too, from grilling them to preserving them as cordial. Here are 16 of our favorite ways to eat as many peaches as possible while they’re in season.

Some of these ideas were collected from our Home Cooking board when this piece was first published in 2014, while others are more recent additions, but they are all delicious, and perfect for packing more peaches into your life. Enjoy!