I’ve made this recipe a couple of times now, and finally took the time to stop and snap a couple of photos. That’s the problem with delicious desserts, you see. They disappear far too quickly to take photos.
Truth be told, however, this isn’t the most photogenic of cakes. Granted, this recipe is an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe. Of course, her version looks absolutely stunning. The peach slices are arranged with care, each one placed perfectly in line. The cake is baked in a skillet, but then is turned out onto a gorgeous serving board. It’s a Martha masterpiece.
But, let’s be honest. Who has the time or the energy for that? I certainly don’t.
You know what I did? I sauteed the peach slices in a lot of butter (and sugar!) and left them in the bottom of the skillet. I didn’t arrange them whatsoever. I poured batter on top of the peaches and baked the cake. Then, I ate the cake straight out of the skillet. And you know what? It was damn near perfect. The cake was buttery and moist, and just bursting with juicy summer peaches. The lavender was subtle, yet present, and added a unique and surprising flavor to the cake. It was fantastic.
Sure, it might not be as pretty as Martha’s version, but that’s fine by me. I want to cook attainable food that tastes good. The reality is that most of us are busy people with jobs, kids, pets, sports, mortgages, and all sorts of other responsibilities. We simply don’t have the time to arrange peach slices in concentric circles. And that’s ok.
There’s a time and a place for pretty cakes with pretty peach slices. But there’s also a time for peach cornmeal skillet cakes that are simple, easy, and totally delicious. This is one of those times.
- 1 stick (plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3-4 ripe peaches (skins on), sliced into 3/4″ wedges
- 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons dried lavender
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a 9″ or 10″ cast iron skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When butter is bubbling and melted, add in peach slices, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, and stir to coat. Reduce heat to low, and allow peaches to cook until most of the juice has boiled off and peaches are beginning to caramelize, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, lavender, and salt. In another bowl, beat the remaining butter with 3/4 cup of brown sugar on high speed. Beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, and add in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally, and add in vanilla and cream.
- Next, pour in the the cornmeal mixture, stirring just to combine. Pour batter over peach slices, using a spatula to spread the batter evenly.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove skillet from the oven, and allow cake to cool at least slightly before serving. (I highly recommend serving this cake with a heaping dollop of homemade whipped cream. It’s downright dreamy.)
Adapted from Martha Stewart