Peachy Keen Coffee Cake

7:17 pm

One of my favourite things about summer is the abundance of my favourite fruits. I always look forward to the nectarines, watermelon and berries that provide that instantaneous sense of refreshment on a ridiculously hot (40°C+) day.

As expected, we were greeted with a variety of produce but at prices higher than I'd ever seen before. Desperate for our dose of summer fruits, my family and I drove to Sydney markets (Flemington) to scope out some of our favourites. I hadn't been to the markets for probably, five or six years and was in awe at the atmosphere. Picture a massive hall, filled end to end with sellers, hoarse from yelling enticements at the crowds, speaking of which rivalled those on Nathan Road, Mong Kok at 6pm...

We picked up a box of white peaches, which worked out to be 12 times cheaper than what we could get at our local fruit shop and supermarkets. It served to be a perfect opportunity to try out Deb's (Smitten Kitchen) dimply plum cake.

(Obviously), I substituted the plums for the fresh white peaches, and it turned out brilliantly. The cake is beautifully moist, light and has a delicate crumb. The warmth of the cinnamon pairs so well with the sharpness of the orange zest (lemon zest would work here also). This would please even those who aren't sweet tooths, particularly because it isn't rich or heavy at all, and could be served as afternoon tea, or for us, a pre-lunch snack. The only thing I would change would be to slice the peaches thicker (around 1cm) as they remain juicier after baking. My concern was that thicker wedges would prevent the cake from rising around it, but that didn't seem to be a problem (the top left slice in the photo below was a good thickness)

You can certainly see why Deb has (very aptly) named this cake 'dimply' - as the cake rises, the peaches appear to sink into little crevices. I think this effect would be even more prominent if you cut the fruit into rounds like Deb has done with her plums.

Another thing about this cake that I love is that it can be cut and shared easily. One peach wedge per slice gives a perfectly sized portion that won't ruin your appetite for dinner but is enough to satisfy the mid-afternoon sweets craving.

Completely irrelevant note: This was baked and photographed in my grandma's kitchen where I was testing out her oven that she hasn't used since she moved in. How amazing it was to use an oven that stays the temperature that you preheat/set it as, that tells you when it's done preheating, cooks evenly negates the need to turn the pan and soothes my paranoia that my cake is on the verge of becoming a black crisp. And the natural lighting that she gets in her kitchen was incredible.

Definitely give this one a go, use the fruit you have on hand, and let me know how it turns out!

Peachy Keen Coffee Cake

 From Smitten Kitchen's Dimply Plum Cake, originally from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4  tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
70g butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or other flavourless oil)
Grated zest of one orange 
Splash of vanilla essence
2 medium white peaches, sliced into 1cm wedges

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
2. Grease a 20cm square pan then dust with flour, disposing of the excess, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Whisk together plain flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, set aside.
4. With an hand held electric whisk, or standing mixer,  on medium speed, cream butter until it becomes lighter in colour and creamy.
5. Add in brown sugar and beat for an additional 3 minutes on medium speed. Make sure to stop and scrape around the sides to ensure all ingredients are incorporated into the mixture. 
6. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 1 minute on medium speed in between each one.
7. Mix in the vegetable oil, zest and vanilla essence on low speed until the mixture is glossy- this won't take long at all. 
8. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Arrange the peach slices on top, pressing them lightly into mixture.
9. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until it is lightly golden or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
10. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes to allow the fruit juices to sink back into the cake, and then remove from the pan and let it cool for a bit longer on the cooling rack. Serve warm.

The cake should be good for up to 4 days, wrapped in cling film and in an airtight container.

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