Whole Wheat Lemon Peach Cake

Among the many reasons why Fall is my favorite season is that the lovely chill in the air makes it once-again possible to comfortably bake for hours and hours. Even better are these final weeks of summer, (the ones we basically shove out the door come Labor Day because school is back in session and Halloween decorations are on sale at the drugstore and the windows at the Gap are filled with mannequins in plaid flannel and wool) because we have both the early chill and the bounty of lush, late summer fruit to use.

Last week, in the days when white shoes were still acceptable, I purposely bought more peaches than Eugene and I could possible eat. About 50, to be exact. And when most folks packed up their cars and cases and headed out to the beach for one last final hurrah, I sat down an made a list that looked like this:
Alejandra's Labor Day Weekend Plans
peach pie
peach cake
peach preserve of some kind (jam, crock-pot butter, etc.)
peach frozen something (ice cream, yogurt, sorbet?)
pates de fruit (passion fruit, mango)
pomegranate-braised brisket

Come Saturday, I cranked up the oven and started baking. One by one, the treats came out of my kitchen and were left to cool on the dining table. At one point, Eugene walked in to find the peach butter bubbling in the Crock-pot, butter and sugar creaming in the Kitchen Aid, pie filling simmering on the stove, brisket braising in the oven,  frozen yogurt churning in the ice cream maker, and me, with flour up to my elbows, squeezing cold butter into pea-sized crumbs with my fingertips.

"You're going to blow a fuse," he advised, as he poked around with a fork, looking for things to sample.

Of all the things I made that weekend, this cake was the simplest (and quite likely, my favorite). A moist, lemon-fragrant batter interspersed with wedges of ripe late-summer peaches. The crumb itself is very moist and light, but this really is the kind of cake where the fruit is the star. The kind of cake that's easy enough to make on any afternoon--whether you are in the midst of baking 50 other things--or simply just home from the office and craving a little something sweet.

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Whole Wheat Lemon Peach Cake
For this recipe, I use whole wheat pastry flour, which is milled from young wheat and much more delicate than regular whole wheat flour, instead of regular white. Eugene couldn't taste anything different about it, but it's nice knowing that it's a much more wholesome cake this way. You can also substitute regular AP, but if you can get your hands on it (Bob's Red Mill, Arrowhead Mills, and King Arthur all produce good versions) I urge you to try it out.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted (can sub AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1.5 sticks butter, softened 
3/4 cup turbinado sugar (also known as "sugar in the raw,"; can substitute white granulated)
zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup Greek yogurt or thick strained yogurt (such as Fage)
4-5 small peaches, unpeeled and sliced into wedges
1 tablespoon turbinado ("sugar in the raw") sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9" round springform pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the base of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and mix for an additional minute.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, followed by the yogurt.

Gently mix in the flour mixture, just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and arrange the peaches all over it (it's OK if they overlap)

Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar over the top and bake for about 1 hour, or until the top is golden and a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before removing the sides and sliding onto a cooling rack.

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