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There’s something exciting about upside-cakes, from flipping it over to smelling the sweet caramelised aroma and sauce dripping down the side of the cake. Serving this cake is a definite crowd-pleaser, not to mention how super easy it is to make!
Using either fresh or tinned peaches makes this delightful and pretty upside-down cake, together with roasted slivered almonds and caramel oozing over the top. The gluten-free cake is a moist vanilla sponge that goes perfectly with the peaches and almonds.
Like most of my sweet gluten-free recipes, I try to reduce the sugar level especially when fruit is included. I have been baking this cake for well over 10 years, but each time I make it, I have been adding less sugar, giving me the same acceptable sweet result. This recipe now has a third less sugar and even the butter has been reduced slightly.
If you need an extra hit of sweetness, enjoy a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and any leftover peach slices. It is at its best served warm on the same day of baking, but still reheats beautifully the next day or so in the microwave or a low oven until warm to the touch.
Any leftover slices can be chilled for several days or packed in the freezer for several months.
How to prepare fresh peaches for this cake:
Depending on the season, fresh peaches are amazingly juicy and full of summery flavour to add to this upside-down cake.
To remove the peach skins and slice them away from the pit, it takes about 20 minutes. Please note the time it takes to poach the peaches may differ with the variety of the peach as some are easier to remove their skins than others. Additionally, riper peaches are faster to cook & peel.
Using tinned peaches for this cake:
Naturally, using tinned peaches is convenient and faster to prepare for this cake. It also makes sense to reach for a tin during the months outside the peach season. Make sure to reserve the measured amount of syrup needed in the ingredients list to prepare the cake.
Slicing the peaches is straightforward. Pick the best and most uniform slices. Any remaining peaches can be served on the side with the ice cream.
The recipe includes steps to prepare this cake using either fresh or tinned peaches.
What pan should I use to bake the upside-down cake?
I chose my round Pyrex dish over the cast iron pan simply because I have weak wrists. Cast iron is heavy, so if you are strong, make it with a cast iron pan. The Pyrex dish or a similar ceramic dish did the job just fine.
Spring-from tins also work well but place a baking tray underneath to catch any leakage as the caramel tends to leak out of these tins. They are also quite a job to clean up.
The name “Upside-down Cake” began replacing the older name “Skillet Cakes” in the late 1800’s. As ovens were not always available, stove-top cakes were made in skillets. This was ideal for caramelising the sugar and adding the fruit of choice, then pouring over the cake batter to cook on the stove. The heavy cast iron bottom keeps the butter from burning and the strong handle makes flipping upside down easier.
An underbaked cake will turn out soggy and potentially fall apart, therefore look for a well-browned surface and do the toothpick test by inserting it in the centre of the cake. Once it comes out clean, it’s perfect to cool down for 10 minutes and proceed to flip apart.
Gluten-Free Upside-Down Peach Cake
For the bottom layer:
- 3 fresh peaches or
- 825 g tinned peaches (drained and reserve some of the syrup) Any remaining peaches can be served on the side with the ice cream
- 60 g slivered almonds
- 40 g unsalted butter, melted
- 80 g brown sugar, light or dark
For the cake batter:
- 190 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 45 g brown sugar, light or dark
- 100 g caster or white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 190 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 60 ml unwhipped full fat cream
- 60 ml orange juice or use peach syrup from tin if using tinned peaches
- Fresh mint leaves, to decorate
- Vanilla ice cream, to serve
- Any extra peach slices, to serve
Preparing the peaches:
Using fresh peaches:
- Lightly score across the bottom of each peach.
- Heat a medium pot of water to boiling and place the peaches in for 4 mins or until the skins start to loosen.
- Plunge the peaches in a bowl of iced water for 5 mins.
- Remove the peaches from the water and peel the skin off.
- Slice the peaches into 5cm pieces. Set aside.
Using tinned peaches:
- Drain the peaches from the tin and reserve the measured amount of syrup needed for the cake. Set the syrup aside.
- Slice the peaches into 5cm pieces. Set aside.
Preparing the bottom layer:
- Toast the almonds gently in a dry frying pan, shaking and stirring until the almonds are golden. Set aside.
- Melt the butter and pour it into the round dish. Swirl the butter around and with a pastry brush, coat the sides of the dish.
- Scatter the toasted almonds evenly over the bottom of the dish.
- Next, add the peach slices and arrange them in a decorative pattern.
- Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Set aside.
Preparing the cake:
- In a stand mixer bowl, beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add one egg at a time, beating thoroughly.
- Once the eggs are beaten well, add the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour together with the xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.
- Combine the cream and orange or peach juice in a small bowl.
- With the stand mixer running on low, alternatively, add the cream mixture and the flour in 3 parts. Stop mixing as soon as the last streak of flour is visible.
- Spoon the cake mixture gently over the peaches, smoothing out to the edges.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Bake for 40 to 45 mins on the middle shelf. To check if it is fully baked, insert a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean, it is ready to be removed from the oven.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 mins. Don’t let it cool down in the pan any longer than 20 mins, or the caramel will start to harden and stick to the pan, making it difficult to remove intact.
- Select a large plate or platter and place it upside down on the cake pan. Using oven gloves, flip the pan over onto the plate.
- Tap the sides and top before removing the cake pan. The cake should slide smoothly and intact onto the plate.
- Serve slightly warm on its own
- or with extra peach slices and vanilla bean ice cream. Sprinkle some mint leaves on top of the cake for decoration.
- Keeps for 3-4 days covered and chilled
- Reheat gently either in the microwave or oven until warm to the touch
- Suitable to freeze