Lavender, an aromatic floral herb prized for its calming properties, complements the sweet peaches and caramelized sugar topping in this unusual upside-down cake. Lovely on its own with tea or coffee, it's especially indulgent with freshly whipped cream or crème fraîche.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- For the Topping:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 to 5 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges (about 2 cups sliced peaches)
- 2 teaspoons dried lavender
- For the Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, salted
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk or soy milk
- Freshly whipped cream or crème fraîche for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 350° F. (If you are using a dark or nonstick pan, preheat the oven to 325° F.)
First, make the topping:
In a small saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the mixture is smooth and begins to bubble gently, about 2 minutes.
Pour the butter-sugar mixture into a 9-inch round by 2-inch deep cake pan. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the lavender flowers evenly over the sugar mixture. Arrange the peach slices decoratively, starting in the middle of the pan and working outward in concentric circles. Set aside.
Next, make the cake batter:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer, electric handheld mixer, or manual rotary beater, cream together the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, mixing until well blended.
While the mixer is running, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula if necessary, and beat just until the ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the batter over the peaches, smooth with a spatula, and bake in the preheated oven until the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes. (Tip: Place the cake pan on a piece of tin foil to catch any drips in case the sugar mixture bubbles over the side of the pan.)
Move the cake pan to a wire rack, run a sharp knife around the cake, and cool for 10 minutes. Place a cake plate over the pan, invert the cake, and carefully lift off the cake pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with freshly whipped cream or crème fraîche if desired.