A variation on a recipe from my second cookbook, Sweet and Vicious: Baking With Attitude (Rizzoli). A never fail cake recipe that will work with any fruit...like any fruit! Change up the spices to make it your own. In this recipe, I swapped out the cinnamon for ground cardamom and a heavy pinch of black pepper. Serving with vanilla ice cream is not optional.
Georgia Peach Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake
What you need:
For the fruit layer:
4 tablespoons butter
3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Gosling’s Black Seal Rum (optional)
4-5 ripe Georgia peaches, pitted and sliced into 1/4” slices
For the cake batter:
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup medium-grind cornmeal
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon (swap out for ground cardamom and a heavy pinch of black pepper if you like)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla paste or really good vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄2 cup milk, at room temperature
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (not optional)
What to do:
1. Make the fruit layer: In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until just bubbling. Add the brown sugar and rum. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely melted and the mixture begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Arrange two layers of the sliced peaches in a decorative pattern to cover the brown sugar mixture in the bottom of the skillet. Set aside while you make the cake batter.
2. Make the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and spice(s). Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla paste and beat to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then add the milk and mix to combine, then add the last of the flour mixture. Mix only until the flour mixture is just incorporated (the batter will be thick). Spread the batter over the fruit, being careful not to move the fruit around too much. You may smooth the top, but don’t worry too much because everything will settle as it bakes.
3. Finish the Cake: Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the skillet or an instant read thermometer registers 190-195ºF. The center should feel set to the touch. Remove the skillet from the oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet, then very carefully place a plate (larger than the diameter of the skillet) over the top of the skillet and flip the skillet over to turn the cake out onto the plate.
To Serve: Serve the cake warm or room temperature sat in the middle of your dinner table with a bowl of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Recipe by Libbie Summers
Floral apron in photo: Hostess Apron in Floral Linen