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Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

The carefree days of summer are embodied in this relatively effortless, yet elegant, skillet dessert. Aromatic lavender permeates the lightly sweetened cornmeal cake, and plump peaches impart even more fragrance and flavor.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2008



Cook's Notes

Perfectly ripe peaches, available from May to October, will feel heavy for their size, yield slightly to gentle pressure, and emit a sweet, heady perfume. Avoid any fruit tinged with green, as it won't ripen. Ready-to-eat peaches last 3 to 5 days refrigerated; firmer ones will soften when kept in a brown paper bag on the counter for up to 3 days.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • GG44
    9 MAY, 2015
    As diets have changed, I cut the cake recipe in half, so cake to fruit was about 1:1. Added cardamom, less salt, used cornmeal, and added juice from the peaches back to the mix. The total liquid then came closer to that needed in the recipe for cornbread, and the mix was easier to spread on top of the peaches. The fruit flavor was more pronounced and a 1/8th slice was more reasonable in amount. Since I used ripe fruit, cooking was closer to 30 minutes. It will be my new 'go to' recipe.
  • AER
    17 SEP, 2014
    Delicious! I did cut both the salt and lavender in half, and I also found it needed a little more time in the oven. Perhaps my oven is a little on the cool side.
  • MS112588476
    2 AUG, 2013
    My favourite!!
  • SanDiegoSavta
    26 AUG, 2011
    I used fresh lavender from my herb garden: I rinsed and patted it dry, then diced the heads finely, saving some whole stems w/flowers for the garnish. I used coarse-ground cornmeal and a 10" Lodge cast iron skillet and the cake turned out perfectly. Guests raved that the cake is not too sweet & the lavender added a delicate flavor. And everyone loved the crunch of the cornmeal ... and the beautiful presentation. Trouble w/moisture or dryness? check your oven thermostat. Ovens vary.
  • PKan
    14 AUG, 2011
    Loved this cake. It looks fabulous and tastes great. I am not a huge fan of the lavender though, next time I think I will try cardamon instead. I also used nectarines instead of peaches and it was fine. I agree with other reviews that under-ripe fruit works well in this recipe.
  • jfristensky
    11 JUL, 2011
    this is a fabulous summer recipe. I love the lavender flavor, but it can be omitted. Every time I make it, I get raves. It can be made 2 days in advance and is just great with vanilla ice cream. Freezes well also.
  • fruitfiend
    26 APR, 2010
    I love love love this cake. Its very easy and not too sweet. The lavender is an fabulous suprise to lavender eating virgins. I used a 12 inch pan and found the cooking time appropriate. I've made this 3 times and it has delighted all sorts of palates.
  • lbb43081
    19 JUN, 2009
    This is a great, simple, show stopper of a dessert. I actually found that using slightly under ripe peaches worked well, since you cook them. Also, since I didn't have lavender, I used 1/2 t. corriander, 1/4 t. nutmeg and 1/4 t. cloves. Although I'm sure lavender would be great, I really liked it with the other spices.
  • Michael
    31 OCT, 2008
    I'm the editor of Living and this was one of my favorites of the recipes we printed this summer. I made it twice, both times it was easy, and slid out of my 10" cast iron skillet perfectly. I loved the contrast of the cornmeal with the sweet syrup of the browned peaches. A definite keeper for next summer as well.
  • Prettyeyedtawny
    16 SEP, 2008
    I made this tonight without the lavender and it was delicious!! I used a 12" cast iron skillet and baked it for about 30 turned out great. I used regular salt instead of coarse, but it wasn't salty at all. I love the coarse texture and the baked sugar on the crust...YUMMY!!

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