RECIPE: Peach with Mint and Chamomile Cake
We are up to our ears in peaches. My father grows peaches in his backyard, and what's funny about that statement is that you would think he lived in the country. My father lives in the most white bread western suburb of Chicago you ever set foot in. People often marvel at how my off-the-boat Italian parents ended up there, but they did. And I think that stodgy uptight suburb can use a little color and texture, if you ask me! And boy do my parents deliver! At any rate, my dad proudly gave us a giant bag of his peach harvest, and our neighbors also gave us a bag from Michigan as a thank you for watering their yard while on vacay. So bring on the peach recipes!
This cake I concocted here has a lot of floral and herbal notes, using chamomile tea and mint sprigs from the yard. Baking with tea is really fun, you should try it! Chai tea can add some spiciness to cookies and cakes, and Earl Grey can bring some citrus and smoke to breads and cookies. Chamomile is definitely more of a floral and honey combo, and though it would compliment the peaches nicely.
Peach with Mint and Chamomile Cake
Before doing anything, steep 1/2 cup hot water with a chamomile tea bag for 15-20 minutes so it's very strong. You'll use half for the peaches, half for the cake.
5 medium peaches, peeled and pitted then sliced (about 2 cups)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup strong chamomile tea
1 Tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chamomile tea
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar for the top
Spray a 10" spring form pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut parchment paper to size, and line the bottom, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350˚.
In a small bowl, mix the flour with baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl using a mixer whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and whip until light. Add the buttermilk and eggs, and whip until creamy. Then add the lemon zest, juice, and the rest of the tea. Mix until combined. Turn mixer on low, then add the dry ingredients. Whip until just combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the pan. Then, spoon the peaches evenly over the batter, then ladle the juice on top. Sprinkle the 2 Tbsp. sugar generously over the top. Bake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, then move to the top rack for another 10 minutes. You're looking for puffy cake and bubbly peaches, and lightly golden. Keep an eye on the middle, making sure it is set and bubbly. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unclip the sides, and place on a platter to serve.