RECIPE: Upside Down Basil and Peach Vanilla Cake

Peach season is just about over, but there are still some late harvest lovelies found in roadside stands in Michigan-so you may get lucky!

We have been up to our ears in peaches all month long. My dad, born and raised in Italy, learned how to grow things from aunts and uncles. Now in a quiet, ultra-conservative midwest suburb my Dad has grown a giant orchard in his back yard. He has yearly battles with squirrels, and each spring brings exciting news about early blooms and nerves around early frosts. Most years, the harvest is just crazy! 

Just a view of a third of what my dad gives me of the white peaches.

I am given a bounty of paper shopping bags full of peaches. I make jam, we preserve them in syrup, and I make peach pies, cobblers and cakes. One recent recipe I whipped up to use up some ripe peaches was this upside down cake. I figured it works for pineapples, why not peaches? It barely made a dent in my peach pile, however! But I was able to use up some late growing basil on my porch, too. Basil and peach go great together. If that's too avant garde for you, you can replace it with a healthy dose of cinnamon instead, or lemon zest to bring in a citrus note. Either would be delicious.

On to pumpkin and apple spice everything season! I am not sure if I am ready, but time waits for no one. Summer goes so fast. I am sad to see it go. This cake was my way of saying a sweet good bye until next year!

Upside Down Basil and Peach Vanilla Cake


3 Tbsp. of butter 
1/4 cups brown sugar 
3- 4 cups peeled, cored and sliced white and yellow peaches 
Tbsp.  of chopped basil 
dash of salt

12 Tbsp. of butter, softened 
3/4 cups of sugar 
2 cups flour 
1 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. of salt 
2 eggs 
tsp. vanilla extract 


Preheat oven to 350˚. In a bowl toss the peaches with chopped basil, dash of salt and set aside.

Use a baking pan that is oven proof and flame proof because you're going to use it on the stove top. Place pan over low heat and melt the butter with the brown sugar until bubbly. Turn off heat and place the peaches evenly on top of the glaze in a pretty, concentric pattern. Spoon any left over juices right on top. Set aside.

Now make the batter. In a small bowl mix the salt with the flour and the baking powder with a fork gently. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a larger bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs then the vanilla. Next add the flour mixture with the mixer on low until it is just combined.

Using a spatula pour the batter over the peaches in the pan make sure the batter is evenly spread out. Bake in the oven 20 to 30 minutes. Let's sit in the pan for just a couple minutes to let things settle, but don't let the cake cool in the pan.  If you let the cake cool too long in the pan it won't come out because the glaze will harden. After just a few minutes, quickly flip the pan over onto a cake platter, and remove pan. Everything should come out and if you get an errant peach that falls off just place it back in its spot. Now you can let the cake cool a little bit more. Serve with some whipping cream.



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