This luscious caramel peach upside-down cake take only 10 basic ingredients and yields a delightfully buttery and moist coffee cake.
True story: when I see peaches appear in the store, I tend to grab bags of them. HUGE bags. However, peaches typically sold in the store are underripe, as they are less fragile to pick and ship (if you can find tree-ripened peaches at a farmers’ market, GRAB THEM). But this means I impatiently wait around as they ripen up. And when they do, I end up with a lot of peaches that need to be used fast. Beyond eating them right out of hand, I start whipping up sweet treats like my peach slab pie; peach and prosecco bellini cobbler with strawberry biscuits; sugar roasted peach and blueberry bacon buckle; and vanilla peach graham cracker ice cream. One recipe I haven’t shared yet is this 10-ingredient caramel peach upside down cake, which is an ideal pairing of complex caramel, honey sweet peach, and buttery moist cake, all made with pantry staple ingredients!
How to make caramel peach upside-down cake
Making caramel peach upside down cake isn’t as difficult as it seems. But you do need to peel the peaches and make the caramel!
I have a section on peeling peaches, as well as a more extensive blog post on how to peel a peach. Once they’re peeled, slice and arrange them in a cake pan. Then cook some sugar until it turns to caramel. Pour the caramel over the peaches. The caramel will harden but don’t worry, it will dissolve again when the cake is baked.
Make the cake batter by creaming butter, white and brown sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Add eggs, and then flour. Pour the batter over the peaches and caramel, spreading it out to cover, then bake! Once done, let it rest for 5 minutes, then invert on a cake stand or serving plate.
How do you peel the peaches?
Peeling peaches isn’t difficult, but it is an extra step that is required for this recipe, as the fuzzy peach skin is a little tough to eat in the cake. There are two ways to do it. You can either peel them using a serrated peeling knife, which helps cut through the tough skin. Or you can poach them briefly in hot water and then peel them. This is my preferred method.
First boil a large pot of water. Fill a large bowl with ice water. While the water comes to a boil, cut an “x” on the bottom of the peach with a sharp knife. When the water comes to a boil, place the peaches in the water for 60 seconds. Then remove them and “shock” them by placing them in the ice water. Once they are cooled enough to handle, you should be able to peel the peaches with your fingers, with the skins sliding off. You can see more detailed instructions on peeling the peaches on my blog post How to Peel a Peach.
Tips on making caramel
If you’ve never made caramel before, here are a few tips on making it!
- Use a light-colored pan: if you never made caramel, I totally recommend using a light colored pan. That way you can tell how dark the caramel gets. Nonstick dark colored pans are great for cleanup, but it’s much harder to tell how dark the caramel is with them. Use a light colored or stainless steel pan to watch the color. Clean up isn’t difficult with a regular stainless steel pan. Just soak the pan in water, or boil some water in the pan afterwards, to dissolve any stuck on caramel.
- Use low heat: Though it’s easy to get impatient and crank up the heat, if you are unfamiliar with making caramel, use a lower heat and just wait a bit. Caramel can go from golden brown to acrid black pretty fast. Using a lower heat allows you to adjust, stir and remove the caramel from the heat before it reaches the point of no return. The caramel will definitely get there eventually. Just have some patience. If you are short on time, you can speed it up a bit by turn the heat on high, and once the sugar starts to melt and turn color, lower the heat immediately.
- Remove from off heat early: Like the trick of using low heat, if you notice the sugar turning golden brown, you can remove the pan from the burner or turn off the heat. Allow the residual heat of the pan to continue to cook the sugar, darkening it a bit. If the caramel isn’t turning the right color, or isn’t as dark as you like, you can always return it to the heat to nudge it a little bit darker. But letting the residual heat of the pan cook the sugar darker is a good habit to have.
- Ice Water Bowl: This is being extra cautious, but I do like to have a bowl of ice water next to the stove in case any of the caramel splashes of gets on me. You can immediately dunk your hand in the ice water to stop the burn. Honestly I’ve never had to use that bowl of ice water before, but better safe than sorry!
Can I use frozen or canned peaches?
If peaches aren’t in season, you can easily use frozen or canned peaches. There’s no need to defrost the peaches if you use it, but you might need to increase the bake time by 5 minutes to compensate for the cold peaches. Keep in mind the frozen peaches shed more moisture, so your cake might be a little more moist. Be sure to drain the peaches if you do use canned peaches.
How do I store the cake?
Store this cake at room temperature under a cake dome for up to 2 days. Or you can freeze the cake. Just freeze the entire cake, or cake slices, on a baking sheet for 2 hours, or until frozen solid. Then wrapped the cake or cake slices in plastic wrap and place it in a resealable Ziploc bag for storage. Thaw the cake to room temperature (about 2 to 3 hours on the counter) before serving. Frozen cake can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you like this caramel peach upside down cake, check out these other peach recipes:
- Peach, Basil, and Olive Oil Coffee Cake
- Peach and Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Peach and Blackberry Pie
- Peach and Nectarine Cobbler with Sage Biscuits and Mead Honey Filling
- Sweet Cherry, Black Plum and Yellow Peach Cobbler
And check out these other casual coffee cakes
- Swedish Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
- Easy Strawberry Cake
- Mexican Chocolate and Corn Coffee Cake
- Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Blackberries
- Strawberry and Grape Coffee Cake with Almond Topping
- Apricot and Blueberry Cake
- Cherry Buckle with Cocoa Cinnamon Crumb Topping
- Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
- Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Red Wine Poached Pear Upside Down Cake
10-Ingredients Caramel Peach Upside Down Cake
- 3 ripe peaches about 1 to 1/4 pounds
- 3/4 cup white sugar 150 g
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 1 stick or 115 g
- 1/2 cup white sugar 100 g
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 55 g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract optional
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 140 g
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking oil.Peel the peaches and cut them into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch slices. Arrange the peaches on the bottom of the pan, in a circular pattern. Place the pan on a heatproof surface.
- Place the sugar in a medium-sized skillet, one with a silver bottom if you have ever made caramel before. Heat the skillet on the stove on high, until the edge of the sugar starts to melt. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook the sugar, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until all the sugar has melted and the has turned golden brown. Sprinkle and stir in the salt.
- Immediately drizzle the caramel over the peaches. The caramel will harden, but don’t worry, it will dissolve when the cake is baked.
- Place the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, almond extract (if using), baking powder, nutmeg and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the mixture together, until fluffy, light in color, and clings to the side of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each in and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Don’t worry if the batter looks “broken” or grainy. It will come together with the flour.Add the flour and mix slowly until the flour is absorbed.
- Carefully pour the cake batter over the peaches, making sure not to disturb their pattern. Use a butter knife or small offset spatula and spread the batter out to the edge of the pan.
- Bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, the edges of the cake start to pull away from the pan.Let the cake rest and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Gently run a thin butter knife around the edge of the cake. Then invert a serving plate or cake stand upside down on to the pan. Then flip over the plate or cake stand over, with the pan on it, inverting the cake. The cake should release onto the plate or cake stand upside down.Let cool for 30 to 45 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.