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Peaches and Cream Cake

June 12, 2014

I’m back! With about thirty new mosquito bites and one PhD!

Peaches and Cream CakePin it!

As you can imagine, I’ve had an eventful break from blogging…

After 7 years (!) of grad school, last Friday I passed my dissertation defense. (You may now call me “Dr.” but you might be one of the only people calling me that, since my PhD is in linguistics.)

The weekend before that, my little sister Jess got married.

Peaches and Cream CakePin it!

Her wedding was beautiful. The ceremony was on a sunny hilltop in the countryside, and Wisconsin was looking greener than ever. (Or at least I thought so anyway, coming from drought-stricken California.)

Peaches, Nectarines, and Butter

The wedding was practically perfect in every way (just like Mary Poppins), except for the mosquitoes, but I’m not going to talk about those anymore, or my ankles will start itching all over again…

Making Peaches and Cream Layer CakePin it!

I was impressed with how calm my sister seemed all day (especially considering the weather forecast for her outdoor wedding: thunderstorms). Despite being three years younger than me, she’s always been more like the older sister when it comes to things like… common sense, and true to form, she was as level-headed as ever, even on her wedding day.

Making the top layer: Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake

With no one else around at the precise moment Jess was changing in to her wedding dress, I got chosen by default for the honor of fastening up the back of her dress. I only managed to do this with the help of her very patient instructions, and one cell phone photograph of how she wanted the bow. (And even then I couldn’t latch one of the hooks so her photographer had to step in and help me — at least there will be no photographic evidence that that ever happened!)

Making Peaches and Cream Cake

I had several favorite moments of the night. At dinner, my mom gave a beautiful toast that had everyone in tears. Just before the dancing started, there were fireworks! (If we tried having fireworks at our Santa Barbara wedding, we would probably start Santa Barbara on fire…) Paula and I did more drinking than dancing, but at one point she leaned over to me and said, of my sister and her new husband’s mutual friend who had officiated the wedding, “that rabbi can dance!”

Peaches and Cream CakePin it!

I also really enjoyed the family reunion weekend surrounding the wedding. Paula met many of my relatives for the first time. And we got to visit with family and friends, including the friends who will be officiating our wedding later this summer!

Peaches and Cream CakePin it!

The real downpour of rain at Jess’s wedding didn’t start until right after the fireworks had ended and all of the guests were tucked under the covered pavilion of the dance floor. Perfect timing.

Making Peaches and Cream Cake

After the wedding, the ongoing storm left us sloshing up the hill in the cold rain to run back to our car, soaking our shoes — I think mine still haven’t dried and will need to be tossed — a dramatic end to a wonderful night.

Slicing peaches and nectarines for the filling

I’m so happy for my sister. (She and her new husband first got together over a decade ago, back in high school, so it was about time they made it official!)

Peaches and Cream layered stone fruit upside-down cakePin it!

So before I get back to real life by diving into some savory summer cooking (or rather savory summer NOT-cooking, since summer is counter-intuitively the season of the least cooking but the best eating…), this week I thought it’d be more appropriate to share a celebratory cake.

Peaches and Cream Layer CakePin it!

After all, there are so many reasons to celebrate. My sister’s wedding. My linguistics PhD. (And my friend Brendan’s PhD — we started and finished our 7-year graduate program on the same days!) And besides all of that, at some point during my two weeks off from blogging, Spontaneous Tomato surpassed 5,000 followers. YAY, thank you!

Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake layer of Peaches & Cream Cake

This summery celebration cake is the perfect way to put your stone fruit to good use. The top layer is an almond-yogurt nectarine/peach upside-down cake. The bottom layer uses that same basic cake dough — soft, light, not too sweet, and not too dry thanks to the yogurt, ground almonds, and a hint of almond extract — all smeared with a thick coating of sweet fresh whipped cream, topped with slices of fresh stone fruit.

Bottom layer for Peaches and Cream CakePin it!

Of course you could also make TWO upside-down cakes and layer them, with whipped cream in between them and the prettier one on top — just follow the instructions for the top layer twice, and make sure you have enough ripe peaches and/or nectarines. Or you could make two basic bottom layers, double the whipped cream, and spread whipped cream in the middle and over the top, setting fresh fruit into each layer. I love the sweetness of the baked fruit, though — it seeps into the cake along with the buttery brown sugar upside-down-cake topping.

Peaches and Cream Cake (layered stone fruit upside-down cake)Pin it!

This cake is the perfect balance of fancy and rustic. With the layer of whipped cream, it reminds me of an almondy strawberry shortcake, but with peaches… though I bet this would be nice with fresh strawberries set into the whipped cream, too.

To summer! To Jess and Natan! And to the end of grad school!

Peaches and Cream layered stone fruit upside-down cakePin it!

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Peaches and Cream Cake
(Layered stone fruit upside-down cake)
(Upside-down cake adapted from this recipe.)

(Serves 8-10)

Active time: 40 minutes; Total time: 2½ hours (includes cooling time).

Cake Ingredients (Makes 2 round 9″-cake layers):
~ 2¼ cup flour
~ ¾ cup ground almonds (use almond meal or pulse almonds in food processor with some of the flour)
~ 3 tsp. baking powder
~ ¾ tsp. salt
~ 1½ sticks butter, softened (plus more for greasing the pans)
~ 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
~ 3 eggs
~ 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
~ ½ tsp. almond extract
~ 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt (full fat)

Additional ingredients for the top layer (upside-down) cake:
~ 3-4 Tbsp. butter, melted
~ ⅓ cup brown sugar
~ 4 ripe peaches and/or nectarines, sliced into 8 wedges each

For the filling in between layers:
~ 1 cup heavy whipping cream
~ 1½ Tbsp. sugar
~ 2-3 ripe peaches and/or nectarines, thinly sliced

Special equipment needed:
~ two round 9″ cake pans
~ two circles of parchment paper cut to fit cake pans

How to make it:

1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 300 degrees. Use butter to grease the bottom and sides of each 9″ cake pan, then set the parchment circles into the pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.

2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter and sugar together for 4 minutes, until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and almond extracts. Finally, beat in the dry flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the Greek yogurt.

Making Peaches and Cream CakeMaking the Peach Upside-Down Cake layer

3. To make the upside-down cake (top layer) topping: pour the melted butter into one of the cake pans, and tilt to coat the pan. Then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter. Arrange the fruit wedges in a circular pattern over the brown sugar, starting from the outer ring first. Use a rubber spatula to gently dollop half of the cake batter over the fruit, spreading it out evenly, without disturbing the arrangement of the fruit wedges. Spread the other half of the cake batter into the other greased 9″ pan.

Making Peaches and Cream CakeMaking Peaches and Cream Cake

4. Bake both cakes for about 1 hour: after the first 50 minutes, turn the oven temperature up to 350 degrees so the cakes become golden brown on top. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Your layers might have different baking times if they are different thicknesses, but they will likely be done somewhere in the range of 55-65 minutes.)

5. Let both layers cool in their pans on racks for 30 minutes. Then for each one, use a knife to loosen around the edges of the pan, cover the pan with a plate, and invert the cake onto the plate. (I recommend greasing one of the plates with butter — the one that will temporarily hold the top layer — so the cake won’t stick to the plate as it cools.) Peel off the parchment circles and let cool completely.

Making Peaches and Cream CakePeach Upside-Down Cake layer

6. Assemble the cake: Use an electric mixer to whip the heavy cream until it starts to become sturdy (a freezer-chilled bowl will help speed this along), then sprinkle in the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form when you stop the mixer and gently lift it out of the whipped cream. (Be careful not to over-whip, or you will accidentally make butter!) Spread the whipped cream over the bottom layer of the cake, then chill it in the fridge while you slice the fruit. Top the whipped cream with fresh sliced fruit, then carefully transfer the upside-down-cake layer onto the top (I used two wide spatulas to gently lift the top layer; you might also want the help of a second person). Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Peaches and Cream layered stone fruit upside-down cakePin it!

Related recipe posts:

Peach Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars Apricot Almond Galette Mango Lassi Muffins with Yogurt and Cardamom Pear or Nectarine Brown Butter Buckle
Peach Rhubarb
Oatmeal Bars
Apricot Almond Galette Mango Lassi Muffins with Yogurt and Cardamom Pear or Nectarine
Brown Butter Buckle
76 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2014 9:07 am

    That is such a pretty, pretty cake. & so glad that the rain waited for the festivities to be over!

  2. June 12, 2014 9:09 am

    Congratulations to both you and your sister! What an exciting few weeks it must have been for your family! The cake looks just perfect for the occasion(s)! :)

    • June 12, 2014 9:15 am

      Thank you! Yes, exciting and crazy busy — luckily most of my family didn’t have to travel too far for my sister’s wedding (so they can rest up for traveling to mine later this summer!).

      • June 12, 2014 9:22 am

        Even more celebrations for you and your family! All the best for your wedding, I got married 8 weeks ago and am still beaming with smiles and full of emotion when I think of our special day. I wish you every happiness for your big day :)

      • June 12, 2014 9:30 am

        Thanks, and wow! Congratulations on your wedding too! :)

  3. June 12, 2014 9:15 am

    It looks great, really well done, love it :)

  4. June 12, 2014 9:24 am

    The cake looks delish, and I think I can easily veganize it, so I will try it! Congrats on your PhD … that is no small accomplishment!!!

  5. June 12, 2014 9:25 am

    That cake looks incredible! Really good. I’m still fantasising about your rhubarb tart. Does it feel a bit weird to have the PhD done and dusted, or just… Great? And weddings, funny things, I like witnessing the mixture of people drinking and dancing!

    • June 12, 2014 9:36 am

      Thanks, Karinna! Haha I’m still fantasizing about my rhubarb tart too (and I want to make more peach rhubarb oatmeal bars), but I’m still having trouble finding rhubarb even though stone fruit already seems to be everywhere!

      It’s definitely (great! and) a little surreal to be finished with grad school — now I have 7 years of procrastinatory/guilt habits to break. (And since Paula and I didn’t meet until I was halfway through grad school, as she just said yesterday “now we get to see what normal feels like.”)

      I love the people-watching aspect of weddings too! Personally, I enjoy that (+ drinking and talking) much more than dancing!

  6. June 12, 2014 9:34 am

    Congrats!! And the cake looks great too :)

  7. June 12, 2014 9:37 am

    Congratulations, Dr! Lovely cake, btw…

  8. marianapdesousa permalink
    June 12, 2014 9:40 am

    Congrats Dr Tomato!!! This peach cake looks so amazing, perfect for summer days

    • June 12, 2014 9:49 am

      Thank you! Ahaha it seems that “Dr. Tomato” is catching on, despite me doing nothing to promote it! ;)

      And yes, this is a wonderfully summery cake — I will definitely be making it again this year, since we are still just at the beginning of stone fruit season… I might try a version with strawberries in the middle, too.

  9. June 12, 2014 9:45 am

    Congrats!!! Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful break – and the cake looks amazing!

    • June 12, 2014 9:51 am

      Thanks, Jamie!! It’s so funny to think of it as a “break,” like from school or work, but it definitely helped me get through the last two weeks to not have to think about my blog on top of everything else… and now I’m glad to be back. :)

  10. June 12, 2014 9:55 am

    Congrats! Looking forward to your writings and recipes.

  11. June 12, 2014 9:57 am

    Oh what is an amazing cake! Congrats on all your hard work and your sister’s wedding!

  12. June 12, 2014 10:35 am

    Hi Allison! Glad to see you back, and congratulations again! My undergrad is in linguistics–did we already geek out about it? What kind of linguistics did you focus on? There’s soooo much interesting in linguistics.

    And this cake. BEAUTY. Summer perfection for real!

    • June 19, 2014 9:47 am

      Hi Danguole! Nope, I believe we have not yet geeked out about our mutual interest in linguistics! I agree that there’s sooooo much interesting there, even despite feeling somewhat burnt out after the PhD… I focused on Japanese linguistics and language acquisition, so my MA thesis was on first lang. acq. of Japanese, and my dissertation was on second lang. acq. of Japanese. (Although in undergrad I was more into morphology, ASL, and Catalán/Spanish.)

  13. June 12, 2014 10:44 am

    I’m jealous of your cake and your graduation- I’m currently in year four of grad school. And if I tried to make this cake, it would definitely end up in one of those sarcastically named “Nailed it” photo galleries with my soggy pile of peach monstrosity pictured next to your beautiful cake.
    – Dennis, Life Fermented Blog

    • June 19, 2014 10:01 am

      Thanks, Dennis! Oh man, I’ve been there… I believe year four of grad school was the one where I stressed out about passing my oral exam to advance to PhD candidacy, passed the exam, and then did no work and avoided my advisor for the entire rest of the year…

      Hahaha and yes I suppose I can picture this cake in a pinterest “nailed it” photo gallery — the upside-down cake layer is WAY easier to make than it looks, but I was very nervous about transferring it to the top of the whipped cream/fruit filling… it just took a little confidence and one swift spatula movement and it turned out just fine, but I guess that also involved a little luck! :)

  14. June 12, 2014 11:38 am

    Congratulations! you sure have a lot to celebrate, this cake looks lovely, Pinned!

  15. Debbie Spivey permalink
    June 12, 2014 12:23 pm

    What a beautiful cake. Wish I like peaches…

    • Debbie Spivey permalink
      June 12, 2014 12:24 pm


    • June 19, 2014 10:03 am

      THANK YOU!! :)

      Oh and if you don’t like peaches, you could still try making this cake with either nectarines, plums, or pears (or a combination of those). It might even work okay with apples too, but I haven’t tested that out to see if they’d get a long enough baking time…

      • Debbie Spivey permalink
        June 19, 2014 10:39 am

        I bet you are right about the other fruits. I may just have to do some experimenting. :)

  16. June 12, 2014 12:31 pm

    Congrats on finishing grad school!!! What a delightful celebration cake :D I can’t claim to have anything nearly as grand to celebrate, but I’ll be making this cake nonetheless!

    • June 19, 2014 10:05 am

      Thank you!! Yep, I come from a family where you don’t ever actually need a *reason* to celebrate… when I was a kid, my mom would sometimes decide we were having strawberry shortcake for dinner, just because it was a Tuesday! Hope you enjoy it. :)

  17. June 12, 2014 1:21 pm

    wow!!!!!!!! DELICIOUS!

  18. June 12, 2014 1:26 pm

    Congratulations, Allison! I was in a wedding in Minnesota three weeks ago on a rainy, stormy night, and my ankles were chewed up by mosquitoes! Gross, but super fun.

    • June 19, 2014 10:36 am

      Thanks, Brianne! Yep, that’s summer in the Midwest… my nostalgia for the thunderstorms will never outweigh my hatred of the mosquitoes!

  19. June 12, 2014 2:13 pm

    Felicidades on your phD and on your sister’s wedding and your own wedding. What a beautiful cake. Your photos are stunning. I too dated my husband for 12 years before we got married. Oh how I want this cake.

    • June 19, 2014 10:38 am

      Thank you, Amanda! Yep, my younger sister and my oldest sister both were with their husbands (! …feels so strange to say that about my little sis…) for over 10 years before getting married. With my other older sister, it must have been for something like 5 years… so Paula and I will be setting the record at just under 4! :)

  20. Jenine permalink
    June 12, 2014 3:01 pm

    I’ve enjoyed your words, your pix and your enthusiasm for food for a long time now. Congrats on your degree, what an accomplishment!

    • June 19, 2014 10:40 am

      Thanks so much, Jenine! I really appreciate that you took the time to comment on this one — I love hearing from people who have been reading along for a while — thanks for sticking around! :)

  21. June 12, 2014 3:27 pm

    A beautiful post. Congratulations (in advance) to you and to your sister. Seven years for Ph.D. not too shabby! You must be thrilled. It took me a full 12 years (never have a baby in the middle of your dissertation- it becomes even more of an albatross). Your photo’s are gorgeous- I think I put two pounds on just looking at the pictures.

    • June 19, 2014 10:42 am

      Thank you, Hilary! And yeah, I actually thought seven years was not too shabby either… I know what you mean about the combination of kids+dissertations since I have some friends going through that… I’m impressed you stuck with it that long! (Especially since there were many times I thought about quitting even during my 7 years!)

  22. June 12, 2014 4:28 pm

    Big huge smile from me! Congratulations. And take a look at this celebratory cake, it’s beautiful. Welcome back doctor! :)

  23. June 12, 2014 6:34 pm

    Wow, this looks so delicious! What a great seasonal dessert! My kiddos would totally love this. Definitely going to have to give it a try. I love peaches and cream!!!

  24. June 12, 2014 9:48 pm

    Congratulations!!! I Since i’m now working on my dissertation, I envy whom got a PhD. ^^

  25. June 13, 2014 1:11 am

    What a lovely post bursting with love and joy and anything as golden and thick with peaches and cream must be a hit. Congratulations to you x

    • June 19, 2014 10:59 am

      Thank you, Deena! It was a hit — with me and Paula… after I took these photos, we actually ate most of this cake just between the two of us! Haha.

  26. June 13, 2014 2:50 am

    Congrats on all accounts! Think I may just refer to you as Dr Cake after this gorgeous effort.

  27. June 13, 2014 3:31 am

    Congrats, and what a beautiful looking cake!

  28. June 13, 2014 6:00 pm

    congrats all round! Love the cake.

  29. bec {daisy and the fox} permalink
    June 13, 2014 10:28 pm

    what a perfect way to celebrate :)
    this sounds and looks de-lic-ious!

    Bec {Daisy and the Fox}

    • June 19, 2014 11:27 am

      Thank you, Bec! It was delicious! …and the celebrations continue… we are not done celebrating yet, and I don’t think I’ll be done celebrating the end of grad school for a long time to come! :)

  30. afracooking permalink
    June 15, 2014 1:43 am

    Dear Dr. congratulations! What an eventful time. Your post brought so many smiles to my face. So many beautiful moments! And what a fabulous cake to celebrate it (Stunning pictures as always!)

  31. June 15, 2014 2:26 am

    You really have had a busy few days! Your cake looks wonderful :)

  32. June 16, 2014 4:35 am

    HUGE congratulations for all the things! Your new title (because i know how extremely hard you worked for that), your follower count…all the yays! And congrats to your sister also on her wedding: you’ve had a busy last few months, for sure.

    and this CAKE: this cake is my everything. I’ve made one very similar, but only as a little single-layer number versus a big, happy double-layer party cake! it looks gorgeous. upside-down cakes are so entirely sexy in the summer.

    • June 20, 2014 9:22 am

      Thank you, Shannon!! I agree with you about upside-down cakes… in testing this out, I also made it as a single-layer first, and it was a little less tall and grand but just as summery and delicious. :)

  33. June 16, 2014 10:10 am

    Congrats, Allison!

  34. June 19, 2014 1:35 pm

    – アリソン せんせい, おめでとうございます!!! Also, Congratulations to your sister, Jess+husband and your entire family! One auspicious event after another.
    – This is an amazing looking cake with perfect ingredients. Lovely sweet recipe post to announce happy & sweet milestones of you and your family.

  35. June 27, 2014 1:00 am

    Congrats on your PHD!!!!!!!! I’m just one dissertation away and it’s killing me slowly so I know how big of a feat that is! And this cake looks so so so divine and perfect for summer. Save me a slice!

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