Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake

drink your cake and eat it too

Someone once said that they refuse to go outside when it’s raining in New York City because it turns into “garbage soup”. That could not be a more accurate description. Everything just seems to come together into a giant puddle of blech when it rains here. In some other places, rain can be “refreshing” or “fun” or a number of other descriptors, but here, it’s just a huge pain in my ass. My purse already weighs 10 pounds, what with my wallet, a water bottle (because I am a freak about having water on my at all times; this probably stems from living in the desert), a cell phone, and whatever else I feel the need to carry, but tack on a heavy umbrella and I’m already mad. Then there’s the water itself, coming out of the sky like a bat out of hell. It’s either pouring, in which case the umbrella I’m trying to protect myself with is completely useless because it’s some cheap $5 variety that I bought at the pharmacy, or it’s misting, also rendering said umbrella useless because the mist comes from all directions, seemingly, even from underneath, and the umbrella does nothing. It’s impossible to not get completely soaked, and it’s impossible to choose proper footwear that is also appropriate for work. I used to have some galoshes, but of course those got a hole in them in about 30 seconds. I hope it stops raining soon, but of course as soon as I say that, it rains for an entire week…which looks like it will be the case. Sigh. Throw me a bone, Earth.

Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake

I wish I had more of this Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake to ease my suffering. It comes from the newest edition of my favorite bakery, Baked in Brooklyn. The book is called Baked Elements: Our Favorite Ingredients and it is genius. They take 10 of their favorite ingredients (i.e. whisky) and create a number of recipes centered around said ingredient. I love the simplicity of the concept and it just so happens that their favorites happen to be mine too. Others include peanut butter, pumpkin, bananas, and, of course, chocolate. I bought this the day it came out and can’t wait to use more recipes from it. This cake is a great example of the kind of straight-forward, yet absolutely delicious, recipes that wait within. The cake itself is similar to a sponge cake – just slightly sweet and lighter than air (and spiked with a bit of bourbon, in my case), while the whisky caramel is sticky, gooey, and loaded with fresh peaches. I know it’s not quite peach season anymore, but you are more than welcome (nay, encouraged) to make it anyway with frozen peaches. This is America and we do what we want, dammit. I will not dictated by the seasons! And neither should you.

Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake
Peel and slice your peaches.

Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake
And break out your bourbon or whisky to make your caramel.

Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake
Pour the caramel into your cake pan, then place the peaches in a pattern on top.

Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake
Whip your egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the cake batter.

Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake
Pour the batter over the peaches and bake until set.

Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake
Allow to cool, slice, and serve!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Whisky Peach Upside-Down Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12 slices
Sweet pound cake loaded with fresh peaches and a whisky caramel sauce.
For the Peaches & Caramel:
  • 3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality whisky or bourbon
  • 1 pound fresh peaches, cut into ½-inch slices (or frozen slices peaches, defrosted on paper towels)
For the Whisky Cake:
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks, plus 2 large egg whites, divided
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk (or regular milk, as I used)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality whisky or bourbon
  • ½ teaspoon cream or tartar
For the Peaches & Caramel:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line and butter your 9-inch cake pan well. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and whisky or bourbon and cook until the sugar has melted and the mixture starts to foam. Remove the mixture from the heat, pour the caramel into the prepared pan, and swirl around to coat it.
  2. Arrange the sliced peaches in a circular pattern on top of the caramel, but don't overload the pan - you may not need all the peaches. Set the pan aside.
For the Whisky Cake:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt, then set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy and smooth, then add in the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks (set aside the whites), one at a time, then add in the oil, vanilla, and almond extracts until just moistened and combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and whisky or bourbon. Add the flour mixture to the bowl alternating with the whisky mixture, starting and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. In a medium bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the 2 egg whites vigorously for 1 minute, then sprinkle in the cream of tartar and continue to whisk until the egg whites form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cake batter, a bit at a time, until fully absorbed.
  5. Pour the batter over the peaches, spread gently to be sure it is even, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is cooked through and a toothpick comes out clean. The cake will be quite browned on top - don't worry about it! Transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow to cool for 25-30 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a cake stand or a plate. Let the cake cool completely, slice, and serve. This cake will keep well in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


13 Responses

  1. This looks divine! The peaches, that creamy batter, the whiskey. Wow!

    And garbage soup…so true about big cities in bad weather. Growing up in the midwest and Chicago, anyone who has lived in snowy weather knows that snow is not white and beautiful. It turns black as it soaks up the city sludge. Living in San Diego now, people here think snow is ‘pretty’. Yeah, for 1 day. lol

  2. I love whisky in anything, but especially cake! This looks fantastic.

  3. Totally know what you mean about rain in the city- you should get a good pair of wellies, though! I originally had a pair from J.Crew and within two months they had holes on the bottoms- then I got some from a gardening supply store- black, utilitarian, but totally functional, and I’ve had them for four years now! I wear them all the time, and no complaints.

    That being said, this cake is gorgeous and I am stockpiling amazing-looking recipes like this one for when I finally have some cake pans of my very own :)

  4. Lynna says:

    Oh wow, I never knew that about rain in the city! >_<

    But this cake look amazinggg to have on a bad weather day.

  5. I think I should be grateful for living in a city that never rains! As for this cake – AMAZING! What’s not to like? Boozy upside down cake trumps all cakes :)

  6. liz says:

    you can have my 80+ degree sunshine, and i will take your rain.

    i am -not- joking. it’s october. i want it to look and act like it, dammit.

  7. Erin says:

    I wanted to go to the event for this book at Greenlight last night but got caught up in other things. I may have to cave and buy the cookbook…it taunts me every day on my way to and from work (I’m the new baker at Greene Grape Annex)!

  8. That looks so good! I just posted a peach recipe and have another coming. As long as they’re in the stores, I’ll be buying and baking with them. I can’t wait to get that cookbook. Oh and that about the rain, that’s just another reason I’ll never be a New Yorker.

  9. Lovely piece of writing – I chuckled the whole way through your rain rant…though I can’t say I agree about being us not being dictated by the seasons :)
    Great recipe – love the bourbon & caramel combo!

  10. Laura says:

    Oh that is gorgeous. I have always wanted to make an upside down cake, but for some reason still never have.

  11. Deb says:

    Adore the rebel yell! Reminds me of a recent interview I did. I was asked if I did all my grocery shopping at the Farmer’s Market, really?
    I said no, I shop at the grocery store for the basics, whenever I must have an ingredient or am in a hurry. Geez! And I certainly can see the allure of making the Whiskey Upside Cake now, what an enchanting dessert!

  12. LenopePoint says:

    Great looking cake! … and I see the post is a couple of years old, so looking forward to catching up! As far as New York & garbage soup, as a native New Yorker, I’ve seen this city crowd by 3 times as much in a very short span. 15 years ago, the L train was empty (yes, every cart!) and the better (less slummy) areas smelled beautiful after the rain. The reason why there’s so much garbage now has to do with all the imports from all over the world (but especially states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Jersey & Connecticut) packing themselves into areas never meant to be zoned as residential (like most of Brooklyn, ha!) … and with that comes an influx of restaurants & bars … feeding the rats & roaches. And that’s all this generation has to say for itself – nothing about music – but suddenly, everyone’s a foodie. That’s the new culture here. New York isn’t garbage soup, it’s people soup. (-:

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