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PIECE OF CAKE, PEACE OF MIND

Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time


I feel like I’m settling into this “real life” thing pretty well judging from the fact that I am having trouble thinking of things to write in this post. Or maybe that just means that my fears as of late are accurate, and I’ve aged roughly forty years in the past six weeks.

I wake up early 7 days/week, my joints bother me in yoga, I get tired a lot, and I enjoy staying in on the weekends. Sometimes my friends don’t let me get away with it, like this past weekend, which was filled with people I have and haven’t seen in the past couple of months. But sometimes I do get away with it, and it’s awesome. I just have trouble coping with the fact that at the end of a friend-filled weekend, I’m dreading heading into work tomorrow. It feels like I didn’t really have a break at all.

But it was actually really nice to see everyone, and to take a slight break from law school applications (ugh.). On Friday, Rachel, Kevin & I checked out a German restaurant in the Mission called Schmidt’s. We got a pickle plate (amazing), sausage plates, and all different beers. The wild boar sausage that I ordered was pretty tasty, though not as exotic as I half-hoped it would be, and came with a mountain of potato salad and sauerkraut. My kind of restaurant. Maybe my favorite part was just ordering a half lemonade, half alster. Reminded me of my days exploring Europe as an 18 year old…and also made me wonder why beer & lemonade isn’t a more common thing in the US. It’s so good!

Saturday I trekked to good ol’ Berkeley for the football game against Ohio State. The results of the game need not be mentioned here. A bunch of friends from out of town came to the east bay to relive a bit of our youthful glory (yes, I do realize I’m only 22) with some beer and burgers. It was great catching up with everyone and seeing the little changes that are always progressively happening, like Safeway on College being knocked down for renovation, FINALLY.

And finally, today, Kevin had some friends over to watch the game while he barbecued. At this point, it might seem like I care a lot about football, but I don’t. My favorite part of the sport is definitely its strong ties to food. I took full advantage of this connection today and eagerly baked a peach almond upside down cake this morning. It’s a recipe I’ve used before a loooong time ago, but I remembered liking it a lot. Plus, I needed to find a way to use up the last few peaches of the season, since, though I hate to admit it, we are entering fall. At least pie season is just around the corner!

Kevin stuffed us with burgers and Rachel brought chicken to make skewers with. I was pretty full at this point, but Nick decided to make a huge bowl of guacamole, which I’m always a sucker for, and then there were the taquitos…Did I say I didn’t like football? Right, because it has this incredible ability to make the obese person within me come out. I had finally decided on taking a break before going for dessert when Shubir insidiously asked if he could have a slice of cake. When I brought it out from the kitchen, he told me he didn’t want to cut first, and so, I really had no choice but to eat a slice then and there. And I was clearly forced to eat it with a scoop of Three Twins vanilla ice cream on the side. I had no choice, because I was watching football.

The cake came out really well. I remembered why I liked it the last time–it has a nice subtle almond flavor and isn’t too sweet. The cake itself is dense but moist and holds up against the syrup that drips through the top. And, it has peaches on it, and any dessert that makes me think it’s still summertime is fine by me. I mean, it even looks like a sun!

The first step of the recipe, creating the caramelized syrup that goes on the bottom/top of the cake, is the most difficult/unusual part. Otherwise, it’s really straightforward and easy to make. I think this is definitely one of those recipes that looks like it was harder than it was. A crowd pleaser, too. A trick for peeling peaches: cut an ‘X’ in the bottom of each peach and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Quickly move all the peaches to an ice bath and let them cool down. The skins should slide right off. Voila!

I’m going wine tasting on Saturday next week, but I’m a little bit embarrassed to say I’m looking forward to also spending some time at home working on apps and just generally being alone the rest of the weekend. The thrilling life of a newly graduated 20-something rages on!

Peach Almond Upside Down Cake

from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 medium peaches or nectarines, pitted and cut into 6 wedges each
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch-round cake pan. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water and cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth and deep golden brown, 8 to 11 minutes. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and tilt to coat the bottom. Arrange the peach wedges snugly in the bottom of the pan in a single layer, cutting to fit if needed.
  2. Combine the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground.
  3. Beat the remaining 7 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture; beat in each addition until just incorporated.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 30 minutes. Invert onto a plate and let cool completely. Serve with ice cream (seriously, do it…although whipped cream would probably be a pretty good accessory to this cake too).
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