Even though it’s after Labor Day, I’m not quite ready to let go of summer. Though I love fall, and the thought of wearing boots and scarves again sends a little thrill up my spine, I’m still holding on to peaches, berries, and eating outside for as long as I can. I know that soon, the farmer’s market will be filled with apples and squash for months, so I’m happy to enjoy the last summer fruit for as long as I can. This cake could also be made with plums or any kind of berries (as Deb does on Smitten Kicthen) — I think that the buttermilk and lemon zest pair wonderfully with them all.
Peach Buttermilk Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 large peaches, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.
At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter peach slices evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.