Peach, Cardamom, and Saffron Cake

Nik Sharma

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This is a busy summer, and I’ve embarked on the process of remodeling the house. Of course, the idea to do this started with my kitchen! When we moved into this home a year ago I fell in love with the kitchen and the garden. But as time progressed, I realized working in this kitchen became a challenge. The layout wasn’t practical, the larger appliances need to be updated, and I needed a place where I could use my kitchen for work but also entertainment. Over the next couple of months, you can follow my progress (the ups and downs) of gutting and remodeling a kitchen over at Instagram.
In some exciting book-related news, The Flavor Equation is now nominated for two award categories at the IACP book awards this year – General Cooking and Photography and Styling. This week, I’ve got a peach cake for you. Summer’s juiciest bright peaches are layered on top of a fragrant cake batter made with saffron and green cardamom. The cake is then painted with a rich layer of peach jam to give it a shiny glaze, boost that peach flavor, and lock in the moisture in those fresh peaches.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Peach, Cardamom, and Saffron Cake

Summer’s juiciest bright peaches are layered on top of a fragrant cake batter made with saffron and green cardamom. The cake is then painted with a rich layer of peach jam to give it a shiny glaze, boost that peach flavor, and lock in the moisture in those fresh peaches.

  • Yield: 9 by 13 inch/23cm by 33cm rectangular cake/12 servings

Ingredients

¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed plus extra to grease the baking dish

3 large/each about 250 g ripe but firm yellow peaches (or nectarines)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp fine sea salt

1 cup sugar

20 strands of saffron

½ tsp ground green cardamom

4 large eggs, at room temperature

½ cup peach jam or preserves

2 Tbsp boiling water

Instructions

Grease a 9 in by 13 in/23 cm by 33 cm rectangular pan with a little unsalted butter and line with parchment paper. Leave a 2 in/5 cm overhang of parchment paper on the longer sides of the pan; this will help lift the cake out of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

Rinse the peaches under running tap water. Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to completely submerge the peaches and bring it to a boil over high heat. Carefully drop the peaches in and poach them for 20 to 30 seconds; remove them with a slotted spoon, place them on a cutting board, and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle. Once cooled, peel and discard the skin, it should come off quickly, and you won’t need to use a peeler. Remove and discard the stone and cut the peach into ¼ in/6 mm thick wedges.

In a large bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and fine sea salt.

Place the butter, sugar, saffron, and green cardamom in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat over medium speed until it turns pale white and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottoms of the bowl down. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined, over medium speed, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides and the bottom of the bowl down after each addition.

Add the whisked dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients in the bowl, mix over low speed, and beat until there are no streaks of flour visible, 1 to 1 ½ minutes.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and level with an offset spatula. Layer the sliced peaches on top of the cake. Bake the cake in the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife or skewer inserted through the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

While the cake cools, prepare the glaze. Mix the peach jam or preserves with the boiling water and brush the glaze over the surface of the warm cake.

The cake can be served warm or at room temperature. This cake will stay good for up to 3 to 4 days if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes

  • Yellow nectarines are the perfect substitute for peaches in this cake, you still need to poach them to get rid of the skin.
  • When poaching the peaches, if you want to use less water, use a smaller saucepan that can hold a single peach, and poach each peach one at a time. I do this because poaching takes a few seconds and this is less wasteful.
  • Instead of adding the saffron and cardamom to the dry ingredients, I add them to the butter. The color pigment in saffron and the aromatic molecules in the two spices are fat-soluble. The fat grabs onto these flavor molecules quickly and the cake batter turns uniformly golden.
  • The cake pan I use is from Nordic Ware, it’s a pretty solid performer and I love it. Just don’t stick it in the dishwasher, it will ruin the coating (it’s still useable but it will look hideous).
  • You can use any type of peach jam or preserve, go with one with a simple flavor or cardamom to match the cake or else it might take away from the spices in this cake. I use the Bon Maman brand.

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