My friend Sarah is visiting us in Sydney this week. She is originally from the north of England and was one of the first people I met in Amsterdam back in 2006. After 9 years in Amsterdam, Sarah has decided to move back to London, and is undertaking a bit of a world trip before her new job starts in October. Lucky her.
And lucky us – its been fantastic having Sarah staying with us. Not only have I had a chance to play tourist for a week, do some beautiful walks around Sydney, and check out Sydney’s rooftop terraces, but Sarah also loves cooking. Her mum owned and ran a bakery for over 40 years, so Sarah knows how to bake! Something that is not really my speciality.
We decided to spend a day cooking in the CookSophieCook studio (aka my tiny, red, overflowing kitchen). It has been fun having a partner in crime in the kitchen, and also a fabulous hand model / assistant photographer. Sarah browsed through my (extensive) range of cookbooks and decided on this delicious cake from one of my favourite cookbooks, My Darling Lemon Thyme. I’ve raved about this cookbook before, and have cooked many recipes from it: for anyone who wants a cookbook that you’ll actually cook from, with flavour-packed, straight forward recipes based on healthy, accessible ingredients, I would recommend purchasing it.
I usually prefer to cook with ingredients which are local and in season. Although its not yet summertime here, with the sun in Sydney this week it has sometimes felt like it, and our supermarket has started stocking peaches (probably straight from the bounteous supply in the US). The recipe uses tiny golden peaches and Emma suggests that you can use any seasonal fruit in this recipe, but we couldn’t resist a small glimpse into summer.
The recipe is simple, easy to follow and the cake is absolutely delicious. We have been eating it for the past couple of days (it has lasted three days wrapped in aluminium foil outside of the fridge, and is still delicious), and packing it for our day trips around Sydney (and the occasional afternoon in, writing this!). The cake serves 10-12 slices.
- 1 and 1/2 cups of unrefined raw sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 4-6 medium sized peaches
- 180g butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup ground almonds (I blended almonds in my high speed blender for 60 seconds)
- 1 cup fine brown rice flour (I blended brown rice in my high speed blender for 60 seconds)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- More yoghurt (for serving)
- Prepare the cake tin by greasing and lining with baking paper the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Wash peaches, cut in half and remove their pits.
- In a small heavy based saucepan, make a caramel by mixing half a cup of the sugar and water over high heat. Bring to boil, without stirring (if you stir it, the caramel will crystallise and spoil), and then simmer for 4-5 minutes. Pour immediately into lined cake tin.
- Sprinkle rosemary into the caramel, and then place the peach halves (where the pit was) onto the caramel in the cake tin. Set aside.
- Cut the butter into cubes. In a deep bowl, cream the butter cubes, one cup of the sugar and vanilla extract with a wooden spoon until light and creamy [Note: you can also use an electric mixer if you have one – and don’t want to develop some serious arm muscles]. Gradually add the eggs, little by little, mixing well as you go.
- Gradually stir in the almonds, brown rice flour and baking powder. Add the zest of the lemon and yoghurt and combine.
- Pour batter over the peaches in the cake tin. Place a baking sheet on the lower shelf to avoid any leaking caramel, put the cake on top and then bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes until the cake is ready, checking now and again to make sure its not burning. Once its out of the oven, cool for 10 minutes, and then invert onto a serving plate. Eat “as is”, or serve with yoghurt.