1. Peach Melba upside-down cake

    PeachMelbaUpsideDownCake.jpgClick on topmost title to open

    If you fear baking, it is probably because you have never learned how to do it. Baking Basics and Beyond, Second Edition by Pat Sinclair takes the fear out of baking with clear, simple recipes for elegant, tempting desserts.  This Peach Melba upside-down cake is perfect if you want a delicious cake to celebrate International Women’s Day. I love this cake with champagne. I often bake peach desserts with well-drained high quality frozen peaches when fresh are not in season. They are frozen at peak flavour and fabulous in baked items. I always use fresh berries. 


    Peach Melba upside-down cake:

    Peach Melba was created to honor Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian opera singer. Now a classic, any dessert containing peaches and raspberries is named Peach Melba. In the summer, juicy ripe peaches and tangy-tart raspberries contrast with the caramelized topping and tender cake. A little whipped cream makes it complete. 

    This recipe makes 9 servings: 


    1⁄4 cup (57 g) butter, melted

    2⁄3 cup (150 g) firmly-packed brown sugar

    2 medium peaches, peeled and sliced

    1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice

    ½ cup (75 g) fresh raspberries



    1 1⁄4 cups (151 g) all-purpose flour

    1 cup (200 g) sugar

    1½ teaspoons (7.5 mL) baking powder

    1⁄4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt

    ½ cup (114 g) butter, room temperature

    1⁄4 cup (59 mL) milk

    2 eggs, lightly beaten

    1 teaspoon (5 mL) almond extract

    Heat oven to 350°F (180°C), with the rack in middle.



    Place melted butter and brown sugar in bottom of 9×9-inch (22.5×22.5-cm) baking pan.

    Toss peaches with lemon juice and add to pan. Add raspberries and gently poke them into the brown sugar.



    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Add softened butter, milk, eggs, and almond extract and beat on low speed until well mixed. Scrape down sides of bowl.


    Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Pour batter over the fruit.

    Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown and cake springs back when touched lightly. You can test it with a toothpick, but insert it only into the cake. Remove the cake from oven and cool five minutes on a wire cooling rack.

    You need to remove the cake from the pan while it’s still warm, so the topping will come out easily. Loosen the edges of the cake with a small metal spatula and cover the cake with a serving plate. Carefully invert the cake onto the serving plate. If any topping remains in the pan, remove it with a spatula and gently spread it over the cake.


    Serve warm or at room temperature. Store the cake in refrigerator.


    Baker’s notes:


    To peel the peaches, drop them into boiling water for 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop them into cold water. The skins will slip off easily.


    If you don’t have a large serving plate, invert the cake using the back of a 15×10-inch (37.5×25-cm) jellyroll pan covered with aluminum foil.


    Secret to success:


    Because the cake is prepared using the quick, or one-bowl, method, the butter must be very soft. Allow the butter to sit at room temperature about two hours before using.


    Top Tips for Successful Baking from Pat Sinclair:


    Read the entire recipe before beginning.


    Assemble all your ingredients on the counter before starting so you are aware of anything you are missing.


    Carefully follow the directions and prepare the recipe as written the first time you prepare it. You can try variations the next time.


    Measure ingredients accurately. Use dry measuring cups for solids and glass measuring cups for liquids.


    Always use the size pan specified in the recipe. If your pan isn’t the right size, the baking time won’t be accurate.


    Use an oven thermometer and check your oven temperature for accuracy. If possible, adjust the thermostat on the oven properly. You can also correct any error by adjusting your oven setting.


    Take a quick peak about 1 or 2 minutes before the timer goes off. Your oven may bake faster than others.


    Always use high-quality ingredients such as pure vanilla extract and unsalted butter. The better your ingredients, the better your results.