Peach Upside-Down Cake & How to Cut Ripe Peaches

Peach Upside-Down Cake

I saw this cake on FatFree Vegan Kitchen a few days ago, and I was devastated. I had, the night before, sat down and eaten every peach I had because they were all ripe and I hadn’t come up with a plan for them fast enough. Peaches and pears, the most elusively ripening fruits in the universe! “Not yet not yet not yet not yet not yet NOW! Too late!”

Summer PeachesSo I sliced them all up, divided them between two bowls and my husband and I ate them in one sitting. Now, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy them just as they were, unblemished, sweet and juicy. But when I read Susan’s post the next day, my heart sank. I wanted that cake! I wanted it right then!

Thankfully few days later I got another round of peaches from our CSA. And then a miracle happened – the ripened to perfection on the coolest day we’ve had in a long while. Why, it was downright chilly today! I could actually use the oven! The gods of ripened fruit had smiled upon me, and I was going to have my cake!

Peach Upside-Down CakeThis sounds like the set up for bad news, but I assure you, there is no bad news. The cake is delicious. And the recipe is easy. I made it as Susan wrote it (with the optional added sugar, because I apparently am just begging for adult onset diabetes) and it worked out great! I think next time I will add some dollops of earth balance over the peaches to balance the sugary glaze with a savory note, but I’m seriously nit-picking here. This is a gem of a cake. You need to make it!

I discovered last week, however, that peeling a ripe peach can be a messy process. The darn things are downright unforgiving if you mishandle them. They will turn to mush in your hands, leaving you with a pile of glop roughly assembled around a pit. Granted, it’s a tasty pile of glop, but it’s glop nevertheless.

I know everyone says blanching peaches is the way to go. The skins come right off and all is well in the world. But I don’t want to blanch my peaches! I apparently cannot be troubled to boil water. It is a pain in the butt, right? For peaches? I don’t want to cook them, I want to eat them. Below is a tutorial for those of you who desire pretty peach slices without blanching. Now you have no excuse not to make Susan’s cake!

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 1Begin by using a small, sharp paring knife to cut along the peach’s natural divide. Insert the knife until you feel the pit, then move the peach around the knife (not the other way around!) until you have a clean cut dividing the peach.

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 2Place your thumbs were the stem of the peach was and gently pry the two halves apart. If your peach is overripe, you may have some trouble here, as the force you need to use will crush the peach before it separates it. Take your time if this happens, but just ripe peaches will separate fine

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 3Now you have the two halves, one side containing the pit. This isn’t really a step, I just like adding in photos for no reason, apparently. Sometimes you can pry the pit out with your fingers at this step, but some peaches won’t let you win that easy. You might need loosen it a little more before you try, as shown in the next step.

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 4Cut the pit-side in half, running your knife up along the pit. With really ripe peaches, you need to be careful even holding them. I definitely have accidently made thumb prints in the sides of what was otherwise a totally unblemished peach simply because I grasped it too roughly.

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 5Now you should be able to pry these to halves apart. Again, be gentle.

You’re almost done. Try separating it from the other end if it begins to get mushy on you. Also, don’t lick the peach juice off your hands in front of guests!

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 6Remove the pit and toss it. Or, you know, don’t toss it. Collect them and play games with them. The more adventurous among you can carve them into the likeness of Abe Lincoln. I’m not kidding.

I wouldn’t mind a peach pit ring. I’m a size 5.

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 7Now cut the peach pieces you have so you have eight even slices.

How to Make Nice Peach Slices, 8The slices will be small enough that you can easily peel the skin off with your fingers. I’ve tried peeling the skin from larger slices, and it just doesn’t work.

Now all you have to do is make that cake!

Pouring batter over peaches


  1. SusanV

    Whoa! Your cake looks as gorgeous as I knew it would! I see you arranged your slices in nice concentric circles. I’m too lazy to bother with that (though I did boil water to blanch the peaches), but your photos prove it is worth the extra step.

    So glad you liked the cake. And thanks for the links to peach pit carving. If I get tired of making cakes, I may take that up as a new hobby!

  2. nina

    wow that sure looks yummy! I love your demonstration. Can we use riped banana slices instead of peaches?? Thanks a lot!

  3. veganpi

    Yummy! Now I want peaches.

    Personally, I’ve never bothered to peel peaches when I bake with them. I’ve made lots of cobblers with the skin on and they come out fine. It is all due to laziness though. I’m glad to know an easy way to peel them now though!

  4. teeni

    I just saw that recipe at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen also and am wanting to make it. I’m glad i stopped by here first though (through the 24-hour kitchen) because I can definitely use those tips about the peaches. Thank you. Oh, and congrats on the cookbook. I’ll be looking for it!

  5. Annie

    I made this cake today and enjoyed the bounty of ripe fruit. Thank you SO MUCH for that peach peeling advice. I hate the blanching process–this saves so much time. I’ll eat a lot more peach dishes now thanks to that tip.

  6. Sarena

    I saw that recipe the other day and I wanted to make it too! My peaches aren’t quite ready yet! Thank you for the pictures on peeling the peaches too! That is really helpful. I always bruise the crap out of mine too! Great shot on the cake. Now I really want to make it!

  7. KiKI

    o my god, I just made this cake on the weekend… I’ve wait for days to make this… This is my 1st Vegan receipt, and my family could not believe that it is vegan! They asked me so many time to many all the ingredients are vegan, they even made me took out the soy milk to read them the ingredients!

    I love this cake… will def. try to change it up with Apples or Pineapples :)

  8. chosha

    Just letting you know I tagged you as a thinking blogger. I’m not fussed if you do the meme or not, but just thought I’d let you know. :)

  9. Rose

    What a gorgeous cake. I usually use pears or apples for upside down cakes, but never thought of using peaches. Spunds so delicious.

  10. Alex

    I don’t know if you like apples as much as Esther and I do, but our CSA farm had apples for sale from a farm in Belchertown, and it was divine! So exciting to get the first apple of the season. :)

  11. esme

    gory asked me what kind of engagement ring i wanted. i told him that i wanted him to carve me a peach pit ring. ha! thanks for the idea! i’m interested in seeing how long this takes :)

  12. Sarah

    This is the second time I’ve seen that delicious-looking peach cake! I’m making that this weekend for sure!

    Love the step by step peach demo!

  13. Bronwyn

    I made this cake for a dinner party and it was a smash! SO good! For whatever reason, I had to make two batches of batter to completely cover the peaches – I think my skillet was 10 or 11 inches, rather than 9. I love how dense and almost doughy the base is… I could eat this all summer.

    I’m making the cappellini in the previous entry for tomorrow’s supper, I hope it comes out as well as this one! Tonight’s was vegan homemade pizza [and sauce, of course!] and balsamic & soy sauce grilled asparagus spears, eaten like french fries. Delicious!

  14. Cath

    After this I really want to make this cake =P It looks amazing, I usually go here everyday to see your recipes and check for new posts but only today I decided to comment :)

  15. Lindsay

    A friend sent a link to your entry of cupcakes with marzipan “knitted” decorations. Wow!

    My daughter is in pastry school and has had a hard time getting her instructors to let her work on more vegetarian & vegan options. Having been a vegetarian for 20 years (am I that old?!), gelatin has long been kicked out of my diet, so she is sensitive to the number of people out there looking for other options. I can’t wait to show her your work!

    And I am signing up for your cookbook. YUM!

  16. Linda

    I’m trying to eat closer to the way things grow in the earth, but man, oh man, is that one awesome looking cake. My husband’s birthday is coming up, and I may let that be my excuse for making it!

    Thanks. This is my first posting, by the way, though I have been reading (and admiring) your blog for months now. I’m trying to lose weight and I appreciate the great recipes with nutritional analyzes.

  17. Talisma

    Well… your blog is fantastic !!! Beautiful pictures… it’s quite difficult to find a vegan restaurant in Paris and in France… so thanks for all these great ideas !!!

  18. alita

    Hi Lolo,
    it’s strange that I’ve just found your blog and this recipe was on top. :)
    Strange because recently I was making similar cake, but it was with apricots instead of peaches and … unfortnately I can’t say ot was fat free..
    However if eaten in small quantitites – ravageously delicious :)
    find the ten differences :)

    Good luck with the food blog awards!

  19. Linda, The Village Vegetable

    alright, i admit it. i’ve had peaches and yoghurt for lunch everyday for the last month. i can’t get enough of those juicy beauties. While traveling in Turkey, I experienced the best peaches to ever touch my lips. Since my return, i’ve been obsessively eating the things for fear the season will end sooner than later.

    your photos are lovely. susan has a brilliant blog, doesn’t she? i’ve yet to try this one myself but its in the works.

  20. bindiya

    Hi Lolo,
    Have been a religious reader of yours, but want to comment the first time, reason being u r so inspirational ,have started blogging myself since i too am extremely passionate bout food, my open-faced sandwiches have been inspired by yours !,know u r extremely tied-up but do visit, i would be glad ,will be trying this cake recipe soon and your tips are great,
    you simply rock!

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