Make the most of summer's juicy peaches with this simple take on a classic Southern dessert.

Part of the fun of going peach-picking is coming up with fruity recipes to use up your harvest. Everyone loves a rich, buttery upside-down cake, so why not use peaches instead of pineapples?

Start off with the best fruit you can find—soft to the touch and fragrant. I used a mix of yellow and white peaches, but you could even use canned or frozen if you're in a pinch. Just be sure to drain the fruit well and use the equivalent of about two cups of peach slices.

To make this recipe a little easier, I used a boxed cake mix and doctored it up a little bit. If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, prepare the butter and sugar mixture in a regular frying pan, pour into a cake pan, and proceed with the recipe as written.


Ingredients (serves 6-8)

For the peach topping:

1/4 cup salted butter (half a stick)
3 T. light brown sugar
4 large peaches, peeled and sliced

For the cake batter:

1 box Betty Crocker pound cake mix (16oz. package)
1/4 cup softened salted butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

In a cast-iron skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and let it cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and arrange the peaches in a spiral pattern in the butter-sugar mixture. Set aside while you make the cake batter.

peach slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake batter according to the instructions on the box, mixing the eggs, butter, and milk before adding the dry mix. I add in the sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla to punch up the flavor a bit and to keep the cake moist. You can also sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg directly onto the peaches as well. Mix in all the extra add-ins well and carefully pour the batter over the peaches.

Bake according to the cake mix instructions on the box and test the center of the cake with a toothpick. If it doesn't come out clean, bake for another 3–5 minutes.

cake, cast-iron pan

Let the cake cool for a full 20 minutes before plating. Run a butter knife around the edge and lay a plate on top. Quickly flip it over, and the cake should slide right out. That's the beauty of using a cast-iron pan! Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or on its own. 

peach upside down cake

Keep any leftover cake in the refrigerator and reheat it briefly before serving.

If you'd prefer to make the cake layer from scratch, use any standard vanilla pound cake recipe. Martha Stewart's version is very dense and buttery. The Betty Crocker box mix yields a nice, tender cake that keeps well. If you have more peaches to use up, peel and chop another two and fold them into the cake batter before baking. 

**All of the photos in this article are by Sarina Petrocelly.

Do you have a favorite peach dessert recipe, or better yet, a no-fail upside-down cake recipe? Tell us about it in the comments!