When you hear the words "upside-down cake," they are usually in the context of a pineapple and maraschino cherry confection. But these days, any type of fruit, including peaches, plums, and pears, can be used.
This peach upside-down cake is fast and easy to prepare because it starts with a cake mix. The irresistible dessert is soaked with sweet fruit juices and topped with caramelized brown sugar for a moist treat. It can be baked in one rectangular cake pan or two 8-inch round cake pans.
How did the upside-down cake become embedded in the culinary repertoire of nearly every home cook? Bakers have been cooking cakes "upside-down" in cast-iron skillets and flipping them out onto a serving platter for hundreds of years, but it wasn't until the mid-1800s that they got the name "spider cakes" because the cast-iron skillets were known as "spiders."
With the advent of canned fruit by the Dole company in the early 20th century, in particular pineapple cut into perfect rings, the upside-down cake really took off. Topped with maraschino cherries for a pop of color, canned fruit became the convenient, preferred way to make upside-down cakes.
Gather the ingredients. Heat the oven to 350 F.
Pour the melted butter or oil into a 9x13x2-inch baking pan or divide the batter between two (8-inch) round cake pans. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly in the pan(s).
Drain the peaches, reserving the syrup.
Arrange the sliced peaches and some maraschino cherry halves, if using, over the brown sugar.
Add enough water to the reserved peach juice to make 1 1/3 cups of liquid.
In a medium bowl, add peach liquid and eggs to the cake mix. Beat as directed on the cake mix package. Pour the batter over the fruit.
Bake in the heated oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Let stand 5 minutes and then turn upside down onto a cake dish or large platter.
Serve warm with whipped cream. Enjoy!
- Yellow cake works best for this recipe, but a white cake mix also works well.
- If you are concerned about the cake sticking to the pan, line the bottom of the 9x13 cake pan with a rectangle of parchment or the two cake pans with circles of parchment paper.
- Substitute a drained (28-ounce) can of pineapple rings or sliced pears for the peaches, or use fresh unpeeled sliced plums or nectarines.