Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Upside Down Hurricane Irene Peach Cake and a Giveaway

Let me start by saying that I feel extremely lucky to have survived Hurricane Irene with only the loss of power for two days, flooding in the basement and a crushed fence due to a felled tree branch. It was nothing major compared to the loss of life of a member of our First Aid Squad here in Princeton and the suffering still going on in other parts of New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and other states.

Here's a photo of our street, after a huge tree fell across some power lines:

Even with the power out, I was still able to eat well since I have a gas range and a gas grill outdoors. When life throws you a curve ball you've got to make the best of it - an object lesson I have learned too many times in the last year. That's why I took the occasion to experiment and bake a cake on the barbecue grill. I figured it worked years ago when I baked a blueberry cake over an open camp fire - so why wouldn't it work on a grill, where I had more control over the temperature?

I settled on a Peach Cake recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook as a start, but adjusted it, since I was planning to bake it upside-down style in a cast iron skillet. I doubled the cake ingredients and of course, added butter and brown sugar for the upside-down part.

Since there was no electricity, there was no electric mixer, but I pulled out this relic I had picked up at a garage sale years ago. There's a reason these things were invented - they really work. It creamed the butter and sugar no problem. I enlisted my neighbor Sherry, who was looking for something to do amid the power outtage, and put her to work beating the ingredients. It blended everything beautifully. The only problem was that in our chit-chat, I got distracted and added baking soda instead of baking powder.
Yikes -- would it rise? Would it taste ok? Only one way to find out. I preheated my new grill, which has a temperature gauge on the outside, to 350 degrees. I turned the burners on only one side, and placed the cast iron skillet on the other. Then I closed the lid and waited. After 20 minutes, I took a peek and it had risen just fine.


I flipped it over onto a plate, and cut a slice. The verdict? Well, I had to enlist some helpers to let me know what they thought. 
That's where the neighbors come in. An impromptu tea party was called for - so whoever was around gathered on my deck for cake and tea. 
Everyone declared the cake delicious, but maybe they were just being nice. I detected a baking soda flavor. But that won't stop me from making this cake again - next time I'll follow the recipe to the letter.
Now for the giveaway. Since having a tea party can be a fun event, I'm giving away this tea set, which I had been planning to use as a giveaway for quite a while, but never got around to. This brand-new tea service has been sitting on my basement floor, but when I removed things ahead of the hurricane, I rediscovered it.  And one of you readers can own it. Just leave a comment at the end of my blog - not in my email please. You don't need to have your own blog to leave a comment. Just leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.


Upside Down Hurricane Irene Peach Cake


for the cake batter:
8 T. butter
1/2 cup sugar + 2 T.
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
a few gratings of nutmeg

For the top part (when flipped)
4 T. butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
5 or 6 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter and brown sugar. Arrange the peach slices over the sugar and butter. 
For the cake batter, beat the butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs. Sift dry ingredients together. Beat half of dry ingredients into creamed mixture and beat in half of milk. Repeat, beating well. Batter will be thick.
Pour into the pan over the peach/brown sugar/butter mixture. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. If you want to try to bake on the outdoor grill, and you have a temperature gauge on the grill, bring it to 350 degrees, turning on only half the burners. Place the cast iron skillet on the other half of the grill and close lid. Check after 20 minutes and continue baking until toothpick in center comes out clean. Serve warm if possible.




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53 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'm so glad you survived Irene! Wow, the damage is quite incredible.

That cake is amazing! Upside-Down Cakes always remind me of my childhood...

Nice giveaway!

Cheers,

Rosa

Stacey Snacks said...

Perfection! I can't believe you grilled a cake and it came out this well!
You are my hero! Glad you are back in business!

An Everyday Cook said...

Cake looks tasty! It's amazing what we can accomplish without electricity. Good blog.

bellini said...

So many things to comment on in one post Linda. First of all I am glad there was not do much damage in the storm. So much for the name Irene meaning "calm". As for the cake peaches are literally falling from the trees so this would be perfect! As for the blue and white tea set, I absolutely adore blue and white anything! I would love to be able to savour a cup of tea on the balcony and share with friends.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

You are sooo so lucky to survive Hurricane Iren .. bless you , so much suffering going on .. and so many lives lost.

How wonderful that you could share with whoever was around, lovely to see them all enjoying your cake :-)

Anonymous said...

Yummy cake, and good company - just what I needed 48+ hours into our 66 hour power outage. Thanks for your creativity and your generosity.
jan

Reen said...

So I was planning on making a platter of pizzelles for a family picnic this weekend, but now your post is changing my mind. The Peach Upside Cake (with Jersey peaches, of course) would be wonderful!

And about your giveaway, that tea set looks just like one my grandmom used to have!

Claudia said...

When life hands you lemons, make peach cake! That is one of the loveliest turn-arounds from a hard situation that I have seen. Kudos. (And I own a relic also. They work!)

Care's Kitchen said...

Happy to have found your blog! I live in the same general area as you - Central NJ - and yes I heard Princeton (some of it) is still in the dark!

Your cake looks wonderful and I bet you neighbor's were thrilled to taste test!

My email is careskitchen@hotmail.com thanx!!!

kimt said...

this cake looks amazing. our hearts go out to all of you affected by irene...

Cathy B. said...

Only you Linda, would take the opportunity the aftermath of a hurricane presented and turn it into a block party with a cake on a grill, for goodness sake!! I would love to be an honorary member of your neighborhood! You are an inspiration in so many ways.
Best,
Cathy

Sally said...

Great idea! What a way to celebrate the end of the storm.

Annelle Williams said...

I am so happy to know that this upside down cake will bake well on the covered grill! Looks delicious and reminds me of Mama's Upside Down Pineapple Cake.
Glad Irene was not as severe as predicted!

cheffterr@aol.com said...

That looks wonderful... My grandmother would always make a upside down cake with whatever fruit was in season.. I'm glad you are ok.. Bless you for sharing with others..

Andrea {From the Bookshelf} said...

From a fellow survivor, glad you came thru okay too! Love the cake! I never thought of doing an upside down cake with peaches. YUM

Nelly Rodriguez said...

What a gorgeous tea set! Thanks for sharing the great recipe as well! Glad you survived Irene!

Chantal said...

As the others have mentioned, quite a lovely tea set. I would love to win it!

my email chantalsrecipes at gmail dot com.

Miss Martina said...

Now I have to make that cake using a grill! Oh, that tea service is gorgeous!! I would very much like to have it! Thank you, MM-

carmen kunhardt said...

I'm so glad you survived the hurricane. Here in Miami we just had some rain but no wind.I enjoy your recipes so much. My family enjoys them also. The peach cake looks yummy! God bless you! Warm Regards from Miami Carmen Kunhardt;)
Love the tea set;) I collect Willow. Who ever is the lucky one I hope they enjoy the Willow Love story behind the design. Here is a link to the story:
http://www.worldcollectorsnet.com/magazine/issue32/iss32p5/
ENJOY!
Carmendkunhardt@hotmail.com

Melodie said...

That up-side-down cake really looks delicious - I will be trying it soon.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

My heart goes out to all those who suffered so much damage from the hurricane. It's a good lesson to keep a supply of essentials on hand such as filled propane tanks. The peach cake looks delicious and I'm sure your neighbors enjoyed it immensely. Your tea set is beautiful and I would be thrilled to win it. I have my fingers crossed!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I was watching news coverage of the hurricane damage in New Jersey and Vermont. Wow! The forces of nature are something else. Glad you are okay. Kudos to you on making the best of things. Having a gas range and grill can be a life saver. When we have power outages, it's saved us as well. What a bonus to find that lovely set of dishes. I love blue willow plates! Glad to know you are okay.

Marge from Flemington said...

Looks Fantastic - Always love the pictures!! Glad you survived the hurricane and something wonderful (the tea set and cake!) came out of it!

janie said...

I love your ingenuity in using the grill for your peach cake! Glad you didn't have damage from the terrible storm.

YankeeSoaper said...

Glad you are safe and up & running again Linda.. and Irene's gone out to sea. I just love this recipe and the idea of grilling it outdoors even moreso. Of course, you had me hooked once I saw the word peach up on FB LOL Thanks for sharing this one.. I'm planning to try it this weekend with some fresh peaches from market. We have some willing testers that will be thrilled to dive into this one!

janice15 said...

I'm very happy that everything went well for you with Irene..the pineapple upside down cake looks great never had a recipe from scratch before..so now I can add it to my recipes..thank you..I have been coming to your blog for a couple of months now and finally developed my own blog. @ spoonwither.blogspot.com..I love your blog...I would love to own that dreamy tea set. blue and white is my favorite colors..Great blog...enjoy your day.

annie said...

Your cake looks so tasty. So nice of you to share with your neighbors, and thankfully everyone was allright.

girolamo@sympatico.ca

Proud Italian Cook said...

I hope things get back to normal soon, I can't beleive that tree!
Next time my power goes out I'm going to think positive and make a cake out on my grill, you're the best neighbor, I wish you were mine!

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

love this post and your spirit to make a cake with what was available and on the grill this post made me smile after a difficult day

Daniela said...

Sono felice che tutto è andato bene. La tua torta è favolosa, riesci sempre a stupirmi.
Ciao Daniela.

Amanda said...

I love that you baked this during a power outage! It looks amazing and I'm sure it tastes just as yummy.

Anonymous said...

Good you survived Irene and had a backyard cake, etc..You are so kind..love the china reminds me of my childhood only I did not have that china, my aunt sold antiques and I could look at everything and never ever touch it..Since I drink tea a lot I would love to win this set and yes share it with some goodies I will bake from your blog, maybe the upside down hurricane irene peach cake..it would be lovely, take good care of yourself.love the blog, from a west coaster, mary j sampson, momanddad00@clear.net 1208 S.E. 147th Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98683!!!!!!!!thanks for reading my comments..ciao!

Susan Lindquist said...

Love your ingenuity and ability to 'make do' when the power outages crimped so many others' style!
That cake looks just perfect to me ... add some ice cream rescued from the thawing freezer and it would be even more perfect ... if that's possible!
Blue Willow is just so lovely and I collect teapots! I'm in on that lovely chance draw!
Have a great Labor Day weekend!

tasteofbeirut said...

So glad you survived this nasty storm and are even partying! Good for you, your neighbors and friends look happy; this cake is fun and tasty, love any cake combining cake plus fruit'

Kathy said...

I'm really impressed that you baked a cake in your grill! And it came out beautiful! I also lost power and had a small tree come down but compared to all the devastation this past week...I feel so blessed! Glad you weathered the storm without much damage.

Chiara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chiara said...

bellissima torta, molto fotogenica! sono contenta che tu stia bene Linda, ho visto in televisione immagini spaventose! Buon weekend, un abbraccio! la mia mail è :

ch.giglio@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Your grilled cake looks delicious, and that tea set is beautiful! Glad to hear you survived Irene!

Amanda
aesolecki@gmail.com

Linda said...

Linda that cake looks fabulous! We are still trying to clean up after the storm...the contents of my basement are now residing in my dining room which looks like an episode of the hoarders at the moment. We are still trying to dry out and my husband will try to tear up the carpet today...I can not complain as so many have lost everything...You inspire me. I have not felt much like cooking this week...

I am so glad you are ok after the storm.

I love that tea set! I have dishes in the same pattern...one of my favorites!

Imbottito said...

Glad to hear that you weathered such an awful storm as Irene.On a lighter note what a glorious and cheery way to celebrate.good food and good company always make even a bad time better(a little vino never hurts either)this is the perfect summer treat.The tea service is beautiful,what a lovely gift.ciao

Amaro e Dolce said...

I'm impressed by your resourcefulness and sense of adventure, not to mention your continued great writing and inner reflection. Would never have thought of baking on the grill. Now I just might!

Ben fatto!

Shelley

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I commend you not only for baking a beautiful cake on your grill but for sharing it with neighbors during a trying time.

Jackie said...

Glad to hear you survived Irene. We also got lucky hear. Lots of rain, some downed trees but overall no property damage or loss of life.
The cake looks amazing. I would have never thought to try a cake on a grill. I will have to try this.
The tea set is gorgeous. Great giveaway.
(my email: videogamerfun@gmail.com)

Anonymous said...

I just baked this today. I needed to add a little more milk, the flour in Colorado is really dry. I also added fiori di sicilia, and this is quite tasty.

Janet M.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your area really saw some terrible damage from Hurricane Irene! We were so fortunate and didn't lose power.

I never tried to bake a cake on a barbecue grill, and certainly not not one as pretty as your peach cake. It looks delicious! I wish I were your neighbor so I could have tried a piece!

This is a very lovely tea set, Linda. I'm just abvout caught up after returning home Sunday..it was a fun trip!

The Slow Roasted Italian said...

The cake looks amazing. Cooking it on the grill is awesome!!

Kristen said...

I'm so glad you didn't have a huge amount of damage and that things are looking up, like this cake. So lovely!

SANDIE :) said...

The tea set is just as amazing as are all of your stories, travels and most of all, recipes. You bring such pleasure to all your followers.

ann katherine said...

I love your Ciao Chow Linda blog. I often post a link to it on my Facebook profile page. Nice idea to use the tea set as a giveaway.

Sheryll And Critters. said...

Oh, what a beautiful cake and oh my how sweet of you to throw a tea party for your neighbors. I have been reading all your recipes and great adventures, but have a lot of troubles and just have not said hi lately (a bit of depression). I think I could do this, but might just use my GE Toaster plus Broiler/Rotisserie/Oven out side. Still way too hot inside and I have to clean my grill and my big oven first. I just came home from the local Super Walmart and I KNEW I should have bought those Nectorines or Peaches. I love reading your blogs. One day I hope to make one and send you a photo (if I can make one look even close to as fabulous as your always do).

Sheryll & Critters.

Barbara said...

You have the right outlook on life, Linda, when life throws you curve balls - make cake on the barbecue! How nice you got together with your neighbors to share - you're the best!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Glad to hear everything is okay.

I have friends in the Tri-State who are still dealing with Irene.

I MUST make this cake.

Aparna Mulgund said...

I have been looking for a stove top pineapple upside down recipe that you make in a skillet. Now, I am going to try this peach upside down recipe instead. Your cake looks amazing.
Thanks,
Aparna Mulgund