today’s taste: blackberry peach coffee cake
Today was a scary day. First of all, it’s Sunday, which means onset of the weekly Sunday scaries. If you’ve never heard the term, it refers to that sinking feeling you get every Sunday when you realize that weekend playtime is ending and weekday work is beginning. (Morgan is particularly prone to the Sunday scaries; Sunday suitcase-packing for early Monday morning flights seems to worsen the condition.) You probably won’t find it on WebMD, but we promise – it’s a real and serious issue.
Second of all, it’s the last Sunday in August (which is the last month of summer)! Even though we’ve outgrown the months-long vacation, the shift from summer to fall still feels like the most significant change in season all year long. For over half our lives, the turning of this calendar page meant a new school year and a step closer to graduation, adulthood, and their accompanying joys (including bills, rent payments, and jobs). Even though we’ve run that race, the overwhelming importance of fall’s arrival has not faded. So, today was a scary day.
But today was also a great day. By some miracle, despite living in the heart of DC, we have a peach tree in our backyard. Today, the peaches on that tree were finally ripe enough for picking – and pick them we did! The biggest peaches were at the top of the tree, so we used any and all means necessary to reach them: stepladders, bar stools, and tall boyfriends. We returned to the kitchen with armfuls of peaches (literally armfuls, because we had lacked the foresight to bring a bowl) and brunch plans.
Now, the brunch guests only included our housemates – who have seen our culinary creations at their best and at their worst – but we would have marched this blackberry peach coffee cake down the road to 1600 Pennsylvania with pride. Taste aside (which is a ridiculous thing to say) – this coffee cake was pretty. It remained a perfect circle after we removed it from the springform, the streusel topping made it impressively tall, and the fruit added gorgeous splashes of color to the presentation.
With all that being said, looks will only get a dessert so far in (its very short) life. Thankfully, the first bite (and the many, many bites after) lived up to expectations. The cake itself was moist but light – anything denser would have been too heavy for brunch. Because the blackberries and peaches sat on top of the cake, rather than inside it, their tartness contrasted the cake’s sweetness nicely. (Be sure to coat the fruit in flour before arranging it on the cake batter – this will prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the cake and becoming mushy.)
What made this coffee cake perfect for today, though – the last Sunday in August – is the streusel. With peaches and blackberries, this coffee cake is undoubtedly a summery treat. But the cinnamon and the nutmeg in the crumbly topping – deliciously aromatic during the baking – add just a hint of of fall to each piece.
We tasted the cake, and all of a sudden, we were reminded of the flavors that come with fall. And today got a little less scary.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups peeled and fresh firm, ripe peaches (6 peaches)
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
- Prepare the Streusel Topping: beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating well. Add flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat just until blended. Set aside.
- Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a pan.
- Stir 2 tablespoons of flour in with blackberries and peaches until fruit is lightly coated. Top cake with fruit.
- Using your hands, press the streusel topping into small chunks (½- to 1-inch pieces) and sprinkle over the fruit.
- Bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until the center of the cake is set. (A wooden toothpick inserted in center will not come out clean.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Serve with fresh blackberries.
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