Stone fruit season is almost over, but I just had to squeeze in one last recipe. Especially one as tasty as this Peach Brown Butter Buckle. Now you may be wondering, “What the heck is a Buckle?” Part of the cobbler family, a buckle cake is made by placing sliced fruit or berries on top of (or mixed into) a layer of cake batter. The cake is then finished with a streusel topping. As the cake cooks, the batter will rise up around the fruit, giving the top a buckled appearance. I’ll have to say that this is actually the first buckle I’ve ever made, and the results? A. Mazing. This cake is simple to prepare, full of flavor and wonderfully rustic (aka not fussy).
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My Peach Brown Butter Buckle starts with a layer of moist yellow cake made with aromatic brown butter, and just a hint of allspice. Next, a layer of lemon-kissed peaches that melts to a jam consistency after cooking in the oven. Finally, a streusel topping made with browned butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans, adding satisfying notes of sweet, salt, and crunch. When eaten together, these layers form the perfect bite. So perfect that I literally ate 2/3 of this cake by myself over the span of several days. You need to make this. Continue reading for the recipe.
This cake works best with ripe, seasonal fruit. If peaches aren’t in season, pick a different fruit! Rhubarb would work well in the spring, figs in the fall, and persimmons in the winter. If you are making a buckle with summer produce, you could also try raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, plums, nectarines, or apricots.
Peach Brown Butter Buckle
For the cake:
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan
- 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Pinch of allspice
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 pounds peaches, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges (I used a mix of yellow and saturn peaches)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the topping:
- 1/4 cup reserved brown butter, some of the butter above will be used here
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup 64 grams all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of fine grain sea salt
Place butter in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. The butter will melt, then foam and bubble, then start to brown. You will notice little brown bits forming at the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently during this process and keep your attention on the pot. The butter can go from wonderfully brown to burnt in just a few moments. You will know the butter is done when it gives off a nutty aroma and turns a golden brown. Set aside and let cool.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet with parchment paper (or you could use a springform pan). Grease both the parchment and the sides of the skillet generously with butter, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and allspice until combined. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cooled browned butter and sugar. Reserve remaining 1/4 cup brown butter for the topping. One at a time, whisk in eggs, then stir in buttermilk. Add the flour mixture into the browned butter-egg mixture, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Toss peach wedges with lemon juice, and arrange them in a single layer on top of the batter.
To prepare the streusel topping, combine remaining 1/4 cup brown butter, brown sugar, flour, pecans, cinnamon and sea salt in a small bowl. Mix until large crumbs form (I used my hands here). Sprinkle the topping evenly over the peaches.
Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake until the top is golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out with moist crumbs (40 to 45 minutes). Let cool for 5 minutes on a rack before serving.
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