Peach-Jalapeño Upside-Down Cake

Volteado de Durazno y Chile Jalapeño
When peaches are in season (and I live in a great peach region!), I make this cake—beautifully embroidered as it is with a little spicy green chile and fresh herbs. Through the years, I’ve given several recipes for the cake, from quite lean (for use as a breakfast cake) to rich (which is what you’ll find here). The richness of this cake comes from olive oil, which for me plays well with the green chile and herbs. Of course, you can use other fruit; I’ve explained how in a note at the bottom of the recipe. This is a cake I make when my kitchen time is limited. I’ve made it even easier than most versions of upside-down cake by cooking it in an ovenproof nonstick skillet. (if you don’t have the skillet, line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment, prepare the butter-sugar-fruit mixture in a skillet, scrape it into the pan, top with the batter and bake as directed.) I suggest you bake the cake while you’re enjoying your main dish, then offer it warm from the oven for dessert.
Servings: 8


  • For the fruits:
  • 3tablespoons (42 grams) butter
  • 1/2cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3cups (about 18 ounces) peeled, pitted and sliced or cubed peaches (1/2-inch short slices or cubes; you’ll need about 2 ¼ pounds of mangos)
  • 1large fresh jalapeño chile, stemmed and cut crosswise into thin rounds
  • Thefinely grated zest of one lime
  • 1/3cup thin-sliced fresh lemon verbena or mint (lemon balm and basil are also good here)
  • For the cake:
  • 11/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2/3cup olive oil
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2large eggs
  • 2/3cup full-fat sour cream or full-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • For serving:
  • About2 tablespoons añejo tequila or rum (optional)


Prepare the pan with the fruit. Turn on the oven to 375 degrees and position the rack in the lower third.   In a large (10-inch) nonstick skillet (it needs to have an ovenproof handle), melt the butter over medium heat.  When it has turned brown (but not too dark), sprinkle on the ½ cup sugar, then spread on the fruit and top with the jalapeño and lime zest.  Cook for a few minutes, until the fruit releases its juice, then remove from the heat. (If you want a rich caramely flavor, cook over medium-high heat until you notice the sweet juices start to caramelize around the edge.  Off the heat, stir everything gently to evenly distribute the caramel.)

Make the batter.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and the ¾ cup sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, eggs and sour cream or yogurt.  Whisk the wet mixture thoroughly into the dry mixture (the mixture is thick), then dollop it over the fruit in the skillet (a bunch of small dollops is easiest to work with) and smooth flat with a spatula, making sure it extends all the way to the edges.  

Bake and serve.  Slide the skillet into the lower third of the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake is golden and lightly springy in the center.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then upend a plate over the skillet and, holding the two securely with pot holders or oven mitts, reverse the two.  Wait for a minute for all the peach goodness to drip onto the now-top of the cake, then remove the skillet.  Sprinkle evenly with the tequila or rum, if you’re using it, and you’re ready to serve. 

Other fruits you can use for this cake: 3 cups of most fruit will work here, though each will give a different flavor, texture and juiciness.  Pineapple is a no-brainer, but I’d cook it in the butter for a few minutes to give a head start on softening.  Same goes for apple and pear.  Berries (even IQF—individually quick frozen—berries) work well here, though the end result is a bit juicier. It will come as no surprise that I am partial to pitted cherries (sweet or sour), since I live in a big cherry producing region. And any other stone fruit (nectarines, apricots) as well as mango show beautifully in this cake. 

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