Hear that? That distant sound of jangling reindeer bells?
Christmas is coming! It’s that time of year when we all light fires, wear sweaters, drink eggnogg and mulled cider, and sing Christmas carols around the fire… Except that I can’t do ANY of that, because here in Australia it’s SUMMERTIME! And so I find myself totally torn between wanting to run to the beach and eat a mountain of juicy juicy stone-fruits, and wanting to glaze a ham and watch The Santa Clause 9. Woe is me, friends, woe is me.
After 23 years here in Australia, I still can’t bring myself around to a hot Christmas – which is completely insane and bizarre, I know. I was brought up on a European Christmas, and my family has long had a predilection for powerful air conditioning in Summer, so maybe that goes some way to explaining it? Regardless, I can see now that the time has come.
I have to find a way to combine the best of both hemispheres. I must somehow find a middle ground between snow-dusted evergreen forests, and sunburnt beaches. A halfway-house between steaming mugs of hot chocolate, and ice cold beers in the high humidity. Some way to combine the taste of a cup of delicious eggnog, and the sweet summer tang of a juicy peach.
You see what I did there? It’s this cake.
This cake is me meeting my own expectations in the middle. And the middle, it turns out, is pretty lovely. Who knew that the flavours of a traditional eggnog; brandy, rum, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, would be so perfectly suited to peaches? Or did everyone know that? Am I behind the times?
If you too are behind the times, then let’s enjoy this cake together! Or if you are one of the weird Australians who just cannot shake the legacy of a cold European Christmas, please join me on our baby-steps journey, beginning with this cake. If you’re up there in the northern hemisphere, sorry to rub these juicy peaches in your face (double entendre anyone?), but please know that this would be heaven with preserved peaches, or some sauteed apples or pears under that eggnog cake-blanket.
And on cake-blankets, I bid you goodnight.
Eggnog Peach Cobbler Cake
Is it cobbler? Is it cake? It’s neither and both. If you let it set, and flipped it out of the skillet, you would have a peach upside down cake. If you do as I do and scoop it out while still quiveringly warm, you have cobbler. Let your spirit guide you.
An original recipe by Sarah Coates for The Sugar Hit.
Serves 4, very generously.
4 ripe peaches
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 freshly grated nutmeg
125g caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp rum
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 9 inch cast iron skillet, or similar sized oven proof dish. Slice the peaches into quarters, and place in the dish along with the brown sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Toss to combine, and set aside to mascerate.
To make the cake batter, combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the remaining ingredients, except the almonds, and mix together until fully incorporated. You should end up with a thick batter.
Dollop the batter over the mascerated peaches in the skillet, no need to smooth or spread it out, and scatter over the flaked almonds. Baked for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown, and springing back when touched lightly in the centre. ENJOY!