Preserves in Action: Simple Peach Cake

March 26, 2015(updated on October 18, 2023)
peaches in a jar

When I was doing my big jar reorg a few weeks ago, I discovered a small cache of gingery canned peaches from the summer of 2012. The seals were good and the color was unchanged, so I knew they would be fine to eat, but figured it would be a good idea to start using them up before peach season rolls around again.

cake dough and peaches

There’s an Ina Garten recipe I’ve made a couple times during the height of summer that involves layering fresh peaches into cake batter and dusting them with cinnamon and sugar. I decided to take a stab at making it with my canned peaches.

first peach layer

Of course, because I cannot resist these things, I also omitted some of the sugar and swapped in whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose in an attempt to make it slightly more virtuous. The end result was a very delicious cake, though if you skip down to the last picture, you’ll see that my perfectly arranged peaches sunk right down to the bottom of the pan.

second peach layer

I think this happened for three reasons. The first is that I used buttermilk in place of the sour cream that the original recipes requests. Sour cream is slightly thicker and so leads to a denser batter (but I had exactly a cup of buttermilk and I so desperately wanted to get that jug out of the fridge).

The second reason is that I omitted the cinnamon and sugar sprinkle between layers in my attempts at virtuosity. Finally, those canned peaches have had the last three years to absorb additional liquid, making them heavier than their fresh counterparts.

finished peach cake

Still, it was entirely edible and the guys Scott had over for a D&D game did not complain about the sunken peaches (and I did not apologize). However, next time I make it, I think I’m just going to arrange all the peaches at the bottom of the pan, pour the batter on top and call it an upside down cake.

If you want to make it as Ina intended, her recipe is here. The recipe with my alterations can be found below.

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Preserves in Action: Simple Peach Cake


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pint canned peaches


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a square cake pan.
  • Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (or get your hand mixer out). Beat together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract and mix until well-incorporated.
  • In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
  • Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. Repeat until all dry ingredients are mixed into the batter.
  • Pour half the batter into the pan and arrange half the peaches on top. Repeat. (Note, if you are worried about your peaches sinking, just spread them out on the bottom of the pan and top with the batter.)
  • Put cake in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. If the top of the cake is browning faster that wanted, slip a sheet of foil over the top of the pan to prevent it from burning.

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11 thoughts on "Preserves in Action: Simple Peach Cake"

  • It’s like a surprise cake–who knows what’s inside? 🙂 I also think swapping out ww pastry flour makes a difference; it is finer than AP and has a different protein content. I bet it was delicious, regardless.

  • Hey, fruit is supposed to sink into a cake like this! I do something similar with fresh plums, and get these amazing pockets of tart plum. I can only imagine the greatness of peach. NOM.

  • A trick for keeping fruit from sinking in a cake is to coat it with flour first. It works with fresh fruit, but I’m not sure about canned. The juices may soak up the flour and make it taste pasty.

    I definitely need to try this cake. I may do the sour cream version, but substitute nonfat Greek yogurt to “make it more virtuous”, or at least less bad.

  • This is the time of year when I notice I have over-hoarded certain things, like canned peaches and frozen strawberries, and I’m looking for ways to blast through them. Perfect timing!

  • I do something similar to this with a peach pound cake recipe – sometimes with plain canned and sometimes with pickled peaches. I follow the directions for using fresh fruit, which calls for coating the peaches in flour.

  • A question about canned peaches: I made the boozey ones from your book last week, and while all the jars did seal, there are little bubbles inside. They aren’t moving or anything, but as a new canner I was concerned. Does this sound like an issue? Or am I just paranoid, LOL?

    1. Not an issue. Post-processing, bubbles are only an issue if they’re moving on their own. If there are just some little trapped air bubbles, they’re fine.