Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lemon Basil Dimply Peach Cake (TWD)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Michelle of Fool for Food: Dimply Plum Cake. I was at home with my parents these past few days, so I had to work with what was on hand. They didn't have any plums, but they did have plenty of peaches so I went with Dorie's suggestion to adapt the recipe into a Lemon Basil Dimply Peach Cake instead.

I also didn't have any vanilla extract, so I used a vanilla bean instead. Look at those beautiful flecks of vanilla bean seeds and lemon zest! :)

This cake was just okay for me. I'm not sure why, because it seems like all the other TWD bakers loved it. The flavors of the lemon and basil in this cake were wonderful, but I found the cake itself to be very dry. Perhaps I overbaked it? I used a 9-inch pan instead of an 8-inch pan and still baked it for the full 40 minutes, but I tried to check it early and it did not test done at 30 minutes. I probably should have tested it again at 35 minutes. Or maybe it was because I used unbleached flour? If you have any ideas, let me know.

I've included the adapted recipe below, as I made it. If you would like the original recipe, you can find it here (with recipe tips here). Make sure you visit the TWD Blog Roll to see how everyone else enjoyed this dimply little treat.

Sorry this post is a bit shorter than usual, but I've been out of town for a few days to attend my grandmother's funeral and barely had the chance to get this done. It's still hard to believe that she's gone, even though we knew her time left with us was short (she had liver cancer). It was only by God's grace that she passed away without any pain or suffering. We find solace knowing that she is in a better place now.

Lemon Basil Dimply Peach Cake
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt (alternatively, you can use unsalted butter and 1/4 tsp salt)
5 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or sunflower
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeded - learn how here (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
2 large peaches, halved and pitted
3 basil leaves, finely chopped

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet. (I used a 9-inch pan so my cake was thinner - consequently, I had to slice off the bottoms of my peaches so they wouldn't be popping up over the cake. My peaches were about 1-inch thick/tall after I sliced them.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working with a mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Still working on medium speed, beat in the oil, zest and vanilla bean seeds—the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Add the chopped basil and run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, mixing just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the peaches cut side up in the batter and jiggle the peaches a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes—during which time the plums’ juices will seep back into the cake—then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Storing: You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

Yield: 8 servings


  1. Oh my goodness, that looks FABULOUS! Yum!! I love vanilla and any kind of fruit dessert. The batter is so pretty I want to lick it off the screen! :)

  2. LOVE that you used vanilla beans - yum!!

    Sorry that the cake was "just okay" for you :0( You still made a glorious-looking cake though, as always!! :0)

  3. nah - we didn't like this one so much, either. but i totally love that bottom photo!

  4. Well it looks great Jaime! Mine was incredibly dry as well. Dry may be too kind actually. I think I screwed up the temp on my oven, so I may have contributed. Ill take the blame for the dryness. Id like to give it another try when I know I set the oven properly.

    Take care sweetie. Thinking of you and your family. xo

  5. So sorry to hear about your grandmother. Your family is in my thoughts. Your cake looks gorgeous...mine was a tad dry too, but it tasted good! Great job!

  6. Beautiful, beautiful pictures! The top one is a killer!
    I agree though, it was very dry... strange that many had trouble with rawness under the fruits!
    Great job...

  7. Even if it didn't taste as good as you would have liked it looked beautiful.

    I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of your Grandma. It seems as if you have a positive outlook on it. My Grandma in Feb passed on from cancer as well, she was 93 and we were happy that the end came quickly.

    Take care!

  8. Maybe the dryness/moistness depends on the fruit you use? Do peaches have less moisture than plums? *shrugs. My condolences about your grandmother's passing. Though I am glad she passed peacefully too. {{HUGS}}
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

  9. that looks delicious jaime! i am sorry to hear about your grandmother, i'm sure you are glad for all the years you had with her!

  10. Well, it looks delicious anyway!

  11. Mine was dry too- I felt like the moistness of the fruit kinda balanced out the crumb... it tasted yummy anyhow. Love your last picture!

  12. Looks gorgeous. I have some peaches ready for another version of this cake later this week. The first time I made this cake (last year), I found it dry and wrote in my book, "don't overbake." I started checking mine at 30 mins, and pulled it out at 35, not 40. Much better this time - very moist. I like simple cakes like this one but I amped mine up with more spice than Dorie called for - too bland otherwise.

  13. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother - you're a trooper for getting this done in spite of that.

  14. I also found it a bit dry...and come to think of it, used a 9x9" pan. Coincidence? And yet I can't stop eating it!

  15. I lost my Grams this year too. I miss her. So sorry for your loss.

    You cake looks wonderful. I wouldn't have the guts to put basil in my cake.

  16. Hi Jaime, your photographs look beautiful. The cake looks elegant and delicious, wonderful job! Blessings to you and your family.

  17. Your cake looks great! Good job!

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

  18. I am so sorry to hear about your Grandma. My sympathies go out to you and your family.

    The cake looks delicious peaches and basil sound wonderful together. I love the vanilla bean specks!

  19. Sorry to hear about your grandmother, but we felt the same way when mine passed on. Although I miss her greatly - and I think of her everyday - I actually do my blog in honor of her. She loved to bake - especially cookies!

  20. I'm sorry about your grandmother. I know it's not an easy thing to go through. I'm sure that you blessed one another's lives in many ways.

    Even if you weren't crazy about it, your cake still looks very pretty and delicious!

  21. My sympathies to you and your family about your grandmother.

    The cake, with the lemon and basil, sounds like a wonderful flavor combo.

  22. I like that you used peaches! They look so good! My sympathies to you and your family; we also had a hard time recently with my father-in-law passing. It will take time but you will make it through it.

  23. i've seen more twd-ers who were disappointed than pleased. even though it wasn't the tastiest, it sure is purty. i love the pictures with a section of the peach missing--very nice. :)

  24. Im sorry you didn't like it all that well. It sure looks pretty!

    So sorry about your Grandmother. It's hard to go through a death of a loved one. Each day will get better. Hang in there.

  25. The lemon basil sounds so interesting and worth trying. I think that might be a good add with raspberries. Yum!!

  26. Thoughts and prayers out to you and your family for the loss of your grandmother. I'm sure she is smiling down at your beautiful peach cake :)

  27. Really pretty! Love everything about it!

  28. The peaches are gorgeous! I love lemon basil too! Nice work!

  29. I am keeping your family in my prayers. I hope that your memories will be of comfort to you.

    We loved this recipe; I've made it three times in a week (plum/lemon/cardamom, peach/lemon/basil, pluot/orange/cardamom) and the done-ness is tricky. I used a smaller pan and made 2/3 recipe but it still took about 40 minutes. My first one was perfect, the second was fine, and the third one (today) was just about 4 minutes too dry. The lemon/cardamom is my favorite combination of flavorings.

    Your pictures are stunning. Wow, it looks delicious.

  30. wow! I love the pictures of your dimply cake! thanks for commenting on my blog too!

  31. Great addition of the lemon and basil. I bet that made it very special.