I talk a lot about Granny, my mom’s mom, but I haven’t spent much time talking about Grandma, my dad’s mom.
The truth is, like the rest of my grandparents, my memories of her have faded. I vaguely remember a couple parties thrown in her honor. I know we frequently went to her house and out to dinner with her, often for Chinese food. At nearly every holiday and birthday, we spent time with her, but I was so young for much of it, I can barely recall a single thing.
An even harsher truth is that I was kind of scared of her. She was a bit rough around the edges and when you’re an incredibly nervous child, that’s hard to understand and harder to deal with. But she did love me, I knew that then, and I know it now, looking at all the cards she sent me and photos we took with her.
Just like Granny, I miss her and wish that I had time now to get to know her. To talk to her and learn about her, to make memories with her. I have grown so much since I had the chance to see her and am a different person almost entirely. To share that with her would be something.
But I can’t do that, so I just have to think about it. Even her favorite things to cook aren’t known to me save for a few recipes. Apparently she was known for her chop suey. Mom also talks of one day she spent with her baking tons of different Christmas cookies. That sounds like something right up my alley.
Like I imagine sharing cinnamon rolls (and really whatever I make) with Granny, I imagine sharing this Summer Peach Cake with Grandma. I hope she’d like it. Maybe with a cup of coffee or tea – I don’t even know which she preferred. We could talk about her past and my future. We could bond.
I made a different version of this cake awhile ago based on Ina Garten’s recipe. Look at the photos if you dare! I revamped it this time, swapping the sour cream for almond milk, the pecans for walnuts, and most importantly the butter for olive oil. Something was just telling me this cake needed to be made with olive oil. With a bit of trepidation the cake wouldn’t bake up properly, I did it.
I am so glad I did. This is a much better version of the cake (sorry Ina!). It baked up perfectly and is so wonderfully moist. So let’s all make this cake and share it with the grandparents we may still have and remember the ones that are gone.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
½ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
¾ cup milk (I used almond – use what you love)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large peaches, peeled and sliced
¾ cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and oil the parchment.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, 1 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla until emulsified. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until combined.
In a small bowl, stir together remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon and ½ cup sugar.
Pour half the batter in the prepared pan. Top with roughly half the peach slices, placing them in a decorative pattern. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Pour the remaining batter over the peaches. Top with the remaining peaches using a decorative pattern. Sprinkle with walnuts, pushing them gently into the batter, and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Tent the cake if at any time it is getting too brown during the baking process. Cool cake completely in pan or serve warm (which I recommend). Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
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