A Fuzzy Predicament

Pam's peaches.

When it comes to just-picked peaches, my friend Pam shares a predicament with a few of my other gal pals.

Pam is the creator of ProjectFoodie, an online site that allows you to create a personal recipe box from a wealth of offerings from magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks (Full disclosure: I’m one of her advisors.)

She likes peaches. She just isn’t keen on their fuzzy exterior. Something about their subtle furry covering gives her the heebie jeebies. Even washing the peaches, which usually flattens and masks most of their down, just won’t do it for her.

Which is a real shame when you realize she has a most prolific peach tree in her yard, one that gifts her with about 45 pounds of plump, juicy, yellow peaches each summer.

So Pam usually ends up baking cakes with them, turning them into chutney, and giving quite a few to friends such as yours truly.

I’m no fiend about fuzz, so I happily eat her peaches out of hand, savoring their incredible flavor that’s much more intense than so many others I’ve bought at the farmers’ markets this year. Peaches are my favorite summer fruit, and I can never get enough of them.

I would have gladly noshed on all her peaches like that. But when she heard that I found an interesting recipe for a peach cake in “Rustic Fruit Desserts” (Ten Speed Press), she perked up.

What’s that? Another fuzz-free treat? She was all ears.

Peach ''tea cake.''

The recipe, by Portland, Ore. culinary professionals, Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, is actually called, “Stone Fruit Tea Cake,” because you can use any type of stone fruit you like.

Although I usually picture tea cakes as loaf-shaped, this one is baked in a tart pan or cake pan. It ends up looking very much like a tart, though its texture is all tender cake-like.

It couldn’t be easier, either. You make the dough in a mixer, freeze it for 30 minutes, then divide it into halves. The first half gets patted into the tart pan (nope, no rolling out required). You chop up your fruit and add it to the pan. Then, you cover the fruit with small pieces of the remaining dough. Turbinado sugar gets sprinkled on top to give it a sweet, crispy crown.

A bountiful slice.

It emerges from the oven really buttery and just sweet enough. It’s perfect all on its own, but you also can serve it with dollops of lightly sweetened whipped cream, if you like.

For my fur-free fruit friends, this one’s for you.

Stone Fruit Tea Cake

(serves 10 to 12)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped mixed stone fruit, fresh or frozen (or use all fresh peaches like I did)

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer with beater or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition, then stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir just until a smooth dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a 1-inch-thick disk, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a shallow 10-inch round baking pan or tart pan.

Divide the dough into two equal portions and pat one portion evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread fruit over the dough. Break remainder of the dough into tablespoon-size pieces and distribute atop the fruit, then sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the dessert.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Storage: Wrapped in plastic wrap, this tea cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. (The top will soften a bit.) You can also freeze the unbaked dough; if wrapped well, it will keep for up to 3 months. You can freeze a whole, unbaked cake with fruit (again, wrapped well) for 1 month.

From “Rustic Fruit Desserts”

For another peach dessert: Try this Peach Blueberry Cake

Peach Blueberry Cake

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  • Let me be the first to shamelessly exploit the cliche: This post is just peachy. …Mouth watering as I read it and looked at the pics. Must eat peach tea cake. Yum….

  • First, I just have to say… i LOVE your shot of the peaches. I need me a macro lens!

    Secondly, I’m with Pam. I have a weird aversion to peach fuzz. I could never eat a peach whole!

  • amazing! perfect summer treat and I definitely need to invest in a macro lens as well!

  • I just made this cake with plums I picked from my plum tree! It was absolutely delicious. My husband loved it–usually he only ‘loves’ things with chocolate. I’ll have to try it with peaches too!

  • What a fantastic shot of those peaches! Gorgeous. This tea cake looks delicious, I love the rustic beauty of it.

  • I don’t mind the fuzz ;-P! That cake sure looks delicious! Peaches are really versatile and so flavorful!



  • Can’t wait to try this – we *still* have peaches both in the fridge and on the tree!

  • I love peaches and I don’t mind the fuzz, in fact I like petting my peach because of it! Yeah, I’m crazy like that. Still, if your friend doesn’t like the fuzz, she could try my peach and pork stir-fry I did a couple of years ago. I created the recipe because I didn’t have mango and wanted to do something with that sweet tender flesh so I substituted peaches but removed the skin by blanching it. So you just get the meat mixed with savoriness of the soy and pork. Yummy. But now I’m definitely going to try this recipe because the tart/cake looks so beautiful. Do you think it’ll work with plums that are more juicy?

  • Gorgeous recipe. I too don’t mind the fuzz, but I love baking with them. That looks like a recipe worth making. I still have a ton of blueberries as well so I might try making this with both.

  • I want this now!! This looks so gorgeous!

  • There can never be enough peach recipes. Looks great!

  • What I love about this recipe is that the filling is just peaches. No fillers, no sweeteners, no nothin’ except peaches. Your friend is very fortunate to be able to have *real* peaches to eat and use.. I have not had a peach with fuzz on it for over 50 years when I helped pick Elberta peaches at an orchard in upstate NY. The fuzz is usually buzzed off for supermarket sales. Even when I bought peaches at the Froghollow orchard, they were defuzzed (or a breed that was not fuzzy in the first place),

  • Single Guy: You pet your peaches? Do you name them, too? heeheee. Your pork stir-fry with peaches sounds divine. I bet peaches would work very well in such a dish. As for your plums, yes, they would definitely work in this cake recipe. In fact, as the name implies, you can use any stone fruit you wish. Pam’s peaches were quite juicy, so your extra-juicy plums should be wonderful in this cake.

    Marvin: Thanks for pointing that out to me about how the fuzz is buzzed off of supermarket peaches. I’m thinking they might do that to some extent at the farmers’ markets here, too, because even the peaches I buy there don’t have the lush growth of fuzz that Pam’s just-picked-off-the-tree peaches had. As you can tell from the top photo, her peaches are quite furry. πŸ˜‰

  • The recipe and photos look amazing. I love peaches and can’t wait to make this one day!

  • I have a major problem wiht the fuzziness of peaches too. This cake is a winner in my book!

  • Beautiful photos! You make it all look so yummy, my mouth is watering!

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  • Love your beutiful photos! This peach tart looks so deilcious my sister and my mouth are wartering

    thanks you for sharing your recipe πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful Day ~

  • Your cake looks fantastic with the fluted edge! Sounds like a great recipe for stone fruits too.

  • Thank you for posting this recipe and the gorgeous photos! I’m not scared of peach fuzz either. I will definitely make this. And the fact that it’s not loaf-shaped makes it much more elegant!

  • Beautiful tart and equally beautiful photos.

  • Aw, I love fuzzy peaches! I snub nectarines regularly because they are not fuzzy. I’m cruel like that.

  • Tell your friend Pam that she absolutely must buy a Meisermester (brand) peeler. They’re black and have a kind of serrated edge on both blades. You can peel ripe tomatoes and ripe fleshy fruits with it. It positively works. So she can easily peel off that skin in a jiffy. It works for other things (potatoes, carrots, etc.) but it’s a winner with fruit and tomatoes.

  • My sister and I were just discussing what to do with all of the fresh peaches available. I went the savory route and made a peach chutney, which was super-easy! I served it with chicken kebobs and the ubiquitous zucchini:) Basic recipe had peaches (par-boiled, de-skinned, then chopped), shallots, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, a pinch of cloves, raisins, vinegar, and salt. It was yummy! recipe is NOT on my blog, because I forgot to measure:)

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  • Hi – A quick question. If I make this and freeze it, how do I cook it? Cook from frozen or thaw first?


  • Rebecca: You can probably bake it, then freeze it. I often freeze baked goods if I have too much on hand. I wrap it in foil or plastic wrap, then put it in a ziplock bag or lidded plastic container. To thaw, just stick it in the fridge overnight or on the counter-top. Then, you can re-warm it in the oven, if you like. Enjoy!

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