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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Summer in a Jar - Easy Peach Cake

I recently discovered canning or "putting up." My first foray into canning was went the peaches were sweet and fragrant. The purpose of canning seems romantic to me: taking what is the best of summer's fruits and vegetables and putting them into gleaming shiny jars to hold onto summer for just a bit longer. And when the days grow shorter, and the temperature is cooler, opening up a jar of preserves transports you back to the heady days of summer. That's why I wanted to can. Summer in a jar.

The kitchen was a mess but it was lot of fun. Ryan, my future husband, insisted that all this hot water and bubbling mess was dangerous and ordered me out of the kitchen while we processed the jams. In total, we made four half liter jars of peach lavender jam. It was sublime, sugary, and heavenly. In order to test the jam for doneness, we put the jam onto a cold saucer. If it the jam doesn't roll around the saucer, it will set and its ready. But we got carried away... We really liked the jam and kept putting spoonfuls onto the plate.

In the end, I should have read the recipe more clearly... the recipe called the jam "spoonable" which means it won't set. But we ended up using it over ice cream. It makes an excellent topping. Today, I found another use for this gorgeous summery jam... on top of a easy summer cake.

I was inspired by Martha Stewart's recipe found in the September 2007 issue. Ashamed, I didn't have any fresh fruit on hand but had alot of this gorgeous luscious jam. We had a dinner party to attend and I thought a simple summery dessert would be an appropriate offering to the host.

I am the worst baker but oh so well-intentioned. I have a tendency to overmix and the result is usually a baked hockey puck. However, this cake turned out beautifully. It was dead easy.

Inspired by Martha Stewart - Easy Peach Cake
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4c sugar
1/2c whole milk
1/2c vegetable oil
1 large egg
5 tbsp peach lavender jam (or whatever peach jam you have)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cold butter

(In case you're curious Martha lays down halved plums cut side up)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 2 9 inch round cake pans.
2. Whisk together flour, bp, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together 3/4c sugar, milk, oil and egg. Fold into flour mixture
3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, and smooth tops. Dot the batter with spoonfuls of jam.
4. Sprinkle cinnamon over top. Dot with butter. Bake until tops are golden, about 30 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

This cake wasn't meant to be saved, make it the day you plan to eat it.
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