Oh, how I love the Palisade Peaches I hope to find every August when I visit Colorado! While I’m thankful for the work that takes me to Colorado every year, I am most thankful for the visits with friends and delicious produce provided by these trips to the mountains.
My friend Suzanne bought peaches for me at a produce stand, along with a Rocky Ford cantaloupe while I shopped at Sprouts in Denver. Those peaches lasted only two days, devoured by me and others, just too good to not share. On my final day working in Colorado, I visited the Vail Farmer’s Market. I grabbed a few Palisade peaches and hand-carried them home on the plane. Well, I carried most of them home. I shamelessly ate one in the airport and boarded a packed plane covered with peach juice. I’ll make no excuses for the way in which I devour anything grown on Colorado’s Western Slope.
Palisades peaches are colorful, juicy and perfectly sweet. Peach cobbler was my favorite way to eat peaches growing up, but I am not a fan of baking cobblers. I chose instead to make a layered bundt cake. I hit a small bump in the road when I discovered I do not own a full size bundt pan, only silicone mini bundts. I borrowed a well-loved pan from my neighbor Janie and got to work slicing these divine peaches. Yet again I was covered with peach juice.
Here’s the recipe, and I should warn you, this one is GOOD. I don’t usually make full-sized treats because they are difficult to share. As I sliced into this cake, I realized I would have to quickly deliver it to this week’s Sweet Friend. It was THAT good, it wouldn’t last long…
Palisade Peach Bundt Cake
3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
2 T. sugar
2 t. ground Vietnamese cinnamon
3 cups of my favorite gluten-free flour blend
1 T. baking powder
1 t. xanthan gum
2 cups sugar
1 cup grapeseed oil (canola would also work well)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 T. vanilla bean paste
a bit of powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using gluten-free non-stick cooking spray, grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan. Combine the peaches, cinnamon and sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, baking powder and xanthan gum. Set aside.
3. In mixing bowl of stand mixer (or bowl to use with hand mixer), combine sugar, oil, lemon juice, vanilla bean paste and eggs. Mix at high speed until smooth and slightly frothy. Gently stir in flour mixture.
4. Pour 1/3 of the cake batter into the bundt pan. Top the batter with 1/2 of the peaches. Add another 1/3 of the cake batter. Top with the remaining peaches. The final layer is all of the remaining cake batter.
5. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes or longer. I turned mine out onto a plate, not a wire rack to provide a solid surface. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. I sprinkled mine with a bit more powdered sugar after it was sliced.
This week’s Sweet Friend is my neighbor Jerry. I have the most incredible neighbors and am so grateful for all of them. For this week’s Sweet, I borrowed a cake pan from one neighbor to bake for another. I was a bit sad when we left our old neighborhood to move here, leaving behind neighbors that felt like family, and didn’t expect to find that in our newer subdivision. I am glad that I did find great neighbors!
I love snow. I love to ski and sled. I do not love to shovel snow. Not once since moving here have I had to shovel snow and my husband rarely does. That is because of our neighbor Jerry.
Jerry has a snowblower. For that reason alone, I should be baking for him every week. If it snows overnight, I wake up to the roar of the snowblower next door. First Jerry cleans his drive, then ours, then Janie’s. The sidewalks between our houses are cleared of snow often before the city snowplows clear our streets.
In the warmer weather months, Jerry keeps his lawn trimmed to a height envied by my husband. I often remind him when he retires, he, too, can mow the lawn every other day. No need to fret about it, we can’t keep our lawn as perfect as Jerry and work, too. Yet another joy of having retired neighbors–they really do keep our neighborhood beautiful.
I don’t get to really talk to our neighbors as often as I would like, not for any length of time, but when I delivered this cake to Jerry and his wife Wanda, we talked for quite some time about travel. I was between trips for work, home just long enough to bake, do a little laundry and then leave for several weeks. We talked about the places we like to visit, the places we hope to again and maybe never go again. I was treated to a story about a roadtrip Jerry and Wanda took to California in the 50s. From their words, I could picture the roadside motels, service stations where there was actually service and the narrow roads that have since been replaced by interstates. Jerry joked about the air conditioning in their car, I asked if it was 4-way air conditioning (all 4 windows rolled down) and he let out a hearty laugh.
While I chatted with Jerry and Wanda, Jerry had grabbed a fork and made quick work of the bundt cake. He commented that it was still warm–I was serious that this cake was good and wouldn’t last long. But the real treat is having neighbors who don’t just recount memories of a simpler time, of a time when being neighbors meant something. My neighbors still live in that time, they are still neighborly and I think I’ll remember that a little more often, perhaps with a bit more shared baking.