Peach cake tatin – with jammy, caramelized peaches, and rich buttery cake, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this recipe for your coveted summer peaches.

July 2009 5 037

While preparing for my parents’ visit this past weekend, I must have looked at least 10 different recipes looking for just the right peach dessert to serve.

I looked at cobblers, crumbles, pies, ice creams, crumb cakes, tarts and finally, finally, found…a plum recipe. Whomp whomp.

But this was no ordinary plum recipe. It was a plum cake with caramel. Yes!

And in place of the plums, peaches were suggested as also working great in this recipe…as well as apples of course, as apple tatin is certainly a classic. I was hoping that some sort of peach cake recipe would catch my eye and I knew this one would be perfect.

What I didn’t know was how quickly caramel burns because either my candy thermometer is broken or the 360 degrees written in the recipe is just wrong –  mine burned at 275 degrees.

So forget using a candy thermometer for the caramel and use your judgment here: almost continuously swirl the sugar-water mixture and take it off the stove when it turns a nice warm amber color. After two batches of caramel and one severely burned fingertip (don’t ask!), the cake went in the oven.

July 2009 5 038

And when it came out…oh boy did it smell good!!  It eased out of the pie plate without sticking and I squealed with excitement at the look of the cake…easily the prettiest cake that has come out of my oven in a while.

The smell was only a precursor to how fabulous this peach cake tatin actually was. It was absolutely out of this world! As the cake cooled, the caramel flavor seeped into the cake, leaving it not mushy but jammy and just plain delicious. The sweetness of the peaches exploded and the now-caramel cake was dense and perfect.

I can’t say enough good things here (obviously) but I have to say that it is must to serve a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream alongside…the ice cream takes the cake to level sublime!

Peach Cake Tatin


Because the caramel will cause the bottom of the dish – and therefore the top of this cake – to be very stick, you’ll want to generously grease the pie plate. Don’t be shy with the butter here! Also, you’ll want to arrange the peach slices really close together – almost jam them in there. When they cook, they will shrink.

Don’t touch the hot caramel. Take it from me.


6 tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
2-3 large fresh peaches, pitted and sliced into approx ½-inch pieces
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
¼ tsp grated lemon zest
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp Kosher salt


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the peach slices, tightly pressed together, around the edge and into the center of the dish.

  • 02

    Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. Pour evenly over the peaches.

  • 03

    Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining ¾ cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

  • 04

    Pour the cake batter evenly over the peaches and bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If a peach sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten

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Leave a Comment

  • July 28, 2009 at 10:33 PM

    Wow! That looks AWESOME!

  • July 30, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    Wow, that looks wonderful! I could almost taste it through the screen….drool

  • Sarah
    August 3, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    I know it will vary w/ stove/pan/person, but roughly how long are we talkin for the water/sugar-to-caramel goodness? 3-4 minutes or more like 9-10? Thanks for any estimate you can give, and thanks for the great recipe 🙂

    • smellslikehome
      August 3, 2009 at 2:04 PM

      I would say 7-10 minutes but you have to watch it…don’t step away from the stove.

      • Sarah
        August 3, 2009 at 5:49 PM

        I just pulled it out of the oven, it smells divine 🙂 For those thinking about trying this recipe, I think 7-10 minutes is a great estimate, mine took about 9 or 10.

  • August 3, 2009 at 8:28 PM

    Oh yum! That looks BEAUTIFUL!

  • August 5, 2009 at 2:34 PM

    That looks SO good…did you peel the peaches before baking?

    • smellslikehome
      August 5, 2009 at 8:00 PM

      nope, no need to peel them. does it get any easier than that?! 🙂

  • August 6, 2009 at 8:19 PM

    that is a beautiful cake!

  • Patti Bliesath
    August 13, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    I did this with plums and cooked the cake for 30 mins, put the toothpick in and came out clean but the cake was not cooked in the middle. I’m not a new cook but I felt dumb that I did not cook it long enough. Are you all cooking this cake for a lot longer than 30 minutes

    • smellslikehome
      August 15, 2009 at 12:41 PM

      Nope, I cooked mine for exactly 30 minutes. Have you tested your oven temperature to make sure that it actually heats to the temp it shows? Oftentimes, oven temps can be off. It might be worth it to buy an oven thermometer which you can find at the grocery store. Hope that helps!

  • September 9, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Ya, 360 is much too high for caramel. My experience is closer to 240. Must have been a major typo. I just made it and it looks wonderful.

  • Tiffany
    December 4, 2011 at 6:58 PM


    This looks delicious! Will this keep well covered at room temperature? For how long? Must it be refrigerated?


    • December 4, 2011 at 9:11 PM

      Tiffany: Yes, it will keep well at room temperature for 1-2 days.

  • Tiffany
    December 5, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Thanks! How about in the fridge?

  • September 4, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Good to know! Thanks for commenting about this, especially since there are so many people looking for gluten-free baking recipes these days.

  • March 30, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    I have not and I’m not sure if the peaches would hold up very well since they are partially cooked during the canning process and are already fairly mushy right out of the can. If you do go this route, however, I would go for peaches that are either canned in water or very light syrup and then drain off as much of the water/syrup as you can. Let me know how it goes if you decide to go this route!