It's that time of year where you add the extra blanket to the bed. You wake up to a chill in the air, but by noon, it can still feel like summer. The warm weather is fading away into a New England fall. I cherish these few weeks. I'm sad to say good-bye to all that the summer has to offer, but there's nothing like fall in this part of the country. There's a magic there that words simply do not do justice.
I'm years out of school at this point. Ten years to be exact, since I left the campus of Syracuse University. I often reminisce about those days. They truly were my formative years. I made the friends that still shape my life today. I learned about life, love, and the heartache both can bring. For some people, the real living happens after they leave the safe confines of a campus. I began the process while in the folds of my education. In my first fall, outside those folds, the world stopped with the 9/11 attacks, and I learned, while living alone in my first apartment, how cruel and scary this world can be.
That aside, fall, still, to me, means a re-birth. Like those first days of classes, of a new school, it's a slate wiped clean. Each autumn represents a new chance to make changes, to savor every second, to tie up loose ends before the new year comes knocking. This year is no different for me. I'm in the middle of a possible transition in my career, a new schedule, filled with new challenges.
I'm a person constantly filled with nostalgia. I mourn good times that have passed by, but in the past years, have tried constantly to focus on the present. Autumn brings back a wave of memories every single year. This year, I'm struggling to look towards the future, finding issues holding on to the present. I will get there, however, I have to.
This cake represents the fleeting transition from summer to fall. Peaches are still everywhere in New England, sharing tables at farmers' markets with early season apples. The peach represents the last gasp of summer, while the spice cake reminds me of fall. So when you're in this early September, bake this cake, and slowly ease yourself into the next season, and the next part of life.
Ginger Peach Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 1 9x9 square cake
Source: One Perfect Bite
- 5.5 ounces all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting the pan)
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 1/2 egg yolks at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces granulated sugar (a little under 1 cup of sugar)
- 1 tablespoon light molasses
- 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 large peaches, pits removed, peeled (if you'd like) and chopped roughly
Source: Smitten Kitchen
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch (you use this because brown sugar is far more moist than powdered, and powdered sugar already has some in it)
- 1/8 cup powdered sugar
- 4-ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Start with the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x9 baking pan.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of your butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Melt and cook 1-2 minutes until butter is light brown.
- Add your spices (cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cloves and nutmeg) to the butter and cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Remove the butter/spice mixture from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While that's cooling, whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In another small ball, whisk together egg, yolks, and vanilla until well mixed.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the leftover 6 tablespoons of butter, sugar, and molasses together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add your cooled butter-spice mixture to the sugar mixture and half of egg mixture. Beat on medium speed until the egg is incorporated, about 15 seconds.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then pour in other half of egg mixture and beat until well-combined.
- Now, reduce speed of mixer to low, add 1/3 of the flour mix, followed by half the buttermilk.
- Add another third of the flour mix, followed by the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour mix.
- Mix at medium speed until flour is completely incorporated into the batter.
- Take the bowl off the mixer, and using a rubber spatula, fold the chopped peaches into the batter.
- Pour into your prepared 9x9 baking pan, and bake for 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
- Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack, before frosting.
- To prepare the frosting: First off, whisk together your brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar and set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a regular bowl with a hand mixer), beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
- Add your vanilla extract to the cream cheese/butter mixture.
- Add your brown sugar mixture to the cream cheese mixture, and beat until well combined.
- Frost the cooled cake, slice, and enjoy!