Dad, who celebrated his eightieth birthday last week, is a peach of a guy. His uncle was fond of using that phrase to extol the sweetness and excellence of anybody he liked and admired greatly, including his own nephew David, and Uncle Lloyd himself was special, as the only person in the known universe (other than us kids, who imitated him with a certain amount of childish glee when we heard it) who ever called my dad Davy. But he was fond and proud, too, of his nephew—enough to include him in the Peachy category. So to my father David, and to my late great-uncle Lloyd, and to all of the other ‘guys’ (male, female, or other) worthy of the title, I dedicate this birthday treat that I made in honor of their being truly swell human beings.
It’s a gluten-free pound cake recipe, essentially (as long as you check that the individual ingredients meet that requirement in their production, should you be truly gluten sensitive); I only went GF because I happened to find several GF pound cake recipes that piqued my interest and I also happened to have the necessary ingredients for this variant of them on hand. I made it with cardamom both because I think that a grand companion flavor for peaches and because, being of Norwegian descent, I believe there may be at least a hint of cardamom in my bloodstream. In any case, I love the stuff. Almond flavors, too, and what better flour to use in the cake than almond flour, then?
The topping, which of course one can eliminate if it’s too much for the occasion—not that I know any people who absolutely adore sliced, toasted day-old pound cake for breakfast, preferably with yet more butter melted on top—is less Norwegian in its overall flavor profile, perhaps. It is somewhat like a peach sangria, I suppose. But maybe I can pass it off as “Scan-gria,” if pressed for a commitment. No matter; it’s a bit peachy, zippy, happy, has a lot of color and flavor, and is pretty sweet. All kind of like Dad and Uncle Lloyd, come to think of it. PS—no law against using the icing for the breakfast version of this, either.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/ca. 177°C. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 2-1/4 cups almond flour/meal, 1/4 cup coconut flour (I ground some from toasted coconut flakes), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, and 1 tsp baking soda. In another container (I like to use a spouted measuring pitcher for prepping liquids so I can easily pour them up when ready), blend 2/3 cup melted butter or oil (I used clarified browned butter), 2/3 cup raw honey, 1/2 cup + 3 Tablespoons full-fat coconut milk, 2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract, and beat in 4 large eggs until all is blended thoroughly. Pour the mix into the dry ingredients and gently blend everything together. The batter fits into a standard 9×9″ baking pan or, as I used, a round casserole of about the same capacity, and goes into the oven for about 25-35 minutes.
My famously unreliable oven temperatures make me distrust giving anything other than approximate times and temps, and I just watch every individual dish, as I did this time. It’s a gooey cake, not light and fluffy, but I’d rather err on the moist side than otherwise. Just my thing. Meanwhile, I had prepared and refrigerated the icing earlier.
Tipsy Peaches & Cream Icing
Simmer together 2 ounces sliced freeze-dried peaches, 1/2 tsp rosewater, 1/2 tsp almond extract, 2 tsp vanilla, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 3/4 cup red wine, and 1 cup brown sugar until the sugar melts and the peaches are well rehydrated. [I warmed this mix in the evening until it was close to ready and then just left the pot sitting, covered, until the morning, so there was no question everything was well soaked and softened, but that was just because I was too tired after a long day of work to do it all that night.] Then, using a stick blender, puree the mix fully, adding 3/4 cup coconut oil (melted or room temp), 1 cup marshmallow fluff, and 1 cup cream cheese (or labneh). I threw in about 1/4 tsp silver edible glitter, just for fun. Refrigerate until ready to use.
I will confess to going a little further over the top this time, since I was in the mood to play with my food and it was for a good person’s cause. So I sliced a “lid” from the cake, carved out its middle, crumbled the interior hunk, blended it with a bunch of the icing stuff (reserving enough icing to drizzle over the exterior), packed the icing/cake crumb mix into the crater of the cake, closed the lid and covered up my tracks with a slathering of the remaining icing before putting peach (canned—it’s winter, y’all) and toasted almond slices on top of it all. I pinned the toppings together before sticking it in the refrigerator to chill out and set without sliding into oblivion. But it’s messy enough that it just might end up being a trifle or a bombe (possibly even a bomb) instead of a cake this way. And that’s okay. If I learned nothing else from my father, I did see in him a fine example of both how to make any situation work as well as possible—and how to play with my food.