There will be two morals to this story.
Moral #1: You can’t judge a cake by its photo.
People seem to enjoy seeing the photos of the dishes on this blog, and I certainly enjoy taking them, so much so that last week, after a lot of research, I bought myself a much better camera as an early birthday present (and Christmas, Valentines, and anniversary present too, if you believe what I promised my husband). I wanted to start using it right away, of course, but the problem is that I was used to my old camera, and it’s been a long time since I’ve operated a fully-manual camera. So my first few photos were not exactly great. The Fresh Lima Bean and Herb Soup took a passable photo, but my Eggplant and Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce, one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long time, looked pretty miserable for something so good.
Neither of those dishes was particularly photogenic, so I set out on Friday to make something worth photographing. My neighbor had brought me several peaches from her vacation, and I needed to use them while they were fresh, so I decided to make a peach cake, infuse it with rose water, and serve it with rose-soaked peaches on top. So far, so good.
Enter the Health Fairy, the little character that sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear that fat-free and vegan isn’t enough–food should be whole grain, too. I listened to the Health Fairy and used whole wheat flour, even though I knew while I was mixing it up that this particular ww flour was very coarse and bran-filled. I really should have listened to the portly little Epicurean Fairy, but he was off vacationing at Hedonism and not interested in offering advice.
So I used the whole grain flour, and the results were less than spectacular. Of the three little girls who sampled the cake, not one of them finished a piece–though they all ate the peaches off the top. My husband, on the other hand, loved it and was flabbergasted that the girls didn’t. I enjoyed my cake conditionally, despairing that the texture was so grainy but reveling in the rose-soaked peaches that taste like the essence of romance.
Moral #2: Do as I say, not as I do.
Okay, so that’s more of a parental mandate than a moral, but it will have to do. Please, don’t make this with regular old whole wheat flour. Whole wheat pastry flour would probably be acceptable, and I’ve heard of people having good results from the new white whole wheat flour. To be safest, use unbleached white flour and consider it healthier than a trip to Hedonism.
La Pêche en Rose (Rosy Peach Cake)
(click for printer-friendly version)
5 ripe peaches (may use 1 large can of peaches canned in juice)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp rose water
3/4 cup flour (whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached white flour)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (or soy flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup soy milk
1 tsp rose water
Remove the skin from the peaches. The easiest way to do this is by blanching them in boiling water for one minute and setting them aside to cool. The skins should slip right off.
Place the orange juice, agave nectar, and 1 tsp. rose water into a bowl. Cut the peaches into 1/2-inch-sized pieces (choose one nice-looking peach to cut into slices for the top of the cake, if you want), dropping them into the orange juice mixture and coating well. Set aside as you work on the rest of the cake.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Sift the chickpea flour before measuring it to remove any large, hard pieces that might be in it.
In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Stir together well.
Add soy milk and rose water to the dry ingredients, and stir just until blended. Use a slotted spoon to lift 2 cups of the chopped peaches out of the orange juice, making sure to drain any liquid back into the original bowl. Gently stir the well-drained peaches into the batter. Refrigerate the remaining peaches and juice.
Pour the batter into an 8″ baking pan coated with nonstick spray (I used a round silicone pan). Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan. Just before serving, garnish it with the reserved peach slices and powdered sugar, and serve each piece topped with chopped peaches and their juices.
Optional: I added a few chopped cherries to the batter in order to give it a pinkish color. This didn’t affect the taste and didn’t even affect the color much, but it explains the dark spots you see in the photo. More trouble than it’s worth, but you can do it if you want.
Makes 8 servings. Each contains (using whole wheat flour): 149 Calories (kcal); 1 g Total Fat; (4% calories from fat); 3 g Protein; 35 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 160 mg Sodium; 3 g Fiber.
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