Cornmeal Peach Cake and Joe-Pye Weed at Steeple Top!

Steeple Top Reserve- New Marlborough, MA

I have been enjoying collecting my notes for the next Iceland Post; Part 4: Foodie Heaven. I got waylaid this week by the lusciously sweet fragrant peaches that have appeared in our local farmers markets and also by August sightings of Joe-Pye Weed. Foodie Heaven will return shortly!

The weather finally broke and it was possible to walk again without feeling the oppressive heat and humidity weighing down on me. My husband Paul had gone out for an early morning hike with a friend (not an early riser here!) I made an executive decision that there was to be no practicing this day; I headed out for the Steeple Top Reserve in New Marlborough, MA. We often went there during the pandemic because there were usually few people. I was in the mood for quiet contemplation and to be completely alone. So, it was just me for the entire 2 mile loop, although I wasn’t really alone; I was accompanied by many bugs and the mosquitos also had a lovely time!

The Steeple Top trail winds through woods down a small hill to a marsh area with many species of birds, cat tails, tall grasses and wildflowers. It was a bright clear day with gentle breezes.

I stood on a small wooden walkway over the marsh and the air washed over me. I noticed one of my favorite wildflowers; dusky mauve colored Joe-Pye Weed. The plant is named after a New England man who used the plant medicinally to help with Typhus.

Joe-Pye Weed

Here is a backstory: Joe-Pye Weed always reminds me of going to visit colleges with my daughter and mother in Ohio. We were driving down a small two lane highway near Oberlin, when my mother said loudly from the back seat of the car,” Yo, Joe-Pye!” In her excitement, the words spilled out of her mouth and we had a collective giggle. Now, whenever my husband and I see our first Joe-Pye Weed in mid August, we happily call out, “Yo! Joe-Pye!”

As I continued on my walk through Steeple Top, I came upon several clusters of Joe-Pye; a butterfly with intricate patterns and bright colors perched on the top of a flower.

I stood mesmerized by the scene and I was able to take pictures to my heart’s content, but staying still also allowed the mosquitoes to continue their feast on me, so I moved on……

Steeple Top Preserve

The peaches have been wonderful this summer; juicy, fragrant and full of sweet flavor. I have bought way too many several times and tried to think of a use for the surplus peaches that were almost overripe. I love cobblers of all kinds and was thinking about a cake that was not very sweet but with a cobbler like topping. I used the same basic cake batter for my Apple Strawberry Ginger Crumb Teacake and added cornmeal to the dry ingredients. I cut up the peaches full of juice and added a good quantity of instant tapioca. This made a great chewy topping that reminded me of boba (tapioca pearls) used for bubble tea. I used no sugar in the peach mixture, the peaches were already sweet enough, but made a quick syrup to pour over the the fruit before baking. I mixed some cinnamon with a few tablespoons of honey and put it in the microwave briefly. I drizzled this over the peaches and sprinkled on just a bit more cinnamon. Baked until the peaches were bubbly, this turned out to be irresistible. It is great for breakfast or fancied up with vanilla ice cream or whipped coconut cream for dessert. I hope you enjoy this cake!

Cornmeal Peach Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 cup soy or almond milk

Topping:

3-4 very ripe peaches peeled and thinly sliced *

1/4 cup instant tapioca

Glaze:

1 heaping tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.

To make cake batter:

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, monk fruit sweetener, coconut sugar and cinnamon.

Add egg, vanilla, canola oil, soy or almond milk and mix together just until the batter is smooth.

Make glaze:

Mix together honey and cinnamon. Microwave until mixture melts.

Assemble Cake:

Lightly butter a square baking pan. Pour in batter and spread evenly over pan.

Pour peach mixture over top of batter.

Pour honey glaze over top of fruit.

Bake in middle of oven until fruit is bubbling and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

* To peel peaches, bring a pot of water to boil. Add peaches and let sit a minute or two in the water and then remove. The peels will slip off easily!

ENJOY!!

AND: Here is the “Tree of the Week”

“Feeling a little bleh”!

Cardinal Flower- Thousand Acre Swamp New Marlborough, MA

HAPPY SUMMER AND STAY COOL!

Author: Judith Dansker

Professional oboist and chamber musician- member of Hevreh Ensemble and Winds in the Wilderness, Professor of Oboe Hofstra University; observer of people, art and nature; passionate food and travel explorer.

4 thoughts on “Cornmeal Peach Cake and Joe-Pye Weed at Steeple Top!”

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