Rachel Allen’s delicately spiced cake is easy and quick to bring together – delicious as dessert or served to guests as afternoon tea.


  • 50 g butter

  • 175 g caster sugar

  • 4 fresh peaches, quartered and stones removed, or 1 x 410g tin of sliced peaches

  • 200 g plain flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 eggs

  • 200 ml buttermilk

  • 75 ml sunflower oil

  • A large pinch of saffron

  • Greek yoghurt or softly whipped cream, to serve


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place the butter in an oven-proof frying pan and melt over a medium heat, then sprinkle over 50g of the sugar and cook for 3 minutes or until light golden, stirring regularly.

  • 2.

    Remove from the heat and add the peaches in a single layer, cut side down. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl, add the remaining caster sugar and mix together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, sunflower oil and saffron.

  • 3.

    Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, then pour in the buttermilk mixture and whisk together to form a very soft batter.

  • 4.

    Pour the batter evenly over the peaches, taking care not to disturb them in the pan, then place in the oven and bake for 30–35 minutes or until slightly springy in the middle and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

  • 5.

    Allow to cool for just 5 minutes before turning out by placing an inverted serving plate over the top of the pan and turning the pan and plate over together in one quick movement.

  • 6.

    Serve warm or at room temperature with Greek yoghurt or softly whipped cream.

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