Peach, Bourbon & Pecan Cake by Claire Saffitz - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Peach, Bourbon, and Pecan Cake

Claire Saffitz What's for Dessert peach bourbon pecan cake

Achieve frangipane decadence with this easy Southern-inspired cake.

For an easy take on a frangipane dessert, try this cake from What’s for Dessert? (available November 8) by Claire Saffitz. “The buttery frangipane-like batter is packed with crushed toasted pecans, sweetened with brown sugar, and spiked with a little bourbon (the first taste instantly reminded me of New Orleans–style pralines, the candies made from pecans and brown sugar),” Saffitz writes.


  • Butter and flour for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves or pieces (7.4 oz / 210g)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (4.8 oz / 135g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz / 113g), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (5.2 oz / 147g)
  • 1 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs (5.3 oz / 150g), at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon or other whiskey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe medium peaches (about 12 oz / 340g), halved, pitted, and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 1/3 cup peach or apricot jam (3.7 oz / 107g)
  • Tools:9-inch removable-bottom tart pan (or 9-inch springform pan), hand mixer, sheet pan, rolling pin, resealable bag, medium bowl, spatula, small saucepan, mesh sieve, small bowl, spoon, pastry brush


Preheat the oven and prepare the panArrange an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan with a generous layer of room-temperature butter. Dust the buttered surfaces with several pinches of flour, then shake and tilt the pan in all directions to coat. Tap out any excess flour.

Toast and crush the pecansPlace the pecans on a sheet pan and toast them until golden brown and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes, tossing halfway through. Set the pan aside and let the pecans cool completely, then transfer them to a resealable bag, press out the air, and seal. Use a rolling pin, mallet, or heavy-bottomed saucepan to pulverize the pecans into small bits (they don’t need to be processed into a meal; some larger pieces are okay). Add the flour and baking powder to the bag, seal, and shake to combine. Set the bag aside.

Cream the butter and sugarIn a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula, until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Make the batterAdd the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition, until you have a smooth, light, and satiny mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the bourbon and vanilla. Add the pecan mixture, thoroughly shaking out the bag so no flour or pecan pieces are left behind, and beat on low speed just until the flour disappears. Fold the mixture several times with the flexible spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, to make sure everything is well incorporated.

Assemble the cakeScrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer all the way to the sides. Arrange the peach slices on top of the batter in rows, concentric circles, or any pattern you like. In a small saucepan, warm the jam over low heat, whisking frequently, just until it’s fluid. (Alternatively, microwave it in a small bowl in 20-second bursts.) Pass the jam through a mesh sieve and into a small bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon (scrape any jam solids back into the jar). Brush a thin layer of strained jam over the peach slices, then set aside any remaining jam for glazing the finished cake.

BakePlace the pan on a sheet pan and bake until the cake is golden brown across the entire surface and browned around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.

Glaze the cakeThe cake will have likely pulled away from the sides of the pan as it cooled, but if not, use a paring knife to cut down between the cake and the pan all the way around the fluted edge to loosen it. Press up on the bottom of the pan to pop it out of the fluted ring and place on a serving plate. Warm the remaining strained jam, if necessary, so it’s fluid, then brush it over the entire surface of the cooled cake.


  • Making it ahead. The cake, covered loosely and stored at room temperature, will keep for up to 3 days, but it’s best served the day it’s baked.
  • Using frozen peaches: Frozen sliced peaches are a great substitute when you can’t find fresh (just know you won’t get the rosy color from the skins, since the frozen wedges come peeled). Thaw 10 ounces (283g) frozen sliced peaches at room temperature, then pat them dry before assembling the tart.

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