(CBS News) Pastry is an exact science, with precise measurements and attention to detail...and I'm pretty awful at it.
Unlike culinary, there is absolutely no wiggle room for "a little of this, a little of that." I have no idea how pastry chefs do it. And, I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that I will never be able to do what they do.
Still, it's still fun to learn the basics - like butter cream frosting, puff pastry, chocolate sauce, ice cream, and caramel. All recipes that are convenient for my sweet tooth (and my wallet).
I mean, why buy caramel when I have sugar and butter on hand?
Just knowing how to make caramel opens your world to so many yummy treats. You can use it for cakes, cookies or candies. You can put chopped nuts in it to make a praline, or add some heavy cream to make a velvety sauce for ice cream.
So while you'll never see me making a chocolate sculpture or a decorative wedding cake, I'm all in for easy dessert recipes.
Watch the video above to learn how to make a basic caramel, and use it to build a yummy upside-down peach cake.
Peach Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from The International Culinary Center
Yield: 10 servings
Caramel and Peaches
Caramel and Peaches
1. Place sugar in a pan over medium heat. Stirring continuously, cook the sugar to an amber color. Remove the sugar from the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time to make a caramel.
2. Immediately pour the caramel into cake pan and sprinkle with brown sugar.
3. Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the brown sugar.
1. Cream the butter and the sugar using a paddle attachment until light, fluffy and free of lumps.
2. Add yolks, creme fraiche, and almond extract. Mix until well incorporated, and scrape paddle with spatula if needed.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add into the butter mixture and mix until smooth.
4. Spoon batter over caramel and peaches. Bake at 350F until golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes (or 10 to 15 if baking in a ramekin).
5. Let cake cool until warm to the touch, then carefully unmold. Serve with a scoop of almond ice cream.