Photo by Hector Sanchez

We're taking a break from your regularly scheduled Farm Stand post, for an important announcement.

We've heard about a sudden scarcity of peach schnapps in the South and that some of you have spotted your church-going neighbors in the liquor store parking lot. We admit, we're to blame. It's all because of Southern Living's Two-Step Fresh Peach Pound Cake.

And, mercy, has it caused a ruckus.While some of you have sent us love letters about this recipe, others haven't had so much luck. If you find yourself amongst the latter, we have compiled the definitive troubleshooting guide. You might have 99 problems but a peach pound cake shouldn't be one.

What was wrong?

Although I've fried my share of chicken thighs and made many a chess pie, I have, perhaps shamefully, never baked a pound cake. So I teamed up with one of Southern Living's most-trusted Test Kitchen Professionals, Pam Lolley, to see if I might run into some of the issues y'all have been facing including:

  • Tough, hard consistency
  • Uncooked in patches
  • Dense texture in bottom half
  • Gooey or gummy in the middle

After getting over the initial excitement of baking something that looked and tasted like a real goodness-to-honest pound cake, Pam and I decided that there were two things I could have done differently. One: I should have used less ripe peaches. Mine were a tad on the soft side, and their extra juice affected how the batter immediately around them cooked. Two: I should have used a tube pan that was white or shiny on the inside to prevent it from over browning. I used the first thing I found that looked like a tube pan, but it was a darker angel food cake pan.

Either of these pans will work for this pound cake. Don't use anything darker on the inside.

Peachy Solutions

But if the above grievances sounds familiar to you, Pam has your back. Try these tips.

  • Layering the ingredients in order is crucial to this recipe. If you combine the "traditional" method of mixing the ingredients along with the two-step process (beating low for one minute, medium for two), you will indeed end up with a hot mess. Although some of you may clutch your pearls at the thought of mixing a pound cake any other way, do not fear the two-step. It was invented only to make your life easier.
  • Always spoon your flour into a measuring cup and level it off with the flat edge of a butter knife. Scooping or packing it can leave you with an extra half cup of flour.
  • Start off with softened butter, but make sure it isn't too soft. You want to be able to make a thumbprint, but it should still be firm in the center.
  • Using a heavy-duty stand mixer will help you gauge to what extent your ingredients have been incorporated. Although it might be tempting to throw it into warp speed captain, make sure you beat the ingredients together for a full minute at low speed, and then for a full two minutes on medium.
  • Stir in the diced peaches by hand to make sure your batter isn't over mixed, and you aren't creating extra juice. And make sure to mix in any butter or sugar left at the bottom.
  • If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer, but you may have to increase the time spent combining the ingredients.
  • If you're peaches register at a 7.juicy on the ripeness scale, it will throw off your liquid ratios and in turn your pound cake's texture. While you shouldn't try to use ones that are still green around the stem, use the least soft ripe ones you can find.
  • Test in two or three places for doneness with a wooden pick. If the pick doesn't come out clean towards the center, it may need more time.
  • If all else fails, cut it up into pieces and serve with ice cream, and voila: it's cobbler.

Now get to it, y'all! Peach season is almost over.