Hello, Summer

A Supremely Clever 4-Ingredient Peach Cobbler

June 25, 2018

Summer is here! In honor of all the BBQing, sprinkler-hopping, and ice cream truck-chasing to come, we give you Hello, Summer, a picnic basket full of easy-breezy recipes and tips to help you make the most of every minute this season.

Two pea(ch cobbler)s in a pod. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Recipes, like the answers to your deepest questions, are everywhere—if you just look for them. The back of your bag of flour, or a spice jar, or the little booklet that comes with the pizza stone you just bought. You know, the one you toss aside as soon as you unwrap because you're so excited to get cracking on that pizza dough? (We've all been there!)

Ever since our longtime contributor Posie Brien taught me the treasure trove that is back-of-the-box recipes, I've been hunting them down, because not only are those recipes often reliable, but they're also pretty basic, happy to be enjoyed as is but more than willing to be a canvas for your creativity. That's how I came across this recipe for a 4-ingredient (!!) peach cobbler from Emile Henry, the more than a century–old French ceramics company known for how evenly its pans diffuse heat. All this baby needs is cake mix, lemon-lime soda, cinnamon, peaches, and less than an hour of your time.

But there was a caveat: The recipe called for a grill and white cake mix, neither of which I owned. So I asked Posie, the back-of-the-box recipe queen herself, to help me out and develop a version that uses the Emile Henry 3.5-quart baking dish we carry in the Shop. Being the creative genius that she is, Posie riffed away and made a from-scratch version, too, which includes the welcome addition of almond extract, turbinado sugar, and nutmeg. (Hers takes just a little more than an hour of your time.)

"Both recipes capture the essence of summer peaches," says Posie. "The sweetness and peach flavor intensifies through baking, and the filling gets slightly jammy and sticky at the edges where it meets the topping." If you want something cakier and more nostalgic-tasting, this 4-ingredient recipe's got your back. Posie's cobbler is more rustic in flavor, with major farmhouse vibes; in her words, "like the best parts of a bread pudding, a peach pie, and a buttery biscuit, all rolled into one."

Let your mood and/or time limit guide you to what recipe you want to follow. You won't lose, either way.

Something to Drink With That?

What's your favorite back-of-the-box recipe, original or remixed? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Susan Fondu
    Susan Fondu
  • Jennifer Dickinson
    Jennifer Dickinson
  • Nikkitha Bakshani
    Nikkitha Bakshani
  • Peanut
Former Associate Editor at Food52; still enjoys + talks about food.


Susan F. July 13, 2018
Yes, I poured the soda over the cake mix after sprinkling it over the peaches. The soda seemed to just sit on top of the cake mix (I even added extra soda). And I mixed it a bit in spots. Did not notice if the cake mix was expired. It just seemed to be a lot of cake mix. Maybe too much ?
Nikkitha B. July 13, 2018
I'll look into it! Thanks for the alert. Sorry about the lost cake :(.
Susan F. July 13, 2018
Well I don't know what I did wrong, but this cobbler was a bomb. And I don't mean that in a good way. Just horrible, the soda never mixed with the boxed cake mix and even after baking for 50 minutes, did not seem to be cooked. This was a throw away for me. Susan
Nikkitha B. July 13, 2018
Sorry to hear about that, Susan. Just confirming: Did you pour the soda over the cake mix once it was in the pan, or mix it together before adding it to the pan? My understanding is that the soda needs to not be mixed with the cake mix, just be poured over it and stirred gently in parts where it's very dry. And do you know if the cake mix was expired?
Jennifer D. July 6, 2018
The almond one looks awesome (not a fan of using soda and boxed cake mix as in the other one).

If you don't have the book Southern Biscuits, I highly recommend it. There is a chapter with riffs on biscuits including a Lazy Girl Peach Cobbler. They are not kidding; it is so easy I have made it straight out of bed, still in PJs, before I've had my tea and it comes out perfect every time. It's a good one if you aren't quite up to adding the special little extras that are in the almond version linked above.
Peanut July 6, 2018
Thank you for saying that so courteously - I'm not a fan of using boxed cake mix or soda, either. This is essentially a dump cake, and there are loads of recipes out there for those. French Vanilla Cake Mix + Grape Soda = Purple Cow, Cherry Chip Cake Mix + Dr. Pepper Cherry = Very Cherry Cherry Chip, Devil’s Food Cake Mix + Diet Coke = Sinless Devil’s Food Cake, etc. I am calling shenanigans on the headline of this article. This article details ways to make a dump cake less...dumpy, and it links to a recipe for homemade cake mix without the artificial stuff: https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/how-to-make-dump-cake-recipe-fresher-tastier-easier-article
Jennifer D. July 6, 2018
Sure! I always try, though not always with success. :) One of these days I’ll try to do that one from scratch, maybe with La Croix instead of soda!