You're a peach and I made you a cake.
According to everyone in New York city, summer is almost at an end. Ever an optimist, I am convinced that summer won't actually be over until it cools down in October. If the beach is warm enough, it's still summer in my mind and I know for a fact I had sweat dripping down my back and onto my legs on the subway well into September last year... but I digress. No one needs to know the dirty details of my sweat patterns. Gross. Ugh! How do I always end up talking about weird stuff on my baking blog?!
The truth of the matter is kids will be filling up the trains on their way to school in just a few weeks and our beloved peach season will quickly come to a close. To take advantage of the ripe summer fruit, I decided to whip up a naked cake with a little fresh filling.
If you remember I whipped up a little Bourbon-Caramel Peach Pie last year to close out summer desserts. While delicious, cake will always come before pie in my book. When done right, I swear cake can change your freaking life. If you say you don't like cake I think (you're crazy...and) you just haven't had a good slice yet. Boxed cake is convenient but it just doesn't hold up to the moist, sturdy structure of a cake from scratch. Don't get me started on frosting from a can.
To keep this cake "light" in texture (not in calories; sorry) I wanted to compliment the peaches without getting too cliché. Cream flavor was off the table and vanilla, well, simply too boring. Amaretto, or almond, flavoring provided the perfect counter part. When in doubt, alcohol flavor is the way to go! Holler at your girl.
Now let's get cracking and make some cake!
- 3 large ripe peaches, sliced and peeled
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- tbsp water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- pinch of salt
Over medium heat, stir together peaches, sugar, salt, and 1 tbsp of water until warm. Simmer on low heat for ten minutes or until peaches soften. Use a potato masher to smoosh (technical term) the peaches into smaller bits.
In a separate bowl whisk together the cornstarch water and salt until smooth. Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture to the mushed peaches. Simmer for a couple minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°
In a stand mixer, beat together the sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low, add in the granulated sugar. If you have a splash guard, put it on before adding in the cubed butter. Add in cubed butter slowly until the flour mixture becomes crumbly like pebbles on the beach.
In a small cup whisk together half a cup of the almond milk and 3 eggs. In a different small bowl, combine the vanilla and almond extracts with the remaining milk. On a low speed, alternate adding the egg milk and the flavored milks until the cake batter is smooth. Scrape down the sides and then whip the batter again before pouring into a prepared baking sheet.
Line 1/2 size baking sheet with Pam and a sheet of parchment paper or with a silpat mat. The better you line it, the easier the cake will pop out of the pan later. Spread batter into the sheet pan until smooth. Bake at 350° for thirty minutes or until a fork can be inserted and come out clean. Remove from oven and cool on cooling wrack for thirty min. Once pan is cool to the touch, wrap well in Seran wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. This will make the cake easier to work with when assembling.
- /4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 lb confectioner's sugar
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
In a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. This usually takes about four to five minutes. Reduce the speed and gradually add in confectioner's sugar. Once sugar is slightly incorporated add in whipping cream while slowly increasing the speed. The frosting will quickly become smooth and creamy. When it's at the whipped consistency quickly add in your extract and turn off the mixer. You now have everything you need to assemble your cake!
Cake Assembly (similar to the Raspberry Rose Reverie)
- Prep assembly surface by lying down parchment paper (nonstick surface and easy clean up)
- Remove almond sheet cake from pan by gently running a knife around the edges and slamming down the sheet cake on hard surface to loosen. Remove cake from baking sheet and peel off the parchment paper or silpat. You should have a solid sheet of cake ready for your cake ring.
- Use cake ring to make two perfect circles and two half-circles in sheet cake (it's good to test first by gently pressing and finding your shapes before pressing ring all the way through the cake)
- Rinse cake ring and wipe clean after using to cut cake circles. This is important for a clean and smooth surface. Line inside with one 3" cake collar of acetate.
- Place two half circles of cake inside lined cake ring. There will be a large gap between the two half circles, and possibly along the sides. Use scraps of cake to fill in any gaps, pressing tightly. It'll get messy but make sure it is firmly packed on bottom. When you're done, no one will know that the bottom layer is actually scraps. When you pack on frosting and fillings it kind of smooshes it all up into one layer.
- Use a spatula to add four to five heaping spoonfuls of Almond Frosting to cake layer. Use bottom of spoon to drag frosting around the layer, paying close attention to the edges. Make sure you have plenty of frosting along the outsides of the cake as this is what will make your presentation really stand out. To prevent cake from "lifting" and getting crumbs all up in your frosting make sure not to lift spoon while spreading the frosting. The more frosting you have under your spoon while spreading the easier it will be to spread.
- Rinse the frosting spoon and add half of your Peach Filling to the layer of Almond Frosting. Again, pay close attention to the outer edges of the cake to ensure both the frosting and filling will be seen once unveiled.
- By now you'll notice your cake layers are nearing the edge of the cake collar inside the ring... now it's time to add that second one in! Ensuring you dip the edge of the second collar behind the first, gradually slide the second cake collar around the ring. It will rise above the top of the cake ring, making sure you have plenty of smooth surface to continue to stack your cake layers.
- Add first full circle of almond cake to your cake ring. Make sure to use the "less-perfect" layer as you'll want to save the nicest circle for the top and most noticeable layer.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7: frosting, filling, cake.
- Add your last cake layer, pressing down gently to make sure all the layers are densely packed.
- Slide on the last of your Almond Frosting and spread evenly. I did a rough swirl on the top of this peach one. It's totally up to you if you'd like to top it with something more (like ripe peach slices before you serve it.)
- Place cake in freezer for a minimum of four hours. Once the cake is frozen, lightly glide cake ring up over acetate and off of the cake. Remove the acetate before the cake defrosts and let sit for twenty minutes before slicing in.