Oh sweet, sweet weekend! Raise your hand if your ready for the weekend and a little rest and relaxation. Is your hand up? Good, mine too! And I’ve got just the cake to make your weekend a little sweeter!
So, the other day I asked my Facebook friends if they were ready for some baked Fall goodness and the response seemed kind of split. On one side there were people saying “Yeah! Bring it on!” while the other half responded more along the lines of “Nooooooooo! I’m not ready to let go of summer!”
I don’t know about anyone else, but I always kind of assume that the official start of Fall is when school starts (after Labor Day), despite the fact that I haven’t gone to any sort of school in the last 5 years. I know, it’s a very scientific way of determining the beginning of Fall. Sure, I could go with the Fall Equinox. But then I’d have to wait longer, and although I can be patient about a lot of things, the beginning of Fall just isn’t one.
I mean, think about it. The beginning of Fall signifies the beginning of sweater season (who doesn’t love them some soft, warm sweater?!), brightly colored Fall leaves, all things pumpkin, crisp air, pumpkins, pumpkin chai lattes, Halloween… Did I mention pumpkin flavored things and HALLOWEEN?! Yes? Perhaps a tad too many times?
Buuuuuuuuuuuuut, I won’t go there just yet. Don’t worry, the Fall recipes will be here soon. And by soon I definitely mean next week so you better BE PREPARED! But in the meantime, I’ll let you soak up that last little bit of summer with this peaches and cream cake! This baby is filled with fresh peach mousse and swiss meringue buttercream, sandwiched between layers of soft vanilla cake, and brightly cased in layers of peach ombre frosting. And be sure to scroll all the way through the recipe for a mini tutorial on making fondant peach toppers for this cake!
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 fresh, ripe peaches (about ¾lb.)
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 egg whites
- 12 oz. (about 1¾ cups) granulated sugar
- 18 oz. (4½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Orange food gel coloring
- Preheat your oven to 350F/175C, and grease and line three 6" cake pans.
- In a bowl, melt your butter, whisk in the milk, and warm until warm to the touch. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally so the butter and milk don't separated. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat your eggs on high until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until dissolved. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour, baking powder, and vanilla extract until just combined. Fold in the milk-butter mixture, and divide the batter evenly between your three pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Once the cakes are cool enough to handle (but they should still be warm) wrap them in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator to cool completely. Wrapping them while they're still warm will help lock in the moisture.
- Wash and dice your ripe peaches, and puree in a blender. Pour half of your puree into a small saucepan, and stir in your sugar and gelatin. Cook the mixture over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Remove the mixture from the burner, and stir in your remaining peach puree. Cover the peach mixture with plastic wrap pressed down against the surface of the mixture, and set aside to cool in the refrigerator.
- Because we're going to need to assemble everything at once, now is a good time to whip up your frosting (we'll finish up the peach mousse in a bit). Using a double boiler with the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together your egg whites and sugar, and heat until the mixture is hot and the sugar dissolves. Remove the bowl from the double boiler, and beat on high using the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature (8-10 minutes). Switch to your paddle attachment, and begin adding your cubes of cold butter while mixing on low-medium. Once all the butter is in, increase the speed to high and beat until a smooth frosting forms. Add the vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
- Now that the peach mixture has cooled, it's time to finish the mousse. Plunge the bowl of peach into an ice bath, and stir as the mixture begins to thicken. Once the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding, whip your heavy cream, and gently fold it into the peaches until just combined.
- To assemble your cake, start by spreading a thin layer of frosting on the first layer. Spoon a small amount of your frosting into a bag, and pipe a rim around the edge of your frosted layer. This will act as a dam to keep the mousse from being pushed out by the weight of the cake. Fill the center with mousse, and top with your second layer. Repeat this process for the second layer. Once your cake is filled, give it a light crumb coating with the frosting, making sure the areas between the layers are completely filled in, and allow to chill at least 3 hours or up to overnight so the mousse can set. Cover your leftover frosting with plastic wrap so it doesn't crust.
- Once the cake has chilled sufficiently, you can finish frosting the outside. Begin with the top of the cake, making it as even and smooth as possible. Divide the remaining frosting between 3 bowls, leaving one uncolored, and coloring the other two different shades of orange (or peach, if you will). Spoon your frosting into piping bags, and starting at the bottom with the darkest shade, begin piping your frosting on and around your cake. Once you have all your frosting on the cake (be generous with your frosting as it's easier to take it off later than put more on), use an offset spatula to smooth it out. If you want an extra smooth finish on your frosting, you can wait 30 minutes to an hour for the frosting to begin to crust, and then go over it one more time with your offset spatula.
Mini Fondant Peach Tutorial
Orange, green, and brown gel food coloring
Powdered food coloring in pink
A food only brush
A ball tool
A butter knife or skewer
A rolling pin
A leaf cutter
Ok, I know that looks like a lot of materials, but I promise it’s not that much and these peaches really are super easy to make. Start by breaking off two lumps of fondant about half the size of your fist and coloring them a light shade of orange. Form the lumps into two smooth balls, pulling down the bottom of each into a point. Now, decide how you want your peaches to sit. I wanted one to look like it was resting on it’s side, and the other on it’s top. Once you’ve decided where your peaches are going to rest, slightly flatten that side so they sit nicely without rolling around.
Using your ball tool, create an indent for the stem. Using the blunt end of your butter knife or a skewer, create a line running from the indent to the bottom of the peach on each side. Using your food only brush, brush your peach with your powdered pink food coloring. Don’t worry about making it even or uniform, peaches aren’t naturally evenly colored.
Break off two more small lumps of fondant, and color one green and one brown. To make the stems, break off a small ball, and gently roll it between your fingers, concentrating specifically on one end so that it tapers. Press the larger end flat and use the ball tool to create a small divot. Press the stem into the indent on the top of the peach. To make the leaves, roll out your green fondant. Cut out your leaves with your leaf cutter, and vein them with the dull side of your butter knife. Press the leaves onto your peaches, and set them on your cake.