Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pretty Pink Peach Raspberry Cake

This weekend is my roommate Suzie's birthday, which means a few things: (1) a fabulous night on the town, (2) a life-size cutout of Edward Cullen*, and (3) a BIG PINK CAKE.

Suzie LOVES pink. If someone walked into our house and into her room, they would probably believe that a 12 year old girl lived there. The entire room is bright pink (well, the walls are purple, but that still fits the bill) - pink sheets, pink comforter, pink chairs, pink rugs, a big pink mirror, etc. So when I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her 13th (*ahem 24th) birthday, the only requirement was that it be pink. And pink it shall be!

In the best cake book in the entire world, there are so many amazing cakes. So good, in fact, that I used a hybrid of recipes and fillings from this book when I made my friends' wedding cake in July. This is some serious stuff, people. So it is my go-to when I need a big cake to celebrate in a big way, and birthdays are no exception!

Though the cake sounded amazing at first glance, I was hesitant to make it because it's not peach season anymore (I missed that delicious boat). But quite perfectly, you can substitute frozen peaches and frozen raspberries, so this yummy fruity cake can be made all year round! Fresh peaches would be worth trying in the future, but we have to take what we can get in mid-October.

Plus, reading the recipe, the cake uses a staggering 3 cups of heavy cream! Keep in mind item #1 folks, this cake was meant to be served before a fabulous night on the town (read: we girls needed to fit into small dresses). But quite surprisingly, this cake actually contains less fat than many desserts because it doesn't use butter. This cake wins!

Oh boy, does it win. The cake itself is so light, and the chilled mousse-like filling and frosting made each bite even better than the last. All of our party guests were in total bliss while eating their piece(s). It made me really regret waiting so long to make this cake. It is so good, you really should not wait for a big girly** birthday celebration, but rather, call up your neighbors and ivite them over to celebrate the fact that, hey it's Tuesday and you just happen to have made a big beautiful pink cake.

Peach Melba Cake with Raspberry Cream
Adapted from Sky High

Cream Cake
(it can be made a day ahead and wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge - I did it, and it worked perfectly)
  • 1 3/4 c. cake flour (honestly, I used cake flour because I had it on hand from the wedding cake, but if I didn't, I'd probably just use all-purpose...I don't think it makes that much difference)
  • 3 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks (and do you know what that means? you have egg whites for an omlette or merengues!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
  2. Oil and line with parchment paper three 8" or 9" round pans (do people actually own BOTH 8" AND 9" pans? I use my 9" pans for every cake. This recipe calls for 8" but I think it is just silly to own so many sets of pans!)
  3. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. With a mixer (hand or stand) whisk the cream and vanilla until the mixture forms soft peaks. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the sugar. Then add the whole eggs and egg yolks and continue mixing until the batter again forms soft peaks.
  5. By hand, fold into the wet mixture about 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Repeat until all of the dry ingredients are added.
  6. Divide the batter among the 3 pans and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then invert them onto wire racks and allow to cool completely.
Peach Mousse Filling
  • 1/4 c. plus 2/3 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp peach liqueur or schnapps
  • 1 pound peaches, peeled and pitted fresh or thawed frozen with juices
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp unflavored gelatin powder (like Knox - also, if you live within driving distance, and want some gelatin, I now have SO many packets...please take some!)
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  1. Put 1/2 c. water and 1/4 c. sugar into a small saucepan over medium heat
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook until the syrup is reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 c. of the peach liqueur and set aside
  4. For the peach mousse, put the (thawed) peaches, 3/4 c. sugar, the lemon juice and the rest (1/4 c.) of the water into a medium saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the peaches are soft
  6. Put peach mixture (careful, it's hot!) into a blender and puree until smooth
  7. Measure out 1 cup of the peach puree and set aside. Put the remaining puree into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool (the original recipe omitted this tiny step...and when I went to fold in the whipped cream, the mixture melted and was not firm enough to stay between the cake layers, oozing out, as shown in the beautifully ugly photo below)
  8. Soak the gelatin in 2 tbsp of peach liqueur for about 5 minutes, then heat in the microwave for 10 seconds, stir to combine and then whisk into the peach puree in the bowl
  9. Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold into the COOLED peach puree mixture.

Assemble the Cake
  1. Put the first layer flat side up on a serving plate.
  2. Pour 1/4 c. of the peach simple syrup over the layer
  3. Spread 1/2 of the peach mousse on top of the layer
  4. Place the next cake layer on top of the mousse (hopefully it's firm, otherwise you can scrape off the overspill to salvage the cake, and have a tasty treat)
  5. Pour another 1/4 c. of the peach simple syrup over the 2nd layer, and spread the rest of the peach mousse on top
  6. Place the final layer on top of the mousse, and pour the remaining simple syrup on top.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour

Raspberry Frosting
  • 12 oz. unsweetened frozen raspberries, thawed, with the juices, or if in season, fresh raspberries
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  1. Put the raspberries and their juices in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, mashing the berries with a large spoon, until they give up all their juices, about 15 minutes
  2. Let cool, then puree in a blender
  3. Strain through a sieve to remove the seeds. There should be about 1 c. of the raspberry puree.
  4. In another bowl, whip the cream until stiff.
  5. Measure 1/3 c. of the raspberry puree into another bowl and to it, add the sugar and water and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Fold in the whipped cream. (Yay it's now pink!)
  7. Sweeten the remaining raspberry puree with additional sugar to taste and use for garnish
  8. Frost the cake with the pink raspberry whipped cream and then refrigerate for another hour (or as long as you can stand)
  9. When serving, put a small amount of the excess peach puree and raspberry puree on each plate for a striking (and delicious) presentation

*Edward Cullen is the main vampire in the Twilight Series. Though she won't publicly admit it, Suzie LOVES when we saw a life-size cutout of him at Nordstroms, I knew that she had to have it. I may have snuck into her room while she was sleeping on the night before her birthday and put it next to her bed for her to wake up to in the morning :)
**All of the men in attendance also loved this cake. Deliciousness does NOT discriminate based on sex.

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