I think I’ve always been in love. I’m that type that falls and falls hard and falls instantly. So much so that I can tend to forget any and all others exist. And while the seasons may change, trends may sway, and others delight my tongue, Peach Melba, that classic peach and raspberry marriage, remains a love of mine.
Without fail, every time stone fruits come into season and raspberries are found in bounty I’m daydreaming of new ways to bring the two together. Of course, the winter months don’t deter me as I have zero issues with frozen fruits. Did you know they are industrially referred to as IQF? Individually Quick Frozen. Picked at their peaks of ripeness you can get these beauties any time of year in their best and ripest condition.
Of course, you’ll need to be judicious about what recipes you use them in as freezing can and will stretch and tear cells that give the fruit structure. But if you’re using it as I am in this Peach Melba Cake, you’re golden!
So I wanted to make this cake purely for making a seasonal cake. And I kinda wanted to eat it. But there was no big grand reason other than celebrating food. Sometimes, being a food blogger, I can justifiably do this. 🙂
I love layers of flavors and textures (except crunchy things in soft things. keep your nuts outta my brownies!) that add complexity to a dessert. flavored buttercreams aren’t nearly enough to highlight these flavors so I found fun ways to incorporate them.
First, and of course, buttercream. And I gotta tell you about this stuff… I was tired of adding stuff at the end and hoping it incorporated properly. And I don’t like using purees in buttercream because it softens it too much. And if you lay off to be sure you don’t change the structure of the buttercream, you sacrifice flavor. And extracts? No gracias. They don’t always have that REAL flavor to them.
What to do? What to do?
FREEZE DRIED FRUITS!!! Duh, Kara. But again, I know my ingredients and the very moment powdered freeze dried fruits come into contact with so much as the moisture in the air, it clumps. I didn’t want clumps in my buttercream. So I decided to get crazy and add it to my sugar BEFORE adding egg whites and putting them over heat.
Oh yeah. I’m a rebel. You need to check out this recipe for REAL Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream to see my method step by step, but you can get the recipe below. We’ll discuss over there why I went bonkers and added something to the mix before foaming the whites – a general NO NO.
Either way, I used that method to make both buttercreams for this cake, the raspberry, and the peach. And then I decided to layer them in the cake AND swirl them on top. We’ll get to the swirls and eye candy pics in a moment. But let’s look at the layers and how I added fresh raspberry and peaches to up the flavor in the cake.
First, I made my fresh raspberry reduction. It’s the same one I used in my Duff Til Dawn Vanilla Passionfruit Raspberry cake. It’s easy and so yummy! It’s deep, rich, and you don’t need a lot to make a HUGE impact on flavor. You should consider doing this with all fruits. Seriously.
Then the peaches. I do think that I found the season’s best when I picked these beauties, but with how we cook them down and caramelize the sugars, even if they are bit before ripe you’ll win.
Again, the recipe is below for you to download or print out, but in short, big diced cubes (about 1/2 inch), a bit of sugar, over some heat, and add some vanilla.
What you’re left with is a delicious pile of soft, tender, intensely sweet peaches that are swimming in a shallow pool of peach syrup. Real peach syrup. Not that stuff you find in fruit cups. If you like that stuff, cool beans to you. But keep it off your cakes. THIS stuff, however? Use it in place of simple syrup on your peach layers. Like this…
Lay that syrup down first, then a nice big helping of peach Swiss Meringue Buttercream, sautéed peaches, then the next cake layer. Peach. Heaven. And if you don’t believe me, I double dog dare you… NO! Triple dog dare you to make it, eat it, ad then tell me it’s not all that and a bag of chips.
Don’t add chips to the cake. I didn’t just suggest that.
I digress. I digress to the raspberry layer with a thin (because that’s all you really need) layer of the raspberry reduction topped with my REAL Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Wanna up your cake level game again? Add some fresh berries on top of that buttercream. Now we’re just getting ridiculous. But hey. FRUIT! That makes eating cake totally okay right? As Mitch Hedberg once said:
That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like, you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and then they would travel down to your stomach, then when they get there, the carrot would say, “It’s cool, he’s with me.”
But let’s talk about that cool swirled piping on top, shall we? It was easy! Lemme show you 🙂
So what’s going on there? Well, plastic wrap. Lay a sheet out and plop your buttercream down onto it and then do the sausage wrap. To get that great raspberry reduction streak in your piping, lay down a line of the reduction on your plastic wrap first, then your buttercream on top of that. Then wrap sausage style. A sweet streak of raspberry goodness!
Drop both into your piping bag fitted with a 1M tip (or tip of your choice)…
And enjoy the lovely swirls that come out the other end!
Add some of those additional peaches to the top because that color and flavor is just too awesome to NOT use up. And now, we just stare at pretty pictures. I couldn’t take enough of this cake. It was not only delicious (ask my husband’s co-workers who may have gotten to enjoy this one) but it’s one of the prettiest cakes I’ve ever made. No fancy-schmancy decor required. Sometimes the ingredients are better decorations than anything we could make out of fondant, gum paste, or wafer paper.
I suppose I should give you the recipes now. Okay 🙂
Oh! Just a note: that’s my Kara’s Perfect Vanilla Cake! I included it below for you as well! You can get the Raspberry Reduction recipe on my Vanilla Passionfruit and Raspberry cake post. And the REAL Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream <— there.