I got the book Sky High for Christmas, and one of the first cakes I noticed was this Peach Melba Cake. I showed it to David and he told me that he wanted that to be his birthday cake. It looked so good, and I was excited about making it, even though I would have to wait until August.
I had never heard of peach melba until David and I started dating. Peach melba basically means a combination of peaches and raspberries. His mom likes to make a peach melba dessert, which is basically just vanilla ice cream with peaches and warmed raspberry jam spooned over. Peaches and raspberries are a great combination, so I knew they would go together well in this cake. The peaches in South Carolina have been really good this year, and I couldn’t wait to use them in a dessert other than the usual peach cobbler or peach sorbet.
The cake wasn’t difficult, but it was time consuming and required multiple steps. I had fun making it one afternoon and highly anticipated tasting the results. I made half of the recipe, which gave me two six-inch layers. Since the cake is meant to be a tall triple-layer cake, I decided to split the layers in half to create 4-layer cake to give it a taller appearance. This turned out to be a great cake. The layers were perfectly moist and light thanks to using all cream and no butter, and the raspberry and peach flavors complimented one another nicely. We both agreed that it needed a more substantial frosting (surprising to hear from David, but I am a frosting whore, so no shock there!). Next time I would use the raspberry buttercream I used for the Raspberry Cupcakes, since I loved it so much. It was the perfect 24th birthday celebration cake, and would make a great cake for any summer celebration.
Peach Melba Cake with Raspberry Cream
Source: Sky High
1 ¾ cups cake flour
3 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper or waxed paper and butter the paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Return the dry ingredients to the sifter and set aside.
Combine the cream and the vanilla in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on high, whip the cream until soft peaks begin to form. Reduce the mixer speed gradually to low and beat in the sugar, but do not whip until stiff. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks and continue mixing until the batter forms soft peaks.
Sift about a third of the dry ingredients over the batter and fold in by hand. Repeat 2 more times until all of the flour mixture has been added. Finally, fold in the buttermilk. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake the cake layers for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester or a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert them onto wire racks. Carefully peel off the paper, and allow them to cool completely.
The rest of the cake:
¼ cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
¾ cup water
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons peach liqueur or schnapps
1 pound peaches, peeled and pitted fresh or thawed frozen with juices
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1 cup heavy cream
Bake the Cream Cake as directed. While the cake layers are cooling, make a peach syrup by combining ¼ cup of the sugar and ½ cup of the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook until the syrup is reduced to ½ cup. Remove from the heat and stir in ¼ cup of the peach liqueur.
To make the peach mousse for the filling, combine the peaches, the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, the lemon juice, and remaining ¼ cup water in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the fruit is soft. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Do this with great caution. A blender canister filled with hot liquid has a tendency to shoot liquid out the top! Measure out 1 cup of peach puree and set aside for garnish. Place the remaining peach puree in a large mixing bowl.
Soak the gelatin in the remaining 2 tablespoons peach liqueur in a small heatproof bowl for about 5 minutes. Microwave on low for 10 to 15 seconds to heat; stir to dissolve the gelatin. Whisk into the peach puree in the large bowl.
12 ounces unsweetened frozen raspberries, thawed, with the juices (I used fresh)
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater (I omitted)
Put the raspberries and their juices in a medium non-reactive saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, mashing the berries with a large spoon, until they give up all their juices, about 15 minutes. Let cool, the puree in a blender or food processor. Strain through a sieve to remove the seeds. There will be about 1 cup raspberry puree.
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until stiff. Measure 1/3 cup of the raspberry puree into another bowl. Add the sugar and rosewater and stir until the sugar dissolves. Fold in the whipped cream.
Sweeten the remaining raspberry puree with additional sugar to taste and use for garnish.