I didn’t have access to a kitchen for two months, so it is only natural (in my mind anyway) that within 18 hours of being back in the country–jet lag or no–that I would spend hours in my kitchen whipping up something fabulous. After waking up at the ungodly hour of 6am, I flipped through all my cookbooks and searched all my boards on Pinterest looking for the perfect recipe. After going back and forth about what I was in the mood to bake, I decided on making a cake which helped narrow the search at least a little bit. I was also in the mood to bake something slightly out of the ordinary, which is how I ended up choosing the recipes for this Peach Berry Cake.
I got the idea for the peach flavor and the overall theme of the cake from Oh So Sweet Baker though to be honest I only used the buttercream recipe listed on her site. For the other recipes I used Miette’s Hot Milk Cake recipe, for the Spun Sugar I used a recipe from Patisserie by Christophe Felder, and I just made up a simple syrup recipe.
The cake turned out really well, and was incredibly moist and flavorful. However the spun sugar topping was as challenging as it was beautiful. I don’t have much experience with sugar, so even though the spinning of the sugar itself is very easy, it is challenging to get the sugar to the correct temperature, working with the sugar while it is the correct temperature, and then using it before it deflates or melts into nothingness. I have to be honest, I had to re-do the sugar because the first time I made the recipe I only successfully got one ball of spun sugar out of the batch before it all crystalized into oblivion. T_T
But that is the point of challenging yourself to try new things right? Not only learning what works, but learning what doesn’t work. And now I have a better understanding of what not to do as well as what to do, so hopefully the next time I try working with sugar I will have a better understanding from the get go.
I also seem to be a fan of decorations, so in addition to the spun sugar I added peaches and strawberries to the top and sides of the cake. While I love decorations, I am a firm believer that whatever is outside the cake should reflect what is inside the cake. Is there anything worse than picking a cake that has raspberries on the top, only to find that the cake has absolutely nothing to do with raspberries? Or when the frosting implies it has a certain flavor and it turns out it is just vanilla? The buttercream I used had peach puree in it, and the simple syrup was made with fresh peaches–hence the sliced peaches–and the layer of jam between the cake layers was strawberry–hence the strawberries.
I am working on a video (we will just have to wait and see if it turns out… >_< ) so I am not going to talk about what I did to make the cake outside of the recipe itself. I hope you enjoy the cake pictures, and that you try out the recipes themselves! Super delicious!
Peach Berry Cake with Spun Sugar
Hot Milk Cake (from Miette Cookbook)
1 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1) Butter and line two 6 inch cake pans with flour. Set aside.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3) Sift (yes, actually sift it, don’t skip this step out of laziness) flour, baking powder and salt.
4) Combine butter and milk in a small sauce pan and heat until butter is melted and they are thoroughly combined. Here I was lazy and melted the butter and heated them up in the microwave. Continue to whisk the mixture occasionally as it cools.
5) In the top of a double boiler, whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla. Heat over simmering water until the sugar has dissolved and everything is thoroughly combined. It will probably take longer than you think it should, about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and into the bowl of a stand mixer.
6) Using a whisk attachment, mix on high speed for about 10 minutes until the egg mixture cools and becomes light and fluffy.
7) Add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add in the cooled milk mixture and whisk again on low until just incorporated.
8) Use a spatula to ensure everything is combined before dividing between the two prepared pans.
9) Bake for 30-35 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before turning out and cooling completely on a wire wrack.
**For the Peach Berry Cake, wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator or freezer to firm up before slicing and using.
Peach Simple Syrup (Maddie original 😉 )
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 of a fresh peach, diced
1) Combine the water and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
2) After the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has simmered for several minutes, add the peach and continue to simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
3) Remove the syrup from heat and pour into a container.
4) Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature with the peaches still in the liquid.
Peach Buttercream (Oh So Sweet Baker)
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature and cubed
1/4 teaspoon salt
orange gel food color, if desired
1) Cube the peach and puree until smooth. I left the peel on (well washed) in order to keep the color. Set aside.
2) Combine the egg whites and the sugar in the top of a double boiler, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is well combined.
3) Pour the egg mixture into the bowl of a stand mixture and using a whisk attachment whip on high speed for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is light, fluffy and has cooled down. Add in the butter one cube at a time until it is entirely incorporated.
4) Switch to a paddle attachment and continue to beat. At this time add in the salt and peach puree. Add in the puree slowly and stop when the frosting is at the consistency you want. I added in about 3 tablespoons.
5) Add in any food color if desired.
To build the cake:
**You will need strawberry jam
1) Slice both of the cooled cakes into two layers and dust off any crumbs.
2) Place one layer of cake on a cake board and use a pastry brush to dab on the simple syrup.
3) Spread a layer of strawberry jam and then a small layer of the buttercream.
4) Continue to add layers of cake, simple syrup, jam and buttercream until the cake is stacked. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up.
5) Give the cake a crumb coat and place in the freezer again for about 10 more minutes before giving the final layer of buttercream.
6) Keep the cake in the freezer or refrigerator while you make the spun sugar.
Spun Sugar (From Patisserie by Christophe Felder)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1) Cover the floor with wax paper and tape two wooden/disposable chopsticks to the table above it.
2) Combine the sugar, water and glucose syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
3) When the sugar reaches 311 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer, take off the heat and add in the color.
4) Dip two forks into the sugar, place them back to back and move them back and forth above the chopsticks to create strings of thin sugar.
5) Gently take the sugar threads off of the chopsticks and shape in your hands before placing on or near the cake.
**The sugar is prone to melting/deflating, especially in humidity! Make immediately before you want to serve the cake or before taking pictures!