Ginger Peach Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

In my house, birthdays are a big deal.  When I say big deal, I don’t mean because of presents, but instead for cakes.  Every birthday is an occasion for me to try a new cake, cupcake or pie recipe that I’ve mostly likely been dreaming about since I pinned it.

Summer time has a lot of birthdays for our families.  We hosted a little shindig at our place celebrating a belated Father’s Day and the birthdays of my Dad, my brother-in-law and Matt’s Grandma.  This occasion clearly called for something fannnntastic.  I took one look at Costco’s massive box of juicy peaches, and decided on this recipe….needless to say, I’m in love.  While buttercream is the crème de la crème of my baking repertoire, cream cheese frosting is rich, simple and indulgently delicious.

for the peaches:
2 pounds peaches, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
a pinch of sea salt

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add butter and peaches.  Add the sugar, ground ginger and a pinch of salt. Let simmer for about 25 minutes until mixture gets syrupy.  Take off heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled a bit, separate out 2 cups of peaches, pressing out the syrupy juices – this will go into the cake batter.  Keep the remaining peaches and syrup for the top of the cake and the frosting.

for the cake:
1½ sticks of butter, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1½ cups sour cream (I always use light)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups cooked peaches

Preheat oven to 350° and butter and flour 2 8-inch-round cake pans. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

In a separate bowl combine all of the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together well. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the sour cream in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Fold 2 cups of the cooked peaches into the cake batter. Divide batter evenly between cake pans.  Pick up and drop the pans on your counter a couple times, to be sure the air bubbles are out and to help bake more evenly.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove cakes from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

for the frosting:
2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
8 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup of peach syrup

In a large standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high until fluffy and well blended, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until all combined.  Add reserved peach syrup and mix until completely combined.  Test to be sure the frosting is the right consistency (nice and thick).  You may need to add more powdered sugar to thicken or a little water or peach syrup to thin.

to assemble:

Using a rotating cake stand, or just your amazing knife skills (which I DO NOT have), cut each of the cakes into equal halves.  Then, use one of the flat pieces as your first layer.  Place the flat side down on a cake board or pedestal, then top with a large dallop of frosting.  Spread it so it’s even, adjusting for any cutting mistakes.  Top with another cake layer, this time a domed one.  Repeat the icing dalloping and smoothing.  Then place the other domed layer on top.  Finish with your final flat layer, flat side up.

Then, using the rest of the frosting, create a messy sort of finish.  Set aside until ready to serve, though if more than a few hours, you should put it in the fridge.  Just before serving, place the remainder of the cooked peaches on top and drizzle with the peachy syrupy goodness.

Adorn with candles and sing happy birthday to your loved one(s).  Cut in slices and eat!

serves: 14-16
time: 45 min prep +40 min baking + 30 minute assembly
adapted slightly from: kiss the groom

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