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Peaches and Cream Cake – layers of tender peach cake, peaches and cream filling, peach compote and a whipped vanilla buttercream.
It’s finally here! I’ve been through several rounds of recipe testing with my new Peaches and Cream Cake and I’m so pleased with the end result.
Peaches and Cream Cake
A couple months before her 5th birthday, Avery informed me she wanted a peach cake for her birthday. “Peach cake layers, peach frosting, and it needs to be orange,” were her exact words. I asked if she meant that she wanted my Peach Crisp Cake, but no, Avery wanted a brand new peach cake, done exactly as she described. She’s certainly a girl who knows what she wants. But still, I expected her cake choice to change at least a half dozen times before her birthday. Nope! She never changed her mind once.
I’m not sure why, but I expected this cake to be a breeze to make and put together. Whoa! Was I wrong.
How to Cake It: Recipe Testing
Going into this cake, I had several ideas (based off what’s worked for some of my other cakes) for achieving the peach flavor. Here are some of the flavorings I used in the different rounds of recipe testing I did:
- Freeze dried peaches
As I thought about these options, I immediately picked the peach puree to start with. I really wanted a natural peach flavor to shine in the cake. Peach puree seemed like the obvious choice to make that happen. I added the peach puree to my cake batter (which I based off my Classic White Cake) and tried a sample before baking the cake. To my surprise I couldn’t taste the peach at all. Ugh! Honestly, I really thought it was going to be that simple.
I still baked the cake (which didn’t taste any more peachy after they baked) and moved on to my next option – peach Jell-O.
The flavor of the strawberry Jell-O in my Strawberry Cake makes for one of my favorite cakes. It’s actually not very artificial tasting and just has a really nice fruity flavor to it. I figured it would work great with peach too. Nope! Like the puree, the peach Jell-O didn’t add any flavor to the cake. Again, I was shocked. Peach was all of a sudden as hard of a flavor to bake in a cake as watermelon (you can read all about that cake saga HERE).
Peach Cake Round 3
After the first two failed rounds of my peach cake, I ran out of time and ingredients. I decided to put the cake on hold until the next day. That night I talked about my failed peach cake attempts in my Instagram stories and loved all the feedback that came in. You gave me so many suggestions. I was suddenly so excited to try again the next morning.
One of the ideas was to use freeze dried peaches. Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of that. I love the way freeze dried strawberries and raspberries add natural flavor to buttercream. Peach would probably do the same for my cake. So, that next morning, the kids and I set out on a hunt for freeze dried peaches. That’s when I hit my next hiccup! Freeze dried peaches are so hard to find! I checked my natural food stores, Wal-Mart (which usually has them but was out), and my regular grocery store. Nothing. Right as I was about to give up, someone told me to check Target. Hallelujah! Target had them and my defeat disappeared once more. I was sure this round would be my winner.
As soon as we got home, I blended up my freeze dried peaches and added them to my batter. I couldn’t wait to try it, but again, no peach flavor! The kids both tried the batter and agreed they couldn’t taste any peach. At this point, Avery was panicking that she would have to pick another cake recipe. No way could I disappoint her! Nor was I willing to give up on this peach cake. I was determined to figure something out.
I then tried the oil and some flavored syrup, which both turned out to be way too sweet and artificial.
A Winning Combination
For the next round, I got my hands on some peach nectar and crossed my fingers. Thank the heavens, it finally worked! I finally tasted some peach in the cake. I was pretty pleased with it but actually had a little adjustment I wanted to try.
In my Peach Crisp Cake, I use peach yogurt instead of buttermilk and I love the moisture and subtle hint of peach it adds to that cake. So, I used half peach nectar and half peach yogurt, and finally felt like I had the cake I was looking for this whole time.
It’s certainly a subtle flavor of peach in the cake, but it’s there (and it’s not at all artificial tasting!). Plus, the peach flavor in the cake is enhanced by the peaches and cream filling and peach compote. Add all that to a vanilla buttercream and it really tastes like peaches and cream.
HOW TO MAKE CAKE
Don’t forget to follow my go-to tips for getting your cakes to rise and bake well:
- Preheat your oven for 30 minutes prior to baking.
- Use good quality pans like Fat Daddio.
- Spray your pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
- Don’t overmix your cake batter once you add the dry ingredients.
- Use room temperature wet ingredients.
- Use fresh baking powder.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
Filling and Frosting
I knew with the subtle peach flavor of the cake, I’d still want plenty of peach flavor in the rest of the cake. My favorite part of this cake is the fresh peach compote made with fresh peaches. You’ll use a little of it in your peaches and cream filling and then some of it as a filling by itself too. If there’s any leftover, save it to serve with each slice of cake.
If you don’t have fresh peaches to make the compote, you can use canned peaches drained) or frozen peaches. You can also use peach jam in the peaches and cream filling instead of the compote. I tried all of these options and was pleased with them as back ups to fresh peaches.
How to Make Buttercream Frosting
To get a light and fluffy homemade buttercream frosting, make sure you follow my tips over at: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM
These steps are written up for my vanilla buttercream, but are supposed to be applied to any of my buttercream recipes.
- Sift your powdered sugar
- Use slightly cold butter
- Use heavy whipping cream
- Beat for 5 minutes
- Stir by hand
You’ll want to check out the post linked above for more details on each step.
How to Cake It: Video Tutorial
And here’s a short video tutorial to take you through the steps of the assembly process, all of which is also outlined in the instructions below.
Peaches and Cream Cake
Light and fluffy peach cake layers with a peaches and cream filling, peach compote and vanilla buttercream.
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 40 mins
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 3/4 cup (350 g) granulated sugar
- 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons (366.5 g) cake flour
- 4 teaspoons (16 g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) salt
- 12 tablespoons (169.5 g) unsalted butter cut into cubes, softened
- 1/2 cup (120 g) peach yogurt greek or regular yogurt will work, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (110 g) peach nectar apricot nectar will also work, room temperature
- 4 egg whites room temperature
- 1 whole egg room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) clear vanilla extract
FOR THE COMPOTE
- 4 cups (880 g) diced peaches
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (5.4 g) cornstarch sifted
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 3 cups 6 sticks (678 g) unsalted butter slightly chilled
- 9 cups (1125 g) sifted powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.
FOR THE PEACHES AND CREAM FILLING
- 2 cups vanilla buttercream recipe above
- 2/3 cup (80 g) peach compote recipe above or peach jam/preserves
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round baking pans with nonstick spray, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg and the clear vanilla. Set aside.
- In another small bowl or measuring cup, combine the peach yogurt and peach nectar. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds. Once all the butter is added, pour in the peach yogurt and peach nectar mixture and mix on low for about 1 minute, until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides of bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches, mixing on medium-low until light and fluffy, about another minute. Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated and mix for another 20 to 30 seconds.
- Using a kitchen scale, divide batter evenly among your pans (about 14 to 15 ounces of batter in each of the 8-inch pans or 11 ounces in each 6-inch pan) spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife.
- Bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 18 to 20 minutes (mine only took 18 minutes). Check cake at 18 minutes and then set the timer for 2 to 3 minute intervals if the cake needs to bake longer. You’re looking for a few moist crumbs to come out on the toothpick when inserted into the center of the cake. Over baking your cake will dry it out.
- Let the cake layers cool on racks for 10 minutes before inverting onto greased wire racks. Gently turn the cakes back up so the tops are up and cool completely.
- Once the cakes are cooled completely, level the tops if needed.
- Wrap each cake layer with plastic wrap and chill in freezer for at least an hour before using. The cake layers can be stored for up to a few days wrapped once in plastic wrap and frozen. To store longer than a few days, wrap twice in plastic wrap, then in foil, and seal in a zip-lock bag.
FOR THE COMPOTE
- In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are soft and the juices start to boil.
- Remove from the heat and puree in a blender until smooth.
- Return the puree to the saucepan and add the sifted cornstarch. Cook on low until mixture thickens. Cool completely before using in the cake.
- I recommend making the compote a day or two before you assemble the cake. The compote can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for a month.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2 minutes. This will soften the butter without it having to be warm.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
- With mixer on medium speed, add whipping cream, vanilla and salt.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting will become lighter in color and texture.
- Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.
FOR THE PEACHES AND CREAM FILLING
- Combine 2 cups of the vanilla buttercream with peach compote or peach preserves. Stir until combined.
- Place the first cake layer, top side up (crumb side up), on a cake board or cake plate. Using an offset icing spatula, spread about a cup of the peaches and cream filling over the cake layer.
- Pipe a rim of the vanilla buttercream around the edge of the cake. This will help support the cake layers and prevent the peach filling from spilling out.
- Spread about ¼ cup of the peach filling on the cake layer. You don’t want to add too much or your cake will be unstable as you stack and decorate. Reserve any left over compote to serve with the cake later.
- Gently place the second cake layer on top of the filling and repeat steps 2 to 3.
- Place the final cake layer top side down on the second layer of filling.
- Freeze the cake for about 10 minutes to help set the frosting and filling, making it a bit more stable for when you frost. If the cake still feels wobbly, add a dowel to the center of the cake (or you can even use drinking straws for this).
- After the filling is set, use a small amount of vanilla buttercream and apply a crumb coat around the entire cake. Freeze the cake again for another 10 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- After the crumbs are locked in, continue to frost and decorate the cake with the remaining vanilla buttercream.
- To achieve a peach color, I used “orange” and “soft pink” Americolor food gels.