Friday, September 2, 2011

Peach Champagne Cake and the Case of the Missing Passport

I am fairly certain that I have lost both my mind and my passport. Both seem to have evaporated into thin air. I have searched high and low, looking in the same drawers and boxes four or five times each and nada. Nothing!

It's a little bit funny to me that the one time I plan a transatlantic trip on short notice, I cannot find my passport. What's really funny to me is the fact that I'm doing this trip to kind of recharge myself and do a little soul-searching, and in the meantime, I cannot find the piece of identification necessary to go on said soul-searching journey. I have lost my identity and it is time for a new one!

Okay, okay, none of that has anything to do with this fabulous cake I made for my coworker's birthday. This cake was actually my first commissioned cake (ordered by my boss), so I felt a little bit of pressure to make it special. I decided on peach champagne because it is Summer and I thought nothing says Summer like peaches and champagne. Plus, I've never made a champagne cake before, so this was a good opportunity to give it a try.

The cake was delicious. Moist and light and bubbly. Like champagne! And it was peachy! A nice Summer celebration cake, and very easy to make. In the future, I might use this cake as a jumping point for a kir royale cake, or a champagne chambord cake...

So delicious!
Peach Champagne Cake
adapted from here

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 egg whites
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dry champagne
1/4 cup peach schnapps

Butter and flour 2 9-inch cake pans, and cut out two circles of parchment to put into the bottom of the pans (after buttering, before flouring- makes for a very easy removal). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and beat in the eggs whites, one egg white at a time (be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl often).

Add in one third of the flour mixture at a time, mixing on low just to combine, then alternate by adding in half of the alcohol mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven).

Peaches and Cream Filling

1 peach
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar

Peel the peach and dice it into small pieces. In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream and sugar together on high speed with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the peaches.

Peach Champagne Frosting

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup champagne
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp peach schnapps
1 tsp vanilla
1 drop red food coloring

Beat the butter and vanilla together using the whisk attachment in a stand mixer. Add the sugar one cup at a time. Beat in the liquid ingredients.

Mmm, pretty...
To assemble the cake:
Cut the tops off of the cakes to create a level working surface (easier said than done, folks). Place one layer on your serving surface of choice (I had a cardboard cake circle). Spoon out about a cup or so of the peaches and cream filling on top of the cake and smooth it out to within 1 inch of the edge of the cake. Place the second layer of cake on top of the layer of filling, making sure to center it. Start by frosting the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting (to cover up the crumbs). Now add the rest of the frosting and smooth it out however you like (I like the rustic look, personally). For the top of the cake, I cut 7 thin slices of peach, soaked up the extra juice with a paper towel, brushed them with lemon juice, and fanned them out in a circle on top of the frosting. Voila! A celebration cake!

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