Peach Cake with Peach Cream Cheese Frosting and Burnt Sugar Shards

As you know by now, I recently threw a birthday party and went slightly overboard with dessert (think two cakes as well as cupcakes). This was one of the cakes that I made – and if I say so myself, by far the best one. Sometimes fruit cakes tend to lose the flavor of the fruit they’re supposed to embody, but this one absolutely does not. You can taste the peach in both the cake and the frosting, and the cake is even topped with a few peaches that you cook down. I highly recommend this cake for a summer birthday or party.

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Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients
Peaches-
4 cups sliced peaches (5-6 peaches for me)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
A pinch of kosher salt

Cake-
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups cooked peaches (this will not be all of the peaches you cooked down, save some for the top)

Frosting-
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/4 cup of peach syrup (this is the liquid from the peaches you cooked)

Burnt Sugar-
1 cup sugar

1. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the peaches. Sprinkle the sugar slowly (you don’t have to use all of the 1/2 cup – gauge how naturally sweet your peaches are, and add sugar accordingly). Add the ginger and salt. Continue cooking until the peaches have gotten soft and it looks like you have about 1/4 cup of liquid. For me this took about ten minutes. Then remove the peaches, and set aside. You can also set aside the liquid.

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2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your two round cake pans by buttering the bottom and sides and then cutting a round piece of wax paper to set in the bottom. Also butter the top of the wax paper. This will make the removal process much easier.

3. Now prepare your cake batter by creaming the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Continue beating until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing. Scrape down the sides when done.

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4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Now slowly pour this mixture into the mixing bowl, alternating with the sour cream. Once it is all mixed, add the vanilla. Then using a spatula, add the 1 1/2 cups of cooked peaches (remember to save some for the top and to save the liquid for the frosting).

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5. Pour the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool until you can hold the pans. Turn the pans upside down and drop the cake carefully onto a wire rack. Flip the cakes over and let them cool completely. You do not want to put frosting on until the cakes are entirely cool. If you’re in a hurry, you can always use the fridge to cool the cakes faster.

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6. While the cakes are baking, you can prepare your frosting. If you’re doing this by hand, you may want to do it in two batches. If you’re doing it in a regular sized electric mixer, you should be fine making it in one batch. I’d also recommend using the clear plastic guard (mine came with one), to prevent the powdered sugar from getting all over the place. Cream the cream cheese and butter. Once smooth, slowly add powdered sugar until completely mixed. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice before you finish pouring in the powdered sugar. Add the peach syrup. Set in fridge until ready to frost cake.

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7. While the cakes cool, you can prepare the burnt sugar shards. Before beginning, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside. Place the cup of sugar in a large pan on the stove, over medium high heat. Heat the sugar until it begins to melt and brown. Do NOT stir. If you need to spread it more evenly in the pan, you can tilt the pan. Once the sugar has turned a nice light amber brown, pour it into the baking sheet. Tilt the baking sheet to get an even layer. Let sit until the sugar has hardened (should only take a minute or two). Now place a layer or two of parchment paper on top and use a rolling pin to break the large piece into small shards. Set aside until ready to decorate the cake.

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8. To assemble the cake, get one of your cake layers out. I always set it on a flat plate so I can move it more easily (and store it in the fridge), but you can also set it directly on whatever you’re going to serve it on. Cover the top of this bottom cake layer with frosting. Place the second layer of cake on top, and now cover the entire cake (top and sides) with frosting. If you want to get a really smooth layer of frosting, cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting, and then place it in the fridge to harden. Once it has hardened (20 minutes or so), remove the cake and cover with a second layer of frosting.

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9. Once the cake is frosted, and you’re ready to serve, you can place the extra peaches on top. I put mine in a circle on top. You can then decorate with the sugar shards. I placed a small circle on top of my peaches and then sprinkled them over the rest of the cake, but you can use them however you want. You could also use way more than I did (I had plenty of leftovers). The reason to do this right before you serve is that otherwise the peaches will drip down the sides of the cake.

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This cakes lasts for a few days, as long as you keep it in a sealed container in the fridge. But it is definitely best the day of, so I’d recommend serving it on the day it is made.

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