24 Aug Almond Layer Cake with Peach + Mascarpone Filling & Raspberry Buttercream
HOLY MOLY I’M BACK, Y’ALL!!
You probably didn’t notice (or maybe you did, and in that case iluvu) but I took a wee little (cough, 4-month) break from this little butter-filled online world I’ve created.
I know. Four months. WHUT.
I have no idea how it happened but the time FLEW by. One day I was posting Piña Colada Blondies and bragging about my fancy tropical vacay, and the next it was the first of August and I was all omg it’s eff the oven August and I haven’t made shit.
Soooooo, my B.
Is anybody still out there? Do you still love butter? Do you forgive me? What if I feed you cake? *shoves slice of cake in your face*
Speaking of cake…
For the past two years, August has been the one and only month of the year in which I banish the oven from all of my kitchen endeavors. Texas is hot. My air conditioner runs constantly. The last thing I need it a little box of electric current-y things (that’s what it is right?) blasting its hot breath into my kitchen and adding to the already unpleasant amount of general sweatiness that is happening.
So last weekend, when life finally slowed down and the baking itch itched, I got back in the kitchen and I made a couple of no-bake things. Pudding things to be exact.
(And I’ll preface this by saying that I really, really, really love pudding.)
BUT, in this case, on this particular ovenless occasion, I was underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, the pudding-y things were delicious. In fact, I’m currently testing out pudding’s freezing ability and, depending on how this little experiment goes, pudding-y things may even make they’re way to the blog in the coming weeks.
BUT after FOUR LOOOONG MONTHS of dead air, was I really going to post about pudding? My reentry into the blogosphere needed to feel BIGGER. Like more of a celebration. It had to say LET’S PARTY. I felt that this momentous occasion calls for a cake of epic proportions. (Hopefully you feel those feels, too.)
Plus, I mean, there needed to be butter. #lifemotto
Moral of the story: I broke the rules and I turned on the oven. IN AUGUST. And things got a little sweaty and weird, and my air conditioner ran like, 17 marathons to keep the condo under 85F, but y’all, look at this cake!
Let me introduce you.
Five layers of fluffy almond chiffon cake layered with whipped mascarpone and homemade peach compote and frosted with the dreamiest raspberry SMBC*, meet my butter-loving friends.
This cake is airy and light and perfectly summery due to yummy brightness from compote made from fresh peaches – the best kind of cake for a heartfelt homecoming.
I missed you guys and I can’t wait to tell you all about my last four months! SO MANY THINGS have happened while I’ve been gone. SRSLY. A lot. I’m working on a While I Was Slacking post of sorts to fill you in on all the mad deets (read: to publish my vacation photos so my mom can finally see them), so stay tuned!!
*Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Notes About This Recipe:
For the swiss meringue buttercream:
- I chose to use freeze-dried raspberries instead of fresh (I buy them at Trader Joe’s). It gives the buttercream a slightly stiffer texture while still imparting raspberries’ signature tart zing. If you’re more into fresh, you can definitely go that direction – use the recipe here but sub fresh raspberry puree for the strawberry puree.
- The SMBC will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Chilled buttercream must be returned to room temperature before you use it — you may need to give it another whip in the mixer, too.
For the cake layers:
- I doubled the recipe below to make six layers, but only ended up using five because it wouldn’t fit in the refrigerator otherwise. For a sky-high cake like mine, you’ll need to make two batches of the recipe below.
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 1/2 cup canola or other light oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 5 medium peaches, blanched, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (more for less ripe peaches)
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 oz. mascarpone, cold
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
- pinch sea salt
- 1.2 oz freeze-dried raspberries, processed to a powdered and sifted to remove majority of seeds
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the brown sugar and 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar. Set aside.
- In a separate small bowl (or measuring cup) whisk together the egg yolks, oil, buttermilk and almond extract. Set aside.
- Add the egg whites to the bowl of a clean stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and gradually increase the speed to high, whipping until the egg whites form very soft peaks.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a slow stream. Turn the mixer back to high and whip until the whites hold firm, shiny peaks. Set aside for a moment.
- Add the wet ingredients (yolk mixture) to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Using a spatula, very gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter until incorporated, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until cakes are springy (they will not brown much) and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before removing cakes from the pans.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches, brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium low heat until peaches have broken down and mixture is thick and jam-like, about 20 minutes. (It will thicken more as it cools, so don't let it go too far.)
- Stir in the vanilla then remove from the heat and let cool.
- Add cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the mascarpone, cream and confectioners sugar and beat on low until combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Turn the mixer to high and beat for 1-2 minutes until smooth and thick.
- In a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmer water.
- Gently whisk the mixture until it hot to the touch, or 130F on a candy thermometer. Once temperature is reached, transfer the mixture to the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
- Whip the mixture on medium high until tripled in volume (4-5 minutes) then turn the mixer to low and continue to mix until the bowl is cool to the touch (another 4-5 minutes).
- Kick the mixer back up to medium-high and add the butter one cube at a time, adding the next just as the previous one has been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- At some point during this process, it's possible that your buttercream will take on a curdled appearance -- don't worry, this is normal. Keep on going and the buttercream will eventually come together.
- Once all butter in incorporated, add the raspberry powder and turn the mixer to high for another 30 seconds or until buttercream is fluffy and creamy and the raspberry is distributed throughout.
- Place one layer of cake on your serving dish. Top with a layer of mascarpone filling and then a layer of peach compote. Top with another layer of cake and repeat. Once the top layer of the cake has been added, place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set up.
- Once chilled frost the outside of the cake with a very thin layer of buttercream. This is known as the crumb coat and will keep any crumbs from sneaking into the final layer of frosting. Place in the refrigerator again to firm up.
- Once your crumb coat is firm, finish frosting the cake with nice, thick layer of raspberry buttercream. Top with fresh peaches and raspberries just before serving.