Make the most of stone fruit season with a tender peach cake covered in peach buttercream.
My daughter returned home from four weeks of overnight camp this weekend. Our little family of four has barely been all together all summer, so I wanted to celebrate. I prepared a meal of my daughter’s favorite summer foods: gazpacho to start, grilled skirt steak and a corn-and-tomato salad.
For dessert? I was inspired by the beautiful stone fruits from the Washington State Stone Fruit Growers to create this rustic-looking peach cake with peach buttercream. My husband and daughter, both peach-lovers, could not have been more excited to hurry up and eat all that other food to get to dessert.
The peach flavor comes from adding peach puree to the cake batter as well as to the buttercream frosting. And you don’t need any food coloring. The peach puree naturally gives the frosting this beautiful pale yellow color.
As a singularly untalented cake decorator, I am all over this naked cake trend. Wait, it’s supposed to look unfinished? The cake is supposed to show? There’s no need for a crumb coat, whatever the heck that is? Count me in.
The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of peach puree. To make the peach puree, peel and pit two large peaches and puree them in a blender or food processor. You can also use nectarines if you prefer. You know, because they are interchangeable.
Making a cake and frosting from scratch is a lot of work, even if you eschew elaborate decoration if favor of the rustic, naked look. But the results are always worth it.
When facing a project like this, I tend to divide it into steps. You can certainly make the frosting in advance and refrigerate it until needed. Just let it come to room temperature before trying to spread it! You can even make the cakes the night before; just wrap well in plastic wrap to keep them moist. But assemble the cake and frost it as close as possible to when you want to serve it.
So before peach season (or, you know, nectarine season) ends, make this peach cake with peach buttercream. I promise your friends and family will swoon.
- 3 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 oz. unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup peach puree
- 8 oz. butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup peach puree
- 1 peach or nectarine for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease and flour the parchment.
- Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
- In the bowl of an standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the sifted flour to this creamed mixture a cup a time, alternating with the peach puree.
- Beat at medium speed just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Divide the cake batter equally among the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pans before removing to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before frosting. Cakes can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight if needed.
- To make the peach buttercream, beat the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer until creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar and peach puree and mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Using a long, sharp knife, cut the tops of the cake so that the tops are even. Cut each cake horizontally in half, so that you end up with four layers.
- To frost the cake, select one of the four layers to be the bottom. Spread 1/4 of the frosting evenly on top of the bottom layer, leaving a small border around the edge.
- Gently place the next layer on top of the bottom one, pushing down gently so that some of the frosting reaches to the edge. Repeat with the remaining layers.
- Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of frosting on the top of the cake. Using a spatula, make a thin layer on top and bring the excess down along the sides.
- Run an offset spatula or a pastry scraper along the sides of the cake to create uneven streaks of frosting on the sides and expose some of the cake for a "naked" effect.
- Garnish the top with slices of fresh peach or nectarine.