“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell of… hope – the kind of smell that brought people home.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon
The freedom to wake up and just decide that you’d like to start baking in your pyjamas has to be one of the greatest ever gifts that ‘days off of work’ have ever brought…
Although these days off could come around a little more often than they actually do (sad face), sometimes when you wake up; the morning summer sunshine will dance on the kitchen walls and enchant you with fresh morning glory. And then you suddenly have the urge to use some vanilla and prepare something buttery with love…Yester-morning was definitely time for a long + slow, therapeutic baking session…
Everything about this cake was magical; The layers, the sweet buttery icing, the deep cross section…and the sheer precision that went into carving out the perfect slice…
A picture speaks a thousand and one words; and my sugar headache says nothing. My head is probably cursing me – this cake is majorly addictive…
And I’ve got to admit that I kind of miss my two little brothers. If they were home then they would have demolished the entire thing in a single evening. Maybe I can freeze them some, would that work? It’s less than a week until they are home and I am no longer an ‘only child’! <3
Nevertheless, it was super sunny and the sky shone. This summer bliss was made extra lovely when one of my best friends came round for some afternoon tea and a good catch-up – Joanna rescued me from this potential cake coma and helped me to get rid of some. Then we (she) baked Nutella brownies; and then the whole house smelled like a chocolate-y, hazelnut oblivion. It was so nice to stay in for once and catch up without having to be out somewhere… (which we usually love, love, love to do!). Home-made cake and milky tea in your own garden is an experience that is rarely ever beaten. Ever:
The blissfulness of the day was multiplied by ten – until we decided to eat both the brownies and some leftover pizza after a good portion of the peach cake…the brownies were left there, kind of upset that we had let them down so quickly. Being so besotted with your baked goods leads to a love hate relationship. One minute, you can’t face another slice ever again in your life. But come 12 hours later? You just do it all over again for breakfast. Sweet…
The day had evolved into a breezy + orange summer evening. We went to a pretty nature reserve near my house and watched the sun go down in the fields. It was lovely. Except, this happened to be the one time that I took walk without my camera; and by sods law, the sunset just had to be among the prettiest that I have ever seen…
Although I don’t permanently feel like I need to photograph everything – when the sky is so pretty, and sun is an glowing orange ball in the pink sky – spewing its low rays everywhere…It physically hurts to sit back and watch it; knowing that the moment can never be captured properly or seen again…I think that a lot of photographers feel like kind of ‘wasted opportunity’ when they can’t snap something? It’s kind of like a feeling of grief for the sunset that can never be shared…Does anyone else experience this? Or am I way too emotional about sunsets? But either way, next time – the camera comes with me…
There is a life after sunsets however. There is a life of cake:
Ah, yes! Back to the Madeira cake: it is/was absolutely perfect! It had both vanilla and almond essence, and is not overly sweet by itself (although the butter-cream is pretty sugar dense). The cake has the perfect balance of moisture to crumb; and firmness to soft. It makes a great sandwich for both the butter-cream and raspberry jam.
The butter-cream was also intentionally thick + plentiful – there is no way that you need to put on a much as I did (sugar coma alert), but the combination of the thick butter-cream with the sweet jam and the silky peaches, in addition to every other layer of the almond Madeira is truly decadent…and any of you with helpless sweet tooth’s would go crazy for buttercream as dreamy as this…it is irresistible. Buttercream is my number 1 preference.
I was more than happy to make a visit to my lovely next door neighbors as well; I rung the doorbell whilst holding up 2 huge slabs of this jammy-cake on a pretty plate…sharing is caring, and they were delighted too!
This cake is rather impressive. (Given that you can frost a little more neatly than I can…) It is high and well stacked. The layers are colorful, and it would make a stunning addition to any dinner party, BBQ or birthday. It is a medley of beautiful summer flavors, sandwiched inside a traditional base with a twist that everyone is always sucker for – vanilla jam sponge…
This cake is the real deal. It is light, cakey and sweet, but dense in flavor without being stodgy or overly filling…you will have to restrain yourself from going back for more…
Just look at that cross section…
It is also super easy! And this is especially so if you were to bake it using 3 different cake tins – the cooking time is dramatically shorter than if you were to use a single pan – and there is also no cutting required. Instead, the cakes are just ready to butter-up, slather and stack in just 1, 2, 3…
Ingredients for the cake (makes one 24cm cake tin/or 3 x 24cm thin cake bases for stacking):
- 2 ¾ C white flour
- 1 C salted butter, softened (always use real butter).
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 C white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp french almond essence
- 1 C evaporated milk
- 5 whole medium eggs, 2 yolks.
- Combine the flour and baking powder in one bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar. In a new bowl. Add the vanilla and almond essence.
- Next, add the eggs + yolks, stirring them in. Do not overbeat the mixture.
- Finally, mix the bowls of dry + wet ingredients together in 3 separate attempts. With each mix, add 1/3 of the evaporated milk. Repeat this 3 times until the batter has incorporated everything into a single bowl.
- Divide the batter between 2/3 cake pans and bake at 180 degrees (fan oven) for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remember that this cake willcook very fast and will very easily burn (especially if split between 3 layers), so do keep an eye on it – it is definitely best when it is golden and moist!
- Leave to cool in the oven for 10 minutes, before removing it and cooling on a wire rack for at least an hour before frosting it.
Frosting + Filling Ingredients
(The following amounts will ice 3 layers and the top of the cake – but not the sides of the cake. If you wish to ice the entire cake as I have shown in some of the pictures, then double these amounts – and there will be some left over).
- 1C salted, softened butter
- 2.5 C icing sugar (other recipes were telling me 3-4 cups?! But I didn’t dare add this much – it would be inedible/oversweet!)
- 2 tbsp evaporated milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence
- Raspberry conserve + peeled + skinned fresh peaches.
- Whip these ingredients together until they form stiff peaks and begin to resemble the buttercream icing if your dreams….(it will smoothen out more the longer that you whip it for)
- Make the evaporated milk your final addition – adding it according to the texture of the icing.
- Definitely have a taste of it with a clean spoon before you go and frost the cake with it!
- Get your layers lined up…figure out which sides you’d like to spread with jam and which you’d like to buttercream. I went for a symmetrical pattern of jam, peaches, jam – and buttercream after each, but it’s up to you how you would like to do it!
- Frost the cake! You really can’t go wrong with it. Palette knife + buttercream; spread it anywhere and everywhere…
I have eaten so much cake.
I need to go on a serious cake detox. This peach beauty is just too good to resist.
But who am I kidding?
I already have tomorrows breakfast, lunch, and dinner sorted …
Joanna’s famous brownies will also be making an appearance on here very soon!
Has anyone ever baked with peaches before? What is your favorite kind of cake to eat buttercream with?
The measuring and mixing always smoothed out her thinking processes – nothing was as calming as creaming butter – and when the kitchen was warm from the oven overheating and the smell of baking chocolate, she took final stock of where she’d been and where she was going. Everything was fine.” ― Jennifer Crusie, Maybe This Time
Have a great week everybody! And TGIF! (tomorrow…!!)