Autant de Pêches

“Welcome to my herb garden…”

I planted my herb garden.  I’m very excited.  I have rosemary, basil, sage, French tarragon, oregano, marjoram, thyme, and what seems like endless lavender.  For some reason, I can’t stop singing “welcome to my herb garden” to the tune of this. (Warning: probably do not click if you are not within the age range of 14-32, or have a strong aversion to hiphop.  I’m not age discriminating, it’s for your own good.  Promise.)  
Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program: cake.


I don’t know if you’ve discerned this by now, but I lalalove peaches. And nectarines, because they’re the same fruit, minus that one itty-bitty fuzz gene. People always leave nectarines out of the discussion. It’s not their fault they don’t grow facial hair, people, it’s a mutation.  So don’t rub it in.
Anyways, my brother is a peach pie kinda guy (then again, who isn’t… Let’s be totally honest here), and he is always demanding asking for one.  His twenty-first birthday was a few weeks ago, in May, but he was in Korea, so we didn’t get to celebrate as a family.  I fancied the idea of a peach pie cake, but I wasn’t quite sure how I would pull it off, until I saw a recipe in Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar for “pie crumb” and pie crumb frosting that I knew.  Eating a sweet, ripe peach with a dollop of tangy sour cream is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and whenever I do, it brings me back to a certain family vacation to Cape Cod, my mama slicing up white peaches and serving them to me with sour cream while my dad and brothers watched South Park in the other room (Did I mention that my family is dysfunctional?), so I knew I wanted to make a pie crumb frosting with sour cream for a tang.  I made a peach cake, filled with pie crumbs, peaches, and pie crumb frosting, and topped with more pie crumbs.  The slightly tart taste of the peaches and sour cream mixed with the buttery crumbs and sweet cake was top notch, if I do say so myself.  Because sour cream has a fat content similar to heavy cream, you can whip it into a pretty stable frosting.  I will definitely be using this more often to make cream cheesy frostings.  Christina Tosi is a genius: her pie crumbs are to die for.  I made a batch and a half because I knew I would need insurance against my raging snacking habit.  Yum.  

Peach Pie Cake
Bits and pieces from Momofuku Milk Bar
For the cake:
2 cups pureed peaches
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk powder
3 ounces butter
3 small eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour 2 or 3 eight inch rounds.  Sift the flour, salt, milk powder, and baking powder together.  Beat the butter and sugar together, then beat in eggs one at a time.  Add in the peach puree and vanilla, and beat until combined.  Add in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.  Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until springy and golden.
For the pie crumbs:

320 g flour (2 1/4 cups)
27 g sugar (3 tablespoons)
5 g kosher salt (heaping teaspoon)
178 g butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
30 g water (2 1/4 tablespoons)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the butter and water slowly, on low speed, until the mixture clumps up.  Spread the clusters out on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until light golden.  

For the frosting:
(makes enough to frost and fill one four layer cake)
12 ounces mascarpone
16 ounces sour cream
8 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream
3/4 cup pie crumbs
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Blend all ingredients in an immersion blender until thick, creamy, and homogeneous.  The pie crumbs should be broken up into almost invisible pieces.  

To assemble:
Torte the layers.  Frost each with 1/3 cup frosting.  Top with pie crumbs and thinly sliced peaches.  Crumb coat the cake, then put it in the fridge to chill.  Frost with remaining icing, and decorate with pie crumbs.  
Là voilà! Un gâteau de la tarte aux pêches!

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