What’s your favorite unusual combination? We all have awesome classic staples in all parts of our lives. In fashion, I love pairing black with a bright pop of color. When I’m doing makeup, I often pair a deep smoky eye shadow with a nude lipstick. I often switch between comedy and drama shows to keep the mood in the house from getting too heavy. And in the culinary world, there are so many favorites to choose from: peanut butter and jelly, maple syrup and apples, cherries and almonds.
I also love fancy restaurant desserts with many different components that all magically go together. Different textures and flavors that all go together seamlessly to make the perfect combination. This is even rare at restaurants (at least in metro Detroit), though I have had a few. My favorite had sautéed apples and candied nuts with some light sponge cake and salted caramel ice cream along with caramel sauce. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I ate my plate and some of Mom’s. I still think about that dessert!
I’d love to create masterpieces like that in my own kitchen, but I don’t very frequently. I’ve had my eye on Hungry Rabbit’s Nectarine-Blueberry Cake with Caramel Frosting forever and I finally made it. It’s one of those masterpieces with the perfect combination of all the tastes and textures complementing each other. Mom at first thought it might be too much, but after one bite, we decided it was perfection. Though there are a lot of steps, none were overly time consuming and making some ahead definitely helps!
Mine might not be as pretty as Ken’s, but it sure tasted good. I swapped nectarines for peaches in the recipe because they were ripest in my kitchen, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The cake, loaded with peaches and blueberries, is insanely moist and topped with a delightful crumb topping. The filling manages to add a maple syrup/vanilla flavor, even though it has neither. It’s probably the bourbon working its magic. Oh and the caramel frosting! Silky smooth, not too sweet and almost custard like in its texture, it’s the first cooked frosting I’ve made like this, but it certainly won’t be the last. This cake? It might just be my new favorite combination.
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups peaches, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 cup fresh blueberries, picked over
1 ½ cups peaches, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons reserved streusel
2 tablespoons bourbon
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
Make the streusel. In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugars, and cinnamon. Add oil and stir until clumps of various sizes form. Set aside or make ahead and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 1 day.
Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment and butter and flour the entire pan.
In a small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream sugar, lemon zest, butter, and salt until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, fully incorporating each. Beat until once again light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in blueberries and peaches.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Reserve 2 tablespoons of streusel for the filling, and sprinkle the rest evenly on top of the cake. Bake 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cake completely in pan.
Make the filling. Cook peaches and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until peaches are softened and juicy, about 3 minutes. Add reserved streusel and cook 1 minute more. Add bourbon (carefully) and cook about 1 additional minute. Pour mixture into a heat proof bowl and cool completely. Filling may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 day.
Make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, baking soda, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in milk. Once the milk is whisked in, place the pan over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour mixture into a bowl and cool completely. Mixture may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat cooled milk mixture and vanilla to combine. Add butter 1 piece at a time while beating. Continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy 2-3 minutes. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Assemble the cake. Carefully remove the cake from the pan, peel off the parchment round and place on a cake stand. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally, keeping the layers as even as possible. Remove the top half. Spread the filling evenly over the bottom half. Place the top half on the cake on top. Frost the top of the cake only with the frosting. Cake may be stored in the refrigerator for up 3 days.
Recipe adapted from Hungry Rabbit
Additional cooling time is necessary