Give Peach a Chance: An experiment in peach and lavender.

pretty in peach.

It’s been a busy July, and my time spent in the kitchen has been a tad…limited.  But all that’s in the past, and I finally found myself back in the kitchen the other night, knee-deep in a baking experiment I’d been wanting to try for some time now –  a Peach and Lavender Cake.

I started off with some really nice-looking peaches, peeled and chopped them up.

millions of peaches; peaches for me.

millions of peaches; peaches for me.

To ensure these peaches didn’t merely look good, I ate one. To be absolutely sure, I dipped some of the slices in a homemade lemon whipped cream. Yep, they were just fine (and by “fine” I mean sweet and delicious) and into the cake they went. I used my Best Vanilla Cake Ever Recipe  as a base, added lemon extract instead of vanilla, and added one large chopped and peeled peach. I baked it in a rogue bundt pan that had found its way into my collection of baking pans recently and needed breaking in. It wound up being the perfect shape and size for the cake.



Now here’s where it got tricky. I had this grand idea to make a lavender buttercream glaze to drizzle on top. After reading some info on lavender extract and it’s extreme potency, I decided that 1 stick of butter, 4 cups of confectioners sugar, 4 tablespoons of milk, and 1/4 tsp of lavender should do the trick. Almost. It was still über lavender-y, so I cut it with 1 tsp vanilla – but it was STILL too strong in my opinion. I added one more tsp of vanilla, and that did the trick. I drizzled the glaze on top, and made it all pretty and stuff.

pretty in peach.

pretty in peach.

Because the icing was a little out of the norm as far as icings go, I was afraid to unleash this creation upon the world. Sure, it looked lovely, but I was afraid that the lavender would not go over well with my normal crew of sweet eaters. So, I did what any smart baker would do – I made my boyfriend try it first. I knew he would tell me the truth – he’s not one to hold back with his opinions, particularly on food. I gave him a slice, then anxiously waited in the other room for his review (I was too afraid to even look at him while he tried it). He returned a few moments later, plate empty. One would think this was a good sign, but he did have to walk past the trashcan….

He liked it. He really liked it. The cake had passed the ultimate test and was now ready to meet its adoring fans with both beauty and taste. Life, was once again, peachy.

Cut the cake.

I can’t say no to cake. It’s just not something I do. Even when I know I don’t want to eat a whole piece. I’ll take it anyway, and either eat it and feel yucky, or let it sit until I eventually take a couple tastes and then begrudgingly throw the half-eaten remains in the garbage (have I mentioned that I absolutely despise wastefulness?). So what’s a cake-loving-recycling-obsessed bakestress to do?  The answer is easy, if you take it logically – there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. And by lover, I mean big ol’ piece of cake. 

Just cut it.

one cake, many varieties.

 That’s right, make one big sheet cake, ice it, then cut into however many pieces you desire. In my case, i made an apple juice cake – again my inner recycler was trying to find uses for things I already had that would soon go bad if not used, and iced it with cream cheese icing. I popped into the fridge for about 20 minutes so the icing would set, then cut it up, and topped the pieces with various decorative and tasty extras, and Voila! We’ve got cake bites.

cake bite: the poor man's petit four.

An apple cake a day…

I recently stumbled across this wonderful recipe for jewish apple cake. I had forgotten about the jewish apple cake, and how important it was to my taste buds  until then. I decided to test out the recipe. The batter was amazing (yes, i tasted it, I have a bit of an “addiction” to batters and doughs), with one small problem…actually the problem was the opposite of small…there was so much batter! The cake it made was hands down, the largest cake I’ve ever baked at one time. It was too much! So I decided to take matters into my own hands. Enter the mini bundt pan. 3 mini bundt pans, to be exact. What better way to spread the joy of apple cake than to make many mini cakes and give them out as gifts? The recipe made 9 mini cakes. 9 of them!

the coveted mini apple cake

I only had to make it twice, and it covered everyone on my list this year, saving me time, money, and kitchen resources. Plus, cake makes people happy. And a little cake makes them even happier. It’s like the personal pizza – there’s plenty for one person, without the greasy, oversized remaining slices, tempting you to keep eating when you’re already full.  The moral of story: a little cake goes a long way.

all i want for Christmas is a cake in a box.