Friday, January 27, 2012

Peach and Vanilla Cake, for my Mum

January seems to be the birthday month for a surprising number of people. My mother is part of this group, and I have enjoyed making her birthday cake for some 15+ years now. When I moved out, I was briefly worried that my sister may want to appropriate the role, but it turns out that my siblings are quite happy to let me keep it. This will continue to work well for as long as I live in Perth, after which it may prove more complicated!

This year, I settled on a peach and vanilla cake.

The fact that I chose this flavour combination before finding a recipe could have been a foolish move. Fortunately, my tendency to adapt recipes to suit my needs whimsical desire works out more often than not, and this proved true for this combination.

The cake was adapted from a plain vegan white cake, which gave the vanilla component, and the icing was based on the 'buttercream' frosting in The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes (Kris Holechek). I wasn't committed to making a vegan cake, given that my Mum isn't vegan and I wanted something that would suit her tastes rather than mine, but in the end it worked out that way.

The cake itself was good, but I think in future I would increase the vanilla and the peaches. I wasn't sure how thick the cake texture would be, and I didn't want to overload it with too many peaches if it was on the fluffy side. As it turns out, the cake was almost fudgy in consistency, and so I could probably have doubled the peaches without problem.

Can you tell this was inverted onto a cooling rack? :-)

The icing, in contrast, I wouldn't change at all. Given that I don't usually like icing much (unless it's of the cream cheese or ganache variety) I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed this. I added a generous dollop of plain natural yoghurt to the buttercream ingredients, and that provided a slight tartness that worked very well indeed.

Using my new electric beater was pretty fun too. I was definitely reminded of the benefits of having two beating whisks rather than one!

Peach and vanilla cake
Adapted from this vegan white cake
Icing adapted from The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes (Kris Holechek)
Makes 1 large round cake

For the cake;
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy margarine (I used Nuttelex)
3 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1 - 1.5 tbsp vanilla (see note below)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 - 4 large fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (see note below)

Note. I used 1 tbsp vanilla and 2 large peaches, but next time would increase these proportions to 1.5 tbsp vanilla and 4 peaches

For the icing;
3 tbsp non-dairy margarine
~2 tbsp plain natural yoghurt (I did 1 generous dessertspoon dollop)
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp non-dairy milk

2 - 3 medium fresh peaches, to decorate (I used 2.5), plus optional strawberries

For the cake;
Preheat the oven to 180'C and prepare a round cake pan.

Cream the sugar and margarine in a large bowl, until light and fluffy.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Alternate adding this flour mixture and the soy milk to the creamed sugar, stirring to combine after each addition (e.g., add 1 cup flour mixture, stir, add 1 cup soy milk, stir). Continue until all of the flour mixture and all of the soy milk have been added to the large bowl and stirred through.

Add the vanilla and apple cider vinegar. Beat the cake batter with an electric beater for about 2 minutes (or the equivalent by hand). 

Add the chopped peaches and stir through.

Pour the mixture into your prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 - 20 minutes, then cool completely on a cooling rack.

For the icing;
Cream the icing sugar, margarine and yoghurt in a large bowl, until light and fluffy. 

Add the vanilla and soy milk and continue beating until well-combined.

Ice, and decorate with extra sliced peaches and optional strawberries.

Although I would have liked more vanilla and peach, the cake was well received and I don't think others were concerned. The icing mix was also a hit, and the yoghurt addition is definitely something I'll be doing again.

In addition to being a birthday week, yesterday, of course, was Australia Day. I hope the Australians among you enjoyed it, whether you were celebrating or simply enjoying the public holiday (as we did, inside, in air conditioning!).

Do you have favourite birthday cake recipes, or do you like to vary things from year to year?
Are you a fruit or chocolate cake type of person?


  1. I tend to do that too... pick a flavor combo and then try and find a recipe. I am not ambitious enough to adjust recipes like that, though, esp. when I am cooking for someone else.

    1. Your approach is probably much more sensible. One day my adjusting tendencies will end in disaster I'm sure!

  2. Hi Kari,
    I always use an ancient recipe from my great aunt which has vanilla, lemon essence and custard powder of all things in it. Always in a ring tin as well. It's become a family classic. I hope you're enjoying two beaters - it makes a big difference!

    1. Your cake sounds wonderful! I'll look out for your next family birthday event on your blog :) (Unless it has already featured, in which case I may look retrospectively...)

      The two beaters are amazing. It's amazing how modern appliances become much more exciting when you've had a break from them!

  3. Fruit cake, definitely. So long as you don't mean Christmas-esque revolting fruitcake. ;)

    Happy birthday to your mum! This looks gorgeous :)

    1. I think it's safe to say that Christmas-esque fruitcakes will never emerge from either of our kitchens :)

      And thank you!

  4. I think I'm the only person I know who doesn't like peach (or nectarines, or apricots). I think my dislike was originally inspired by the overwhelming smell of peach body spray that permeated the halls of my high school (along with that gummy bear scented spray - was that only popular in North America?). But, those peach pieces look a lot like mango, which makes me want a piece :)

    1. You've made me think that mango would work well actually. Perhaps I'll do that next time!

      On those body high school seemed to have an excess of vanilla. The smell of cheap vanilla spray makes me feel a tad queasy to this day, so I can understand your peach aversion. Not apricots though! They are one of my favourite fruits and I feel like I could eat an almost endless supply.

  5. This looks delicious!! Very similar to the Korean cakes that we get at the store~ :D I'm definitely a fruit cake type of person, rather than a chocolate one. I can only eat a little bit if it's chocolate because of the decadent flavor.

    1. Thanks Ellie :) And I'm exactly like you with chocolate - in cake form, I find it a bit too much. I prefer my chocolate plain and my cakes with fruit!

  6. I love how colorful this cake is!

  7. This cake looks gorgeous - I love the fruity decorations - I love pretty cakes but get annoyed about all the sugar so this is perfect! We have lots of birthdays in January too so it seems we have had lots of celebrations lately and it feels odd now because February has so few birthdays!

    1. I have 2 in February, so I get to keep celebrating for a little while :) And then March throws up several more, so in some ways the first quarter of the year is an ongoing celebration. You'll have to think of a cake-worthy February cause so you don't miss out!

    2. oh I wont miss out - sylvia and I have already started planning her birthday cake!!!!


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