It’s my turn to host Project Pastry Queen this week so I picked cake. But that’s not just any cake, that’s a birthday cake!
A 50 something-th birthday cake for the man who made sure that I knew more about football at 11 than most grown men. The man who searched the entire neighborhood for his “missing” daughter, only to find her safe at home, asleep under her bed. The same man who thought it was “funny” to knock on her bedroom window on Halloween night wearing a Jason mask. (Spoiler alert. Not funny.)
I’m not sure how either of us survived to his 50 something-th birthday But we had a fancy cake to celebrate! A fancy cake studded with peach chunks and roasted pecans. A fancy cake filled and topped with dulce de leche frosting. And more roasted pecans.
The peach-pecan-dulce de leche combination is a winner. It’s great in ice cream form and wonderful when paired with a moist cake. I took a few liberties with the original recipe:
– I made half the recipe and baked it in 3 6-inch pans.
– I cut back the sugar by half.
– I replaced the suggested American-style buttercream frosting recipe with the dulce de leche swiss meringue buttercream recipe that we’ve eaten far too much of lately.
– I filled the cake with frosting instead of the suggested peach preserve-pecan mixture and decorated the cake with the leftover pecans.
The recipe as I made it is below. It’s a lot of butter and sugar, but to get a big 3 layer, 9-inch cake, simply double the cake recipe. The frosting recipe is enough to liberally fill and frost the cake, with leftovers. To frost a 9-inch cake, consider only increasing the frosting recipe by 50%.
Peach Cake with Dulce de Leche Swiss Meringue Buttercream
A moist peach cake topped with dulce de leche swiss meringue buttercream.
This is one of my very favorite recipes in the entire cookbook. The browned butter adds a wonderful layer of flavor to the filling and biscuits. Back when I made this the first time, I thought that it was far too sweet. During peach season, ripe peaches are plenty sweet enough to carry a dish like this!
– Cut the sugar in half so the fantastically sweet peaches could shine through.
– Substituted whole wheat flour for half of the white.
– Whisked 2 Tbsp of bourbon into the butter before putting the batter down.
– Added ~1 tsp of cinnamon to the cobbler batter.
– Instead of using 1/2 cup packed brown sugar for the topping, I just sprinkled 2 Tbsp over top.
If you ever get the chance to take a cooking class with Rebecca Rather, you gotta do it. And the same holds true for being in the same room as David Lebovitz. You won’t be sorry.
I’ve taken two cooking classes with The Pastry Queen recently and walked away from the last class with my husband’s new go-to breakfast: homemade pop tarts. At the Rather Sweet Bakery, homemade pop tarts are all the rage. They’re served as dessert with a scoop of ice cream. Yum! In this house, we’re mostly eating them for breakfast. And as mid-afternoon snacks. And possibly one was snagged from the cake plate and called dessert.
The Foodie Groom and I had a chance to chat with Rebecca Rather after class for a few minutes. We talked pop tarts, Project Pastry Queen, and olive oil. She is busy, busy, busy working on the accompanying cookbook for a PBS documentary about olive oil production (Texas Olive Trails). We agreed that I would make and blog her pop tart recipe, so here it is. Like all of the goodies at Rather Sweet, it’s a by-hand recipe but I’ve added notes where Cuisinart and I might have automated it just a tad
I have been making half the batch peach and the other half fig. They’re incredibly flaky – nothing this good could ever come out of a box. And no weird ingredients that send you running to Google. I’ve been baking a batch every weekend since getting my hands on the recipe… when they run out, it’s cereal for breakfast again.
Is there anything better than a warm, flaky pastry crust? If you want “authentic,” mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with just enough water (think teaspoons) to make a thick glaze. Spoon over the still warm pop tarts.
Homemade Pop Tarts
Nothing beats a fresh, homemade pop tart filled with your favorite fruits and preserves.
2 cups + 2 Tbsp flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (cold)
4 Tbsp ice water
12-14 Tbsp good quality peach preserves/jam (or other favorite fruit)
2 cups chopped peaches
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
Add butter and mix with fingers until it resembles coarse meal.
Add ice water and mix lightly and form into a ball.
Or, shred the cold sticks of butter with your food processor. Remove the grater attachment and place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add the the dry ingredients to the bowl fitted with the dough blade and pulse a few times to mix. While running, add ice-cold water by the Tablespoon just until the dough mostly forms a ball. (You might need a little more water.)
Divide in half; shape each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
Roll 1 disk at a time on a floured surface to about 13x11 inches. Trim to 12x10 and cut into 5x3-inch rectangles.
Place 4 rectangles on each baking sheet. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of preserves onto the center and top with chopped peaches.
Cover with second dough rectangle and gently press the edges to seal.
Crimp edges with a floured fork and poke a few holes on top.
Cover tarts and freeze for 2 hours or up to 1 week (I froze overnight and then baked the next morning).
Whisk egg and water and brush over tarts right before baking.
Bake frozen tarts at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
Sift powdered sugar over tarts or frost with powdered sugar icing.
I bake the entire batch at once. I supposed you could bake them fresh every morning but it's hot. I keep the oven use to a minimum. Plus, they keep really well in a covered cake plate on the counter for 4 days. 2 people + 8 pop tarts = 4 days.