Recipe & Images: FIONA HUGUES

When gorgeous editor in chief Vicki asked me to create a cake for this 10th birthday issue we were still reeling in the haze of lockdown and the world was forever changed. Back in autumn, when there was no inkling of the global sideswipe that was to come, I had great plans for the year. I still have those plans, but the urgency is less, the gratefulness of still being able to make them more, with family and kinship foremost priorities.

So here is my ode to good times ahead, a cake to celebrate a decade of fantastic food stories, and here’s to many treasured peachy time feasts with those we champion and those we love.

By lockdown design I’ve used tinned peaches in my recipe, but it will be just as fabulous with ripe fresh stone fruit when they’re in season. Teamed up with toasted ground almonds for an earthy note, burnt butter frosting because I’m happy to smear that sublime stuff over anything, and a drizzle of zingy peach syrup for a touch of pizazz. I’ve crowned her with a fancy bouquet of caramelised fresh yellow and white peach roses here but it’s a bit of fiddly faff to create so feel free to decorate instead with whatever edible blooms you fancy.

Here’s to you Nourish. Happy Birthday. X

Enough for two layers

200 grams butter, softened
1 cup golden caster sugar plus 2 tbsp extra
4 free range eggs
⅔ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g ground almonds
410g tin of peaches in juice (reserve juice) or any ripe pitted stone fruit, finely chopped
zest & juice of a large lemon

BURNT BUTTERCREAM
200g butter
3½ cups Icing sugar
milk to soften

Grease and line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper.

Pre-heat oven to 160°C fan bake and grease and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Spread the ground almonds in an even layer and toast in the oven to gently lightly brown and become fragrant, stirring a few times. Keep a close eye on them, it should only take 10 minutes or so.

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the lemon zest then the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder and add along with the cooled toasted ground almonds, carefully folding it all in.

Add the finely chopped fruit and gently fold through. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled – trust me, it will turn out fine. Bake for 50–60 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Set aside to cool.

FOR THE BURNT BUTTERCREAM

Melt the butter in a pan over medium low heat. Stirring constantly and watching carefully so it doesn’t catch, continue to cook until it foams and then subsides to reveal a glorious golden colour. It will smell amazing and caramelised, at this moment remove the pan from the heat immediately so it doesn’t burn and become bitter, then allow to cool completely.

Place the cooled burnt butter in a stand mixer on medium speed with a paddle attachment (or do it the hardcore way by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon) and gradually add the icing sugar until you have a fluffy mixture. Add a little milk to loosen if needed to get the desired spreading consistency.

FOR THE PEACH SYRUP

Place the reserved peach liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat with 2 tbsp sugar and the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and reduce until syrupy. Cool.

*If using fresh fruit substitute with two-thirds of a cup of peach nectar or juice.

TO ASSEMBLE

If you are making one cake, carefully cut cake in half horizontally and sandwich with a decent dollop of the burnt buttercream.

(Use a discreet bamboo skewer to hold layers together if needed. Poke it through from the top and cut it off level with top of cake.)

Using a spatula, cover the entire cake as best you can in the remaining buttercream and carefully arrange your peach roses, peach slices or edible flowers on the top.

Serve slices with whipped cream or Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of peach syrup over the top along with cups of tea or flutes of sparkling Prosecco.

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