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Peaches and Cream Dream

Peaches and Cream Cake by Maria K. Fisher

Cake 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted 1 1/4 cups sugar, sifted 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup vegetable oil 7 large eggs, separated, plus 3 additional egg whites 1/3 cup peach syrup* 1/3 cup water 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar

Peach Puree 1 1/2 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced 1/4 tablespoon lemon 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Peach Cream 1 1/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin 1/2 cup Peach puree 1 cup heavy whipping cream 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Peach Filling 6 tablespoons sugar 1/4 vanilla bean, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon flour 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Frosting 18 oz. cream cheese, softened 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted, divided 9 tablespoons butter, softened 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 3 tablespoons peach syrup, divided* 3/4 cup + 6 tablespoons chilled heavy whipping cream *For peach syrup, use Torani Peach Syrup.

For the cake, combine the flour, all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder and salt and beat 1 minute. Make a well in the center. Add the oil, egg yolks, peach syrup, water, vanilla and almond extract and beat until smooth.

In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter with a whisk until just blended.

Pour the batter into four greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Run a small metal knife through the batter to prevent air pockets. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean and cake springs back lightly when lightly pressed in the center. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes on wire racks. Then turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely.

For peach puree, process peaches in food processor until broken up into liquid. Press through a strainer to obtain a smooth puree. Combine the puree and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan and simmer until reduced. Cool and stir in the extracts.

For peach cream, in a small heatproof measuring cup, place the gelatin and 1/4 cup peach puree and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Set cup in a pan of simmering water for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the gelatin in dissolved. Remove from pan and stir the gelatin mixture into the remaining puree, then add 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar. In a chilled bowl beat the cream until it mounds softly when dropped from a spoon. Add the sweetened peach puree and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

For peach filling, blend 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla bean in food processor until vanilla is finely ground. Sift vanilla sugar into small bowl, discarding excess vanilla bean pieces. Add peaches, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons flour; toss to coat. Cook in saucepan until bubbling, breaking up peaches with the back of a spoon. Cool and stir in almond extract.

For frosting, beat cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and 1 1/2 tablespoons peach syrup in a large bowl. Beat whipping cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons peach syrup and 1 cup powdered sugar in another bowl until mixture holds medium-firm peaks. Fold into cream cheese mixture in 3 additions. Chill until firm by spreadable.

To assemble, spread a thin layer of frosting, then a layer of peach filling, top with peach cream on bottom cake layer. Repeat until cake is assembled. Then spread frosting over top and sides of cake.

If you have peach filling and cream left over, layer them in a parfait glass as a bonus dessert.

Yield: 12 servings

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