I could not be more excited to finally share this recipe with you, friends! Over a year ago (!!!) my sweet babes and I got married on a magically stormy day in the teeny tiny town of Bliss, Michigan. We shared our love of one another, and Daniel even sang part of this song to me during his vows. We ate an absolutely incredible meal made by our friend Mike at Blackbird Gardens, which included pork raised and gifted to us by our dear friends Nate & Jill at Green Things Farm. The power went out while we ate dinner and came back on just as a friend arrived with a boatload of candles and someone was headed our way with a generator. No one skipped a beat, and the magic of the night ontinued on. There was a massive dance party... which thankfully didn't break the barn floor as many of us were worried it might. Our incredible community of people came together in a beautiful way.
We also ate a lot of desserts made by yours truly.
I couldn't imagine anyone else baking my wedding desserts, so I decided to do it myself despite warnings from just about everyone except for my husband (he knew I could do it, and also is a big fan of my desserts!). So he and I cut our cake then stood side by side and served dessert to our family and friends who we couldn't have been happier to be celebrating alongside.
This was the cake that made me fall in love with making cakes. I made so many different recipes in the year leading up to this day, trying to decide on that one cake we should serve at our wedding.
The final iteration came together around a jam that I make every fall, as the last of the peaches are harvested. The peach flavor shines without too much sugar alongside a punch of bourbon and a little vanilla. Many friends and family have been given a jar of this jam over the years, so it only seemed right to make it a part of this special day full of many of those same dear people.
A dense and satisfying cake, best made with the highest quality buttermilk you can get your hands on (shout out to Shetler Dairy, they're my northern Michigan go-to!).
And my absolute favorite fall frosting - browned buttercream. A classic vanilla swiss meringue buttercream made with butter that has been browned then chilled. Subtly flecked with those gorgeous and flavorful caramelized milk solids that give the butter its nutty flavor.
I had planned to share this recipe with you ages ago... but timing got the best of me. Instead of the traditional eating of the top tier of your wedding cake on the first anniversary, I made a new cake for us to share... and will probably continue to do so every year!
Peaches & Brown Buttercream Cake
The best vanilla makes all the difference in baked goods, so be sure to use a high quality vanilla. My favorite is Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush" from Sonoma Syrup - it's combination of an incredible extract and vanilla bean seeds that makes for the perfect balance. Plus those beautiful seeds shine in frosting!
This recipe makes a 3-4 layer 6in cake. I prefer to bake this cake in two cake pans and cut each layer in half for four layers. Alternatively, you can bake it in three pans for three layers.
Double all pieces of the recipe for a 9in cake. If you want to go all out and make yourself a tiered cake, multiply all pieces by 3 :)
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
1 3/4 + 2Tbsp cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5oz unsalted butter, at room temperature & cubed
3/4 cup + 1Tbsp buttermilk
2.5 whole eggs (weird, but correct!)
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, run for 30 seconds or so to combine ingredients.
- Add butter and buttermilk to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed to start until the ingredients are mostly combined. Turn the speed up to medium and beat until light and fluffy, for about 2-3 minutes.
- While it's mixing, whisk together eggs, yolks and vanilla in a small bowl.
- Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold the eggs into the batter, 1/3 at a time.
- Divide the batter evenly into two or three 6in cake pans (see note above) which have been buttered and lined with a round of parchment.
- Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes, until the center is cooked and a toothpick comes out clean (let's be honest, I never use a toothpick and always just feel the cake... but do use a toothpick if that's what you're comfortable with!)
- Let cool for at least 10 minutes before turning out of pans.
- Chill the cake before frosting.
Brown Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg whites
9.75oz browned butter, chilled then softened, cut into 1in cubes.
1 tsp vanilla
- In the bowl of a double boiler (or a bowl set over a pan with a little water in the bottom), whisk together egg whites and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the sugar is dissolved. I like to pull up the whisk and feel the mixture between my fingers to check for gritty feeling sugar.
- Scrape the egg white and sugar mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and have cooled completely.
- Add the vanilla.
- Slowly add the butter, one cube at a time, while the mixer is running. Once you've added all the butter, switch over to the paddle. Mix the frosting on medium-high speed until it thickens and comes together. This takes a little while, so be patient!
Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam
1 quart ripe peaches, peeled, pitted & diced
1/4 cup bourbon
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peaches have softened.
- Transfer mixture to a blender and puree (or use an immersion blender if you have one!).
- Return to heat and cook until jam has jelled. I like to place a small spoonful in the freezer to cool it quickly and check the texture.
- Cool completely before assembling cake. Store in refrigerator if you make ahead of time.
Assembling the Cake
If you opted for baking two cakes, first you'll want to cut each layer in half. I like to use a bread knife and this general process (except I definitely just cut it and don't measure - eek! If you've never cut a cake into layers, do measure - it makes it much less stressful!).
Place one layer of cake on a cake board or the plate/cake stand you're serving it on. Pipe a ring of frosting around the edge of the cake and fill the ring with peach jam. Set the next layer on top, aiming to keep the cake as even as possible, and repeat.
Once you've set the top layer on the cake, apply a crumb coat (aka coat the cake in a very thin layer of frosting using a separate bowl so you don't contaminate the rest of the frosting with crumbs). Chill until the crumb coat is solid to the touch.
Frost the rest of the cake however you please!