Southern Charm Cake
I found my fruit basket left with only 4 Georgia peaches left. That made yesterday’s dessert feature very easy, but what to make? I had a couple of my 4 inch Big Boy Vanilla Cakes left from a couple of days ago (don’t despair, the were wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and tucked away in the freezer). I have mentioned before that my cake bases freeze extremely well and taste just as fresh when thawed. I hate having a bunch of left overs that end up in the trash so, I have learned to portion correctly. Ok, back on track-Southern Charm Cake….
I wanted to make my dessert warm and spicy. I, again, wanted a light whipped cream to sweeten up my peaches just a bit. I love taking vintage, southern recipes and giving them a new twist. That is basically the idea behind my Southern Charm Cake. The base, as stated earlier, is a vanilla sponge cake. I am actually really digging my “open faced” cakes lately (as if you couldn’t tell). Then I chose to liven things up a bit with a peachy pecan pie filling. Trust me, this is no ordinary pecan pie filling! This peachy pecan pie filling is made with chopped fresh Georgia peaches and dark rum! Oh my it is a nut lover’s delight. It has a nice soft peach flavor and leaves a rum-cinnamon taste on the back of your palate. My Southern Charm Cake was smothered in my delicious stabilized vanilla whipped cream. Then I topped that pretty southern belle with a couple of slices of fresh peach and whole pecans.
My mini Southern Charm Cake is sure to charm the pants off of any dinner guest. Her looks are undeniably beautiful and packs a punch of flavor that the most traditional southerner couldn’t argue against. Let’s get baking
Southern Charm Cake
Yields: 4-4″ circular cakes
For the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding (half the box)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cake flour (presifted at least 4 times BEFORE measured)
For Big Boy Vanilla Cakes you can refer to this previous post for pictures.
BEFORE STARTING THIS RECIPE: PLACE A MIXING BOWL AND BEATER IN THE FREEZER SO IT WILL BE VERY COLD FOR MAKING THE STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare cake pans with nonstick baking spray.
2. Presift your cake flour at least for times in a separate bowl. This is CRUCIAL that you ONLY use CAKE FLOUR!!!!! Otherwise your cake will be dense and dry. Measure 2 cups of cake flour after you have sifted at least 4 times and it becomes very airy and silky. (There is a huge difference between self-rise flour and cake flour. Please be sure your box says “cake flour”).
3. With the measured cake flour in a sifter, add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift together in a bowl and set aside for later use.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on high until smooth and creamy.
5. Add sugar mix on medium-high to high for at least 2 minutes until fluffy and light in color. (This is critical to making your cake fluffy with lots of tiny holes). Scrap sides.
6. Mix in vanilla pudding. Scrap sides.
7. Mix in eggs, then add vanilla. Scrap sides.
8. Starting with dry mix, slowly add a small amount at a time into the wet batter. Then alternate with the buttermilk. Continue alternating dry with buttermilk until you end with the dry ingredients.
ANOTHER CRITICAL MOMENT: DO NOT OVERMIX!!!!!!! Over mixing at this point causes gluten to form and then your cake will shrink.
AS SOON AS YOU NO LONGER SEE WHITE FLOUR, STOP MIXER AND INCORPORATE THE REST BY HAND. MAKE SURE TO SCRAP SIDES AND BOTTOM.
9. After batter is thoroughly mixed, fill each cake pan with 1 cup of batter ( for 4inch circle). Pick up and drop the cake pan a couple of inches from the counter top to allow the large air bubbles to escape.
10. Bake 18-22 minutes until tops are domed and tops are a light golden brown. Top should also spring back when pushing in gently with finger.
11. Allow to cool in pan about 5-10 minutes then move to a bakers rack to finish cooling.
12. While cakes are cooling, prepare peachy pecan pie filling.
Peachy Pecan Pie Filling
6 tbsp salted butter
1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
4 fresh peaches, cleaned, peeled, and chopped (save a few whole slices for garnishes)
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 cups chopped pecans
3 tbsp dark rum
1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, melt butter, brown sugar, and dark corn syrup.
2 Mix well until all ingredients are combined and add chopped peaches and cinnamon.
3. Allow mixture to boil about 7 minutes. Then remove from stove.
4. Add rum and mix well.
5. Stir in chopped nuts.
6. Allow to cool for filling to thicken. You may hurry the process by setting it in the freezer for awhile.
7. The filling will become thick and scoopable the cooler it gets.
Stabilized Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 tsp clear imitation vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream
4 marshmallows ( I will explain in a moment)
1. Bring out your mixing bowl and beaters that were in the freezer.
2. Put in cream, sugar, clear vanilla.
3. Beat on medium to medium high speed until it becomes thick.
You MUST be careful to not overbeat otherwise it WILL become butter and separate! As soon as it is getting thick and starts resembling whipped cream turn mixer to LOW.
4. Turn mixer off and take the marshmallows on a microwavable plate and microwave them until they enlarge and are soft, usually 20-30 seconds.
5. Turn mixer on low and mix in the warm marshmallows. After they are mixed, turn mixer off and place bowl in refrigerator to ease scooping.
1. Slice the dome off of each mini cake.
2. With a slotted spoon, drizzle the peachy pecan pie filling sauce on top of the cut top of the cake. Place on serving dish.
3. Place a heaping scoop of peachy pecan pie filling on top of soaked cake.
4. With a large ice cream scoop, next put a dollop of whipped cream.
5. Garnish with a peach slice and a couple of whole pecans. And using the slotted spoon, (you may have to slightly reheat filling in microwave for it to drizzle) drizzle a bit of the filling on top of the cream as well.
This is definitely a new version of an old favorite, pecan pie. It gives new levels to the always fabulous and ever nutty pie. The peach awakens your senses and the rum gives you that warm and tingly feeling…enjoy!