I had a brief career as a pastry chef and still have two big bins filled with specialty baking tins and equipment. Going through some old photos I came across a couple of snapshots that brought back memories of those days when I thought nothing of spending an afternoon making a show-stopping dessert at home. I rarely use any of these items but the spring form or tart pans these days, but I haven't as yet been able to bring myself to jettison anything. I keep thinking I will make plum puddings or Yule logs or charlottes or madeleines one of these days and so there they all sit.
Among all these baking items is the mold I used to make "peach' cakes. It's a pan that is intended to be used to make cakes that can be decorated to look like baseballs for a kids' birthday party. You put two cakes together to make a round shape. But I bought this pan with another idea about how to use this curvaceous shape.
I'd clipped an article from Food and Wine magazine where Judith Olney, a creative cook and baker whose books and ideas I love, made a giant peach cake. She baked two big rounded cakes in metal bowls and united them with whipped cream as you can see in the magazine clipping on the left in the image below. But when I saw the baking tin above I thought, why not make cakes that looked like peaches since it was peach season?
I used a mix for the cakes. After baking, I very lightly brushed the curved side of the cakes with a thinned down apricot jam and then rolled them in pink, yellow and orange sugars. The two halves are "glued" together with cream cheese flavored with honey and orange rind. Mint leaves stand in for the peach leaves.
I put each peach cake into one of the purple paper cupcake-type holders that peaches came in when I bought a hand basket of them the way I always used to do at my local grocery store. I filled my basket when it was empty of real peaches with the peach cakes and brought it to work as a birthday surprise for the grand dame of our office.
At the end of the day I discovered how real my peaches looked when a co-worked mentioned that she didn't like peaches so she didn't have one. She never realized they were cakes and not fruit! This is not the kind of dessert you make more than once or twice in a lifetime, but it's peach season now so it might be the moment to try my hand a some fancy baking again.