capturing summer — bourbon peach torte

by hungryrabbit on August 19, 2011

Bourbon Peach Torte

I first got the latest #baketogether theme, Summer Fruit Cake, in the middle of July and thought it would be fun, easy and the variations would be endless. HA—as if I ever choose the easy route.

So far, I’ve tried at least three or four recipes. There’s a cake with bourbon cherries. There’s one packed with blueberries, but it was too similar to the Blueberry Almond Coffeecake. I moved on to bananas; although the result was good, I didn’t think it was fruity enough for this challenge. Next, I bought plums but got side tracked and poached them with wine and ate them with ice cream, instead.

That was all in the course of last three weeks. I was happy to give friends slices of these cakes/experiments but I still need the cake for submission. I wanted to bake the cake with peaches, but I initially resisted because I baked a Peach ‘n Blueberry Pie not so long ago. Feeling a bit silly for not listening to my first instinct, I added peaches to my farmer’s market shopping list.

I then started to think of how I could stud this cake with as many peaches as possible—not just adorn them on top,. Although this recipe was adapted from the ever trustworthy America’s Test Kitchen, I still had to go through a few trial and error experiments.

I’m happy to report that my Bourbon Peach Torte is worth the time and frustration. Roasting the peaches intensified the flavor and got rid of excess liquid. This is that step that requires a bit of discipline and art. The best way to judge if the peaches are done roasting is if they’ve developed a syrupy glaze. Make sure you drain the peach slices that go on top thoroughly, or the cake will be soggy in the center and over bake on the edges.

We enjoyed the cake by itself to get the maximum impact of the peaches, but I’m sure a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream would be perfect pairing. Nothing like the scent and taste of peaches to capture the essence of summer.

Bourbon Peach Cake

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Yield:  8 to 10


2-1/2 pounds peaches , pitted and cut into 1/2 inch-thick wedges
6 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup packed (3-1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs , finely crushed


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment and spray with vegetable oil spray. Gently toss 24 peach wedges with 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in bowl; set aside.

2. Cut remaining peach wedges crosswise into thirds. Gently toss chunks with bourbon, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in bowl. Spread peach chunks in single layer on prepared sheet and bake until exuded juices begin to thicken and caramelize at edges of sheet, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let peaches cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

3. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and eggs together in second bowl until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream, vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

4. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle crushed bread crumbs evenly over cooled peach chunks and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach chunks on batter in even layer. Gently spread remaining batter over peach chunks and smooth top. Arrange reserved peach wedges, slightly overlapped, in ring over surface of cake. Stir together remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon almond extract in small bowl until sugar is moistened. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake.

5. Bake until center of cake is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 65 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Loosen springform and remove, let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

thelittleloaf August 19, 2011 at 7:10 am

I made roasted peach ice cream the other day and was wondering how else I could use this gorgeous, syrupy, caramelized fruit. This cake looks like the perfect solution. I love the addition of bourbon which I imagine the roasted fruit stands up to beautifully. Yum.

Yuri August 19, 2011 at 7:10 am

Panko in a cake? Interesting :) this is beautiful and can’t believe you tried so many cakes for #baketogether. I made Abby’s recipe and posted right away… Now I feel like a lazy panda.

Happy Friday, Ken!

Jessica August 19, 2011 at 7:12 am

Having skipped breakfast today I could literally jump through the screen right now and eat that!!!! Ok, the wires wouldn’t be so appetizing, but it looks delicious! It also reaffirms the fact that I need to replace my spring-form pan that Taylor added to her drum collection. Ken this is spectacular, and I can’t wait to try it after I pick up some peaches at the Farmers Market tomorrow!

Baker Street August 19, 2011 at 7:29 am

I love the addition of panko Ken. Your torte looks super gorgeous.

Gail August 19, 2011 at 7:43 am

Beautiful, Ken. Love that you and your plums got sidetracked!! Sounds like something I’d do!!

MikeVFMK August 19, 2011 at 8:19 am

What a beautiful torte! It’s stunning, Ken! And love all those peaches. So good!

Tina@flourtrader August 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

Yum-the pictures speak for themselves. How I would love to have a slice of this. Awesome way to showcase this seasons peaches-yum!

Margaret August 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

I enjoyed your cake with bourbon cherries, so I’m sure this bourbon peach cake is even better! I’m drooling just looking at the pictures.

foodwanderings August 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

Love this cake and the process you went through Wabbit!! I get side tracked myself so i can totally relate. This is gorgeous and I lnow I would have love to have aslice with my tea this afternoon if I could.

Deb @ knitstamatic August 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

What a beautiful torte Ken and I enjoyed reading your trials until you got to the cake you wanted. Panko is an intersting twist.

Michelle Jaffee August 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

Simply beautiful.

Elizabeth August 19, 2011 at 10:38 am

Oh good god. I am just becoming obsessed with peaches this year as the season goes on. They are just so good, but only right now and this cake totally takes advantage of that awesomeness. Looks awesome Ken! Though I would totally cover it in freshly whipped cream cause that’s how I roll…:)

Barbara | Creative Culinary August 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Looks gorgeous Ken. I almost tried a cake yesterday with peaches too…ended up doing something else but sure love the looks of this.

Sasha @ The Procrastobaker August 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

This looks SO perfect! I havnt baked with peaches yet this summer and well…bourbon definitely sold this recipe to me over the others :) Great little torte, saving this one for sure!

Lora @cakeduchess August 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Loved reading about how your cake came along. I think it looks delicious and am craving a slice with a nice cup of tea. I’m going to add bourbon to my next fruit cake instead of the usual Limoncello;) xx

Simone August 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

O Ken how gorgeous that cake looks (and those photos are smashing too!!) I love roasted stonefruit. It’s one of the few fruits that almost get a little better when you roast them and this cake looks awesome! Worth the extra effort.

Tres Delicious August 21, 2011 at 6:45 am

My my…That’s so elegantly and fabulously done. I adore it.

Curt August 22, 2011 at 8:15 am

I love tortes, and I love baked peaches even more!

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction August 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Yum! Peaches and bourbon are the perfect pairing. Love it!

Deeba Rajpal (@vindee) August 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

Here’s a wabbit after my heart! Love this Ken, and the fact that you are on a fruit high! FAB!!

Jackie August 28, 2011 at 9:01 am

This. Is. Immense.

I was going to comment on the new cookies but then I saw this and my heart start doing flip-flops. Your photography is stunning as always, my darling Rabbit.

Hope you’re doing okay over in NYC, boo – keep us updated!

Jax x

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