and collapse into me
like the waves
returning to the sea.” – Ashley Jade
The first signs of spring are finally arriving – slowly, but surely. I was browsing the shelves of my local green grocer the other weekend and noticed that the first of peaches were on sale. The little plump peaches looked irresistible and after surviving this winter on citrus fruits, I couldn’t help but add a few into my basket. I needed just a little sunshine and sweetness brought into my life.
Prior to this recipe, I had never made or thought of making a vertical roll cake before. Sure I had created many traditional sponge roulades, but the idea of rolling them up into a beautifully iced vertical cake never really popped into mind.
It wasn’t until I read this article on Food52 that creating the revolutionary vertical roll cake became my reality. I became challenged and inspired by the idea – and have since made many little vertical roll cakes. I’ve become quite the self-proclaimed ‘expert’ and can easily spot the differences between a very good one and a very bad one.
This Peaches and Cream Vertical Roll Cake is utterly delicious. And so cute too. It’s a little cake that will easily satisfy a small crowd of four to six. Which I think is just perfect. It’s dangerous to have a cake as addictive as this around for too long!
Peaches and Cream Vertical Roll Cake is comprised of a lightly spiced cinnamon and vanilla sponge that is rolled up, filled and moistened with a sweet peaches and cream filling. The cake is then covered in a silky sweet Italian Meringue Buttercream and finally decorated in a flourish of piped buttercream ruffles.
For the buttercream ruffle decoration, I was inspired by a Peach Mousse Cake from Lomelino’s Cakes. I used the same recipe for the Italian Meringue Buttercream. The buttercream is as silky smooth and glossy as imaginable. The recipe will yield slightly more than needed but I find its better to err on the side of caution when it comes to icing, than to fall short.
There would be nothing worse than running out! Any excess buttercream will freeze up beautifully then when you’re ready to re-use it, just thaw to room temperature and whip until fluffy again.
In many ways, I feel as if this cake represents the transition between the two seasons, the merging of both winter and spring. While the warm and sunshine filled seasonal peach filling is juicy and bright it is balanced out by the earthy, grounded and winter-y spice of cinnamon. All-in-all, a delicious and harmonious flavour combination.
Peaches and Cream Vertical Roll Cake is a sophisticated dessert destined to be shared. Don’t be fooled by its appearance, the cake is actually so easy to make. You can have the cake baked within the hour – no need to wait for ingredients to be brought to room temperature.
Just be sure to carefully read the instructions before you begin so you are prepared once the cake is removed from the oven. Make the peach compote the day before you want to serve this cake too. I find the flavours develop and improve overnight as it stands in the refrigerator.
- 1 lb / 450 grams peaches, sliced
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp. Greek Yoghurt
- 1 x batch sweet peach compote
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp. granulated (caster) sugar
- 1 ½ ounces / 40 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. hot water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup self-raising flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. icing (confectioners’) sugar
- 8 egg whites
- 1 ¾ cups granulated (caster) sugar
- 3 ½ sticks / 14.1 ounces / 400 grams unsalted butter, very soft at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Peach or apricot food colouring, (you can also use a mixture of red and yellow food dye to form a pale peach colour)
- In a medium saucepan, bring the peaches, lemon juice, water and vanilla extract to a light boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir occasionally - smashing the peaches lightly until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Once soft, pour the peaches and any juices into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate until completely cold.
- Strain the remaining liquid from the sweet peach compote into a small bowl, reserving it to moisten the sponge cake later. In a separate large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it forms firm peaks. Remove the bowl and gently fold in the yoghurt followed by the peaches. Set aside until needed.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease and line a 10 ½ inch x 12 ¾ inch / 26 cm x 32 cm Swiss roll pan or rimmed baking tray. Let the short sides of the baking parchment extend above the sides of the tray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, or with electric beaters, beat the yolks and ¼ cup granulated sugar until thick and pale, 5 to 8 minutes. Add in the melted butter, water and vanilla and beat to combine. Sift in the flour and cinnamon and gently fold until just combined. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form then gently fold into the flour mixture, in two batches. Pour into the prepared pan, smooth the surface and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until just firm and springs back to the touch.
- Meanwhile, place a large sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. Sprinkle the surface of the paper with the 2 tbsp. of granulated sugar.
- Once the sponge cake is done, turn it out onto the sugared baking paper, remove the back piece of baking paper and sift an even layer of icing sugar all over the surface. Then using the baking paper as a guide, roll the sponge up tightly from the short side. Let it cool to room temperature completely in its baking paper cocoon.
- When cool, gently unroll the sponge and use a ruler to help divide and cut it into two even strips. Lightly glaze each strip with the left over juices from the sweet peach compote then evenly spoon on the peaches and cream filling.
- Starting with one strip, roll it up tightly into a roulade log shape beginning with the short side. Place that roulade at the end of the second strip, and roll both together to form a thick log. Turn the entire roulade log on its flat side to create a cake with vertical layers. Cover tightly with cling wrap then aluminium foil and chill for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.
- Once the cake has hardened, you can frost the outside of it. Uncover the vertical roll and set it on a cake stand or platter.
- Hold the pastry bag up-right so that the tip lies smoothly against the cake plate. The small part of the tip should be turned away from the cake. Keep the tip as close to the cake as possible so the ruffles will attach to the cake.
- Begin at the base of the cake, and work upwards moving the piping bag back and forth, from right to left, to form ruffles. You can make them as small or thick as you would like. Cover the outside of the cake entirely then begin to make ruffles on top of the cake by angling the piping bag. Work from the outer edge towards the center. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
- Place the egg whites and granulated sugar in a medium bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Whisk the mixture continually until it reaches 150 F / 65 C on a thermometer or until the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove from the heat.
- Beat the egg white mixture with a hand whisk or with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until it is fluffy and white as meringue. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until thick and cool to the touch, roughly another 6 to 10 minutes.
- Add the butter, a tbsp. at a time. After the butter has been incorporated, continue to beat on high speed for another 5 minutes until thick, fluffy and smooth.
- Add in the vanilla followed by a few drops of food colouring to reach a desired pale peach or apricot colour. Fit the buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a small ruffle tip and set aside until needed.