A Southern Grace: peachy keen

September 17, 2013

peachy keen


Melba. When I see that word, the image of a stereotypical little old lady comes to my mind. Is that weird?

It's just such an old-fashioned name. Like Gladys or Maynard. I definitely don't associate it with Melba toast or Peach Melba, probably because I've never eaten or even been in the presence of either of those. Apparently (for those of you as oblivious as I), Peach Melba is a dessert consisting of poached peaches and raspberry sauce served with vanilla ice cream. It was invented in the late 1800s by a French chef to honor a singer, Nellie Melba. Whoopadeedo. It doesn't sound all that impressive to me, but as I said, I've never tried it.

I had some leftover peach filling from a cake I had made at work (hopefully I'll get an opportunity to recreate it and share it with youse guys--it was awesome), so I decided to see what was so great about the vanilla-peach-raspberry combination. I began with what has quickly become my favorite white cake recipe--it's easy and it almost always yields soft, fluffy, nicely domed cupcakes. The filling was perfectly spiced and nestled down into the cupcake very well. I flavored the frosting with raspberry preserves, but you can use jam or puree or whatever raspberry goodness you have on hand.

These are lovely in appearance and upon that first bite, you can easily tell why the peach-raspberry combination is so popular. Those two fruits seamlessly create a really pleasant sweet-tart balance. Forget the traditional Peach Melba and make these surprisingly wonderful cupcakes instead!

Peach Mabel* Cupcakes
Makes 24!
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups peaches, pitted and chopped (peeling optional)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves
To make the filling, in a large saucepan, combine the water, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch; blend well and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peaches. You can actually cook the peaches a bit first if you prefer them a bit softer, and that's what I did.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins by using liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg whites, and vanilla. Beat together the butter and sugar and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, for a full 3 minutes, until very light. Add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well-aerated. Place the batter into the cupcake tins.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch--a tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Cool completely on wire racks.
To make the frosting, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until pale and fluffy. Add the preserves and briefly blend. Add the powdered sugar gradually until the frosting is thick enough to pipe easily. Add powdered sugar or more preserves as needed to achieve the correct consistency.
To assemble the cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped hole in the delicate white cupcakes and spoon about a tablespoon of peach filling inside. Apply the frosting generously to the cupcakes, give the components a few minutes to get friendly, and devour.

*Mavis or Myrna work too, though they are not anagrams.


Alicia Foodycat said...

That would be such a great use for the rest of my peach/vanilla/chilli jam! I love peach melba in its original form too.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Exquisitely peachy!



Becki's Whole Life said...

I like your new name as I had a favorite Aunt Mabel who always made caramel corn balls at Christmas:-).

Love the peach/raspberry combo - that filling looks wonderful!

Blond Duck said...

I've never tried peach melba!

~~louise~~ said...

Your a Peach for posting this recipe, Grace:)

Peach Melba is a favorite of mine. It looks like you have captured the essence of all that goodness in these darling little cupcakes.

Thanks for sharing, Grace...

Joanne said...

Melba always reminds me of melba toast...which is unfortunately much less sexy than these cupcakes. I think I need to revamp that association in my mind!

CQUEK said...

They are so adorable and they look delicious:)

Gloria Baker said...

beautiful, !! I want to make these Grace ahh look amazing and perfect!!!xo

Jenn said...

I've never had Peach Melba (or Mabel). These look intriguing. Keep all these delicious cupcake recipes coming and you'll be able to open your own shop.

Angie's Recipes said...

Love your peach filling! The pinky swirl looks so pretty.

Katerina said...

I have to make these while peaches are in season here!

Juliana said...

I never had peach melba...but I cannot see being better than your cupcake...this cupcake looks so good and pretty.
Hope you are having a fun week Grace :D

Anonymous said...

lovely and gorgeous twist...we love peach melba but after looking at these snaps and feeling its soft,melt in mouth texture...we will be trading the melba for these cute cakes every time...very very innovative idea and beautiful food clicks :-)

Beth said...

Love the anagram, and I agree that peaches and raspberries are wonderful together. Great twist on a classic recipe.

Pam said...

Why oh why do I come here in the morning. Sigh. I always leave drooling...

The cupcakes look pretty and super delicious. Love the peach and raspberry combination.

Carolyn Jung said...

These look glorious. I better bake a batch soon -- before summer peach season ends all too soon. Sigh.

CQUEK said...

oh.. it all looks soo neat and inviting!!

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

What a fantastic cupcake this is! It looks so pretty and so tasty, too.

I Wilkerson said...

I love sweet and tart fruits together. Apple with cranberry is another classic. I am doing a peach cobbler with blackberries & raspberries for my next post but I think I'd rather have your cupcake!

Sandy said...

Super cute looking! I love the colors