Peach schnapps cake

On a hot evening Pork Belly and I were sitting on our garden bench musing on summer fruits and how wonderful it is when the season for cherries, strawberries, apricots and peaches comes around.

Somehow that conversation wandered on to summer cocktails and just how versatile peach schnapps is for everything from a fuzzy navel to a woo woo.

Peach Schnapps cake topped with caramelised peaches, served with vegan cream cheese

Peaches of course are not native to the UK, but it is possible to cultivate them here in a sunny, sheltered, south-facing site.

History of peaches

Peaches came originally from China, where archaeologists have found bowls of them interred with venerated dignitaries. In Chinese culture the peach tree is a symbol of life and the fruits represent immortality, which might explain their popularity in burial grounds.

Peach blossom

Peaches still grow wild in the Chinese lands that border Pakistan, which is probably where the species originated.

It’s Latin name, prunus persica, is a bit misleading. It means Persian plum because the Romans imported peaches from Persia (now Iran) more than 2,000 years ago and, as with all things Roman, they quickly became established right across Europe.

Spaniards took them to South America, the French to Louisiana and we Brits to our American colonies. Even Columbus brought peach trees when he returned to the New World on his second and third visits.

Peaches on tree

Nowadays Italy provides most of the European peach trade and California supplies the States.

Pork Belly’s recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, based very loosely on the middle eastern basbousa, using ground almonds as a basis but adding coconut flour to the mix.

The poached peaches provide real depth of flavour and you can definitely taste the schnapps. The topping of peaches mixed with cacao butter gives it a shiny glaze.

Took a few goes to get the balance just right but the end result is delicious; soft, moist but not too sweet.

And why not add a touch of dairy-free decadence with an alternative to mascarpone? Another of Pork Belly’s own inventions, it’s quick and easy to make. All you need is a tub of dairy-free cream cheese, a slosh of soya alternative to cream and a drop or two of vanilla extract. Smoosh it about until you get just the right consistency and dollop it on.

Tesco Free From soft cheese and Alpro single soya

Served warm or cold it will finish off a summer barbecue to perfection – a great way to celebrate our short, but very sweet, summers.

Peach Schnapps cake topped with caramelised peaches

Peach schnapps cake

Pork Belly
A summer dessert – serve warm or cold
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine English
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • For the cake
  • 150 g caster sugar for poaching
  • Approx 1 litre water
  • 3 large peaches plus 2 more for the glaze
  • 125 ml gluten-free peach schnapps
  • 190 mls olive oil
  • 240 g caster sugar
  • 60 g coconut flour
  • 300 g ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • For the glaze
  • 2 peaches
  • 1 tablespoon cacao butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peach schnapps
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • For the dairy-free topping
  • 1 250 g tub dairy-free alternative to cream cheese Sainsbury's or Tesco's are good
  • 5 teaspoons dairy-free alternative to cream we used Alpro single
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oven to 170 deg C/gas mark 3 1/2.
  • Grease and line a 20 cm spring-form cake tin.
  • Put the water in a pan and add the caster sugar.
  • Bring to a simmer then carefully lower the 3 peaches in.
  • Poach for about 30 minutes until soft.
  • Remove the fruit and allow to cool.
  • Remove the stone and liquidise the flesh and skin with a hand blender, adding the peach schnapps.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar together for about 15 minutes until thick and creamy.
  • Fold in all the other ingredients and add the liquidised peach mixture.
  • Combine until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for around 1 hour and check. If it needs longer cover the top with tin foil and bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Turn onto a wire rack.
  • For the glaze
  • Dice the 2 peaches.
  • Melt the cacao butter and sugar in a frying pan.
  • Add the peaches and cinnamon and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the peach schnapps and allow the mixture to reduce a little.
  • Spoon over the cake.
  • For the dairy-free topping
  • Simply combine the dairy-free cream cheese, dairy-free cream and vanilla extract to a smooth paste.
  • On a very warm day it may need chilling a little before serving
  • Drizzle over the warm cake or serve both cold.
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