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Breskvice “Little Peach Cakes”

These pretty little cakes are a great favourite in Croatia at gatherings for family and friends. The delicate cakes are a cross between a sponge and a cookie and are sandwiched with a peach jam, cocoa and rum filling. Little peach cakes are also popular in Italy where they have a custard filling flavoured with peach brandy and are known as Tortine di pesche.

Breskvice “Little Peach Cakes”

Preparation: 1 hour (plus chilling and cooling time)

Cooking: 15 minutes

Makes 20

For the cake mixture

150g unsalted butter, diced and softened
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
400g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp lemon juice

For the filling

6 tbsp peach jam
1 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 tbsp dark rum or milk

To decorate

Yellow and red liquid food colourings
Caster or granulated sugar, for coating

To make the cakes, beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a tablespoon of the flour to prevent the mixture curdling.

Sieve in the rest of the flour with the baking powder and stir in with the lemon juice. Bring the mixture together with your hands, kneading it lightly until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 190°C (fan 170°C)/gas 5. Pull off small pieces of the cake mixture and roll them with your hands into 40 walnut-sized balls.

Divide the balls between the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes or until they are lightly coloured underneath but not brown on top. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool and then carefully cut out the centre of the base of each cake using the point of a sharp knife. Crush the pieces you have removed into crumbs with a rolling pan and set aside to add to the filling.

To make the filling, mix together the peach jam, cocoa powder, hazelnuts and rum or milk until evenly combined and then stir in the crumbs. Set aside.

To decorate the cakes, dilute the yellow and red food colourings with a little cold water. Using a small soft paintbrush, brush a little yellow colour over the cake halves, followed by the red, blending the colours together to resemble the skin of fresh peaches.

Spread out caster or granulated sugar on a plate and roll the painted cake halves in it before the food colouring dries. Sandwich the cake halves together in pairs with the filling

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