The South is famous for many wonderful culinary delights but in summer I'm always reminded of all the peaches we eat when we visit M's parents at the farm. Big, fat juicy peaches where the sweet nectar trickles down your arms and the mess is irrelevant. And then there's bourbon, which I truly think was somehow solely created to go with peaches. Peaches first landed in Virginia somewhere in the 17th century and quickly spread their way across the South. Since Georgia is known for peaches, I thought Georgia is probably the largest producer of the fruit but it turns out, California grows the largest amount of peaches each year. (This actually surprised me because for some reason, California didn't even come to mind).
Peaches have finally arrived at my farmer's market in Oakland. I ate 6 in one sitting on the first day, I think another 5 on the second, I can't help myself.
These cupcakes are made with olive oil and peaches and then frosted with a peach and olive oil based frosting. But the cupcakes are also spiced with a little cardamom, star anise and cloves to complement the peaches. I usually like to spread a spoonful of the frosting on the surface of the cake and finish it with walnut (pecans work well too). Oh yeah and I cheated a little on chopping my peaches, I used my blender to get a little bit of the juice out so it blends in with the cake batter too.
Here, I've used California Olive Ranch's olive oil which has delicious fruity notes that stand out in the frosting and in the cupcakes.
spiced olive oil peach and bourbon cupcakes
makes 16 cup cakes
seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
2 cups [280g] whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup [240ml] extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cup [265g] sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 Tbsp peach liqueur
2 Tbsp bourbon
2 [500g] firm yellow peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped *for the frosting
2 cups [250g] confectioner's sugar
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp peach liqueur
2 Tbsp bourbon
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp turmeric or yellow food coloring
16 walnut halves
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 (12 capacity) standard cupcake pans with paper liners.
Grind the cardamom, cloves and star anise using a mortar and pestle or a spice mill. Sift the ground spices with the ginger, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil and sugar by hand. Then add one egg at a time and whisk until combined. The mixture should be pale yellow. Whisk in the peach liqueur and the bourbon. Whisk this mixture into the sifted dry ingredients and then fold in the peaches. Divide the mixture equally between 16 cupcake molds and bake in the preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes until the cakes are firm in the center and light golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature.
To prepare the frosting, stir the confectioner's sugar, oil, peach liqueur, bourbon and water to form a smooth paste. Add more water if needed. To frost the cakes, you can either dip a cooled cupcake and rotate to coat the surface in a thin even layer and allow to sit on a wire rack to set. Alternatively, spread 1 to 2 tsp of the frosting on the surface and spread using an offset spatula. Place a walnut half in the center. Allow the frosting to set for about 20 minutes. The cakes should last for 3 to 4 days.
*You can also put the peaches in a blender and pulse for a second or two until you get a little bit of the juice extracted out and add that to the batter. Just don't make a purée! An extra tip, here, reserve 1 to 2 Tbsp of the juice and stir that into the frosting.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by California Olive Ranch. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.