The walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.
― Roald Dahl,
For this edition of Bookish Bites, we’re tackling one of my favorite children’s books, James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dahl was my favorite author when I was a kid; from The BFG, The Witches, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, to James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda, I read and loved them all. Each time I opened one of his books, I was transformed into a world of wonder and magic, a world I never wanted to leave. I hope you enjoy my adaptation of a peachy treat inspired by this enchanting book!
The days are finally starting to warm up around here, and, to me, that means that soon our farm stands will be full of amazing produce. And soon enough, it will be June and then it’s finally peach season.
I love peaches. If I could eat one everyday for the rest of my life, I think I’d be pretty happy. Well, as long as it was a ripe peach, and the juice was guaranteed to drip down my chin and make a mess. Those are the kinds of peaches that I love and crave all year long.
And since I wait all year to get my hands on some, that usually means I end up buying too many of them at once. When that happens, I try and find new ways to make use of them before they all start to turn. Last year, I made these cupcakes after reading Martha Collison’s book Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent Your Baking, and all I can say is wow. And that’s a wow for both the book and the cupcake.
Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent Your Baking has quickly become one of my favorite baking cookbooks. The below vanilla cupcake is an adaptation of hers, but what really is revolutionary is the method to make the cupcake batter. Maybe it’s because I’m Americas and she’s British, but I had never tried the reverse-creaming method. I had heard of it on episodes of the Great British Baking Show, but I have never seen a recipe in the wild that used the method.
The first time I tried it, I thought that there was no way it would work, but now, I’m hooked for life. These cupcakes are simply amazing; they’re light and airy and are the perfect vehicle for other flavors. If you don’t have peaches (which makes me sad for you), you can substitute any fruit you like: strawberries, blueberries, stewed apples, the list goes on and on.
Peaches and Cream Cupcakes (Makes 12)
175g all-purpose flour
75g butter, room-temperature
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, room temperature
90ml milk, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 peaches, chopped
2 tbsp. sugar
110g butter, room temperature
226g cream cheese, room temperature
250g powdered sugar
50g graham crackers, crushed
1 tsp butter, melted
- For the cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line your cupcake pan with 12 paper liners and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the flour sugar, butter and baking powder. Mix on low until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You could also rub the ingredients together with your fingertips.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together. Then, add the liquids to the flour mixture a little at a time, beating until it is all combined and no lumps remain.
- Divide this mixture evenly between the cupcake liners, filling each one no more than two-thirds full. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cupcakes are pale golden brown.
- Leave the cupcakes to cool for a couple minutes in the pan, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Do not fill or decorate until they are completely cool.
- For the filling: Place the peaches and sugar into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the peaches start to break down and a sauce forms. This should take about 10 minutes. Completely cool the peaches before filling the cupcakes.
- For the icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar into this mixture a little at a time and continue to whip until a smooth frosting forms. Transfer the frosting to a zip-top bag, or a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Snip off one of the corners of the zip top bag, if using. Set aside.
- For the crumble topping: Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand. Set aside.
- To decorate and fill: Using a small paring knife, cut a small circle into each cupcake. Pull out the center of each cupcake and set aside.
- Spoon in a teaspoon of the peach filling into the center of each cupcake. Swirl the frosting in a circle around each cupcake, leaving the peach filling exposed. Add a little more peach filling to each cupcake to fill in any gaps that the frosting didn’t cover. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the top of each cupcake and serve.
Kelly’s Note: Because of the fresh fruit filling and the cream cheese in the frosting, these cupcakes need to be stored in the fridge. They should keep for about 4 days, but they will start to get soft because of the filling. They’re best eaten the day they’re made.
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