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Mary Margaret's Peaches-and-Cream Cake



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Mary Margaret’s Peaches-and-Cream Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups soft wheat flour (cake flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
Peach Filling (recipe follows)
Butter Whip Frosting (recipe follows)
Candied and plain pansies (optional)

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 10-inch round cake pans or springform pans. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean; cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Grease a 10-inch springform pan; line bottom with aluminum foil. Grease the foil and sprinkle it and the sides of pan with 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar. Set the prepared pan aside.
Position knife blade in food processor; add pecans and 3/4 cup sugar. Process until pecans are ground, stopping once to scrape down sides; set the mixture aside.
Combine egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in pecan mixture, and spread in prepared pan. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes or until thoroughly dry. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Remove from pan. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate and spread with half of Peach Filling. Spread 1 cup Butter Whip Frosting over the filling and top with meringue layer. Spread remaining filling over meringue layer and spread 1 1/2 cups frosting over filling; top with remaining cake layer. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting as desired. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours and decorate with pansies if desired.

Peach Filling

1 3/4 cups dried peaches
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Combine peaches and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes or until peaches are soft. Add sugar and corn syrup; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated; remove from heat. Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add peach mixture. Process mixture until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides; cool. 2 cups.

Butter Whip Frosting

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, unsoftened
2 pounds confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Combine butter, 1 cup confectioner's sugar and flavorings; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until combined. Add remaining confectioner's sugar alternately with whipping cream, beating well after each addition.
Beat at high speed until smooth and of spreading consistency. Makes about
6 cups.

Candied Pansies

Sprinkle 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin over 2 cups warm water; stir with a wire whisk until gelatin dissolves. Dip pansies into gelatin mixture, shaking to remove excess. Sprinkle all sides of pansies with superfine sugar, covering completely. Place pansies on baking sheets, and let stand 30 minutes or until dry and firm.

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