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Peach Melba Cake

Peach Melba Cake is a riff on the famous dessert. Classic Peach Melba is made with peaches, raspberries and vanilla ice cream.

My Peach Melba cake is made with vanilla sponge cake layered with fresh peaches, raspberries and creamy vanilla mousse. It’s a showstopping layer cake!

a peach melba cake on a glass cake stand against a black background

If you’re looking for a centerpiece for a special occasion, you’ve come to the right place.

Right off the bat I’ll admit that this is not a “super quick and easy” recipe. None of the components are difficult to make, but it is a bit of a project that is best accomplished over a couple of days.

I wanted to create a special layer cake that had the wonderful flavors of the classic Peach Melba dessert. I love how the vanilla ice cream in the original recipe enhances, but doesn’t outshine, the fresh peaches and raspberry sauce.

I carefully chose the elements of this Peach Melba Cake – the sponge cake, the peach syrup, the vanilla mousse and the Italian Meringue Buttercream – to let the fresh fruit shine.

The peaches and raspberries are the star of the show, as they should be.

How to make the best Peach Melba Cake ever!

  • Use light and airy vanilla genoise layers to build the cake. A rich buttery cake with heavy buttercream filling could overwhelm the peaches and raspberries.
  • Macerate the peaches with sugar to draw out the juices. Macerating the peaches also prevents the peach slices from becoming mushy so you get distinct pieces of fruit in each cake slice.
  • Use the peach juice to make a delicious syrup.
  • Douse the sponge cake with lots of rum-spiked peach syrup to amp up the peach flavor and to keep the cake super moist. Remember, alcohol enhances flavor. You can omit the rum to make an alcohol-free cake.
  • Use vanilla mousse filling to echo the vanilla ice cream from the classic dessert. The light and airy mousse is a perfect partner for sponge cake and fresh fruit.
  • Pipe a buttercream “dam” around each layer to keep the soft filling and fruit from leaking out of the cake.
  • Chill the assembled cake for at least 3-4 hours or overnight before serving.
  • I smooth iced the cake and piped a border for a “fancy” looking cake. You can do a swirly coating of icing for a more casual look.
  • Decorate the cake with peach slices and raspberries.

A timeline for making Peach Melba Cake:

  • The genoise can be baked, wrapped and stored at room temperature up to 2 days before assembling the Peach Melba cake, or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • The Italian Meringue Buttercream can be made ahead and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for 3 months. If refrigerated or frozen, bring the buttercream back to room temperature and re-whip before using.
  • Assemble the cake the day before serving and allow it to chill for at least an hour before icing the cake. (watch this video to see How To Ice A Cake.)
  • Chill the cake overnight (or at least 3-4 hours). This gives the layers time to firm up. As the cake chills the fruit will adhere to the cake, keeping everything together when the cake is sliced. If you try to slice the cake right after assembling, the layers will slide apart.
  • 1 hour before serving take the cake out of the refrigerator to give the buttercream time to soften a little bit.
  • Leftovers will keep for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
top view of a peach melba cake decorated with fresh peach slices
a slice of peach melba cake on a plate

I highly recommend serving this cake with a glass of sparkling wine for a festive treat.

Watch the recipe video to see how to create a Peach Melba Cake.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

Peach Melba Cake

Peach Melba Cake

Yield: 15 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Chilling Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 5 minutes

Peach Melba Cake is a riff on the famous dessert - vanilla sponge cake layered with peaches, raspberries and creamy vanilla mousse.


  • 1 Recipe Vanilla Genoise, baked as two 8" cakes
  • 1 Batch Italian Meringue Buttercream

Vanilla Mousse Filling

  • 2/3 cup (5 oz, 150ml) whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 112g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (10g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (5 oz,  150ml) heavy cream


  • 3-4 (16 oz, 448g) fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1/2" slices.
  • 2/3 cup (5 oz, 140g) granulated sugar
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 (2 oz, 60ml) cup dark rum


Make the Vanilla Mousse

  1. Place the the milk and vanilla in a pot over medium high heat. Heat until the milk is scalding hot, but not boiling.
  2. While the milk heats up, whisk together the eggs, 1/4 cup of the sugar (set aside the other 1/4 cup for the whipped cream) and the corn starch until smooth.
  3. Whisk the hot milk into the egg yolks, then return the mix to the heat. Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and return to the bowl the eggs were in. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the custard. Discard the pod or rinse it and set in a bin of sugar to make vanilla sugar.
  4. Refrigerate the custard for at least 1 hour (must be completely cooled) before continuing with the recipe. To speed up cooling you can set the bowl of custard over a bowl of ice water.

Assemble the cake

  1. Toss the peaches with 2/3 cup of sugar. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. When you're ready to assemble the cake drain the peaches. You should have about 1/2 cup of of juice. Combine the peach juice with 1 cup of water and the rum.
  3. To finish making the mousse, whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled custard base.
  4. Split each cake in half horizontally so you have a total of 4 layers. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with buttercream (or use a disposable bag with the tip cut).
  5. Set one layer of the cake, onto a cardboard cake round or a serving plate. Brush the layer generously with 1/4 of the peach syrup. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the layer to form a "dam" for the filling.
  6. Arrange 1/2 of the peach slices over the cake layer. Spread 1/3 of the vanilla mousse over the peaches, pressing so the mousse fills in the gaps between the peach slices.
  7. Place the second layer onto the cake. Brush with 1/3 of the remaining syrup and pipe a dam of buttercream. Arrange the raspberries over the cake layer. Spread 1/2 of the remaining vanilla mousse over the berries, pressing so the mousse fills in the gaps between the berries.
  8. Place the 3rd cake layer, brush with 1/2 the remaining syrup and pipe a dam. Arrange the remaining peach slices over the cake layer. Spread the rest of the vanilla mousse over the peaches, pressing so the mousse fills in the gaps between the peach slices.
  9. Top with the 4th layer and brush with the remaining syrup. At this point the cake is too soft to ice. Chill the cake for at least 1 hour to set the icing dam and to allow the cake to firm up.
  10. Ice the cake with a thin crumb coat of buttercream. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes to set the buttercream. Alternately, instead of smooth icing the cake you can do one swirly coating of icing at this point. This will give the cake a more casual look.
  11. Ice the cake with a final coating of buttercream. Use a piping bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a border around the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours to make sure the filling is completely set, preferably over night.
  12. Remove the cake from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top of the cake with a few fresh raspberries and fresh peach slices.

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a slice of vanilla cake with raspberries and cream on a plate

Vanilla Genoise, Vanilla Sponge Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Light as a feather Vanilla Genoise (vanilla sponge cake). This cake will absorb lots of syrup for an extra layer of flavor and moisture. I like to add a bit of rum to the syrup, but you can use vanilla, Grand Marnier or whatever flavor you'd like. This classic cake is especially delicious with whipped cream, mousse and/or fresh fruit


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 113g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 225g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (7.25 oz, 196g) cake flour


  • 1.5 cups simple syrup (that's a double batch) flavored with liquor or extract of your choice.
  • Filling & icing of your choice


  1. Line the bottom of two 8" cake pans with a parchment round, or butter and flour the pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F (don't use the convection setting).
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, cook until the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and become brown. Drain the butter into a medium bowl, leaving the milk solids in the pan. Stir the vanilla into the browned butter and set aside.
  3. Put the eggs, sugar and salt in a mixer bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water) and whisk until the eggs are slightly warmer than body temperature. Put the bowl onto the mixer and whisk until the eggs are tripled in volume.
  4. Sift half the flour over the egg mixture and use a balloon whisk to fold, repeat with the remaining flour. Whisk 1 cup of the batter into the browned butter to lighten the butter, then whisk in another cup of batter.
  5. Fold the butter mixture into the batter just until combined. Don't over mix or you'll loose some volume in the cake. Divide the batter evenly between the pans.
  6. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  7. Cool completely before filling and frosting.


  1. Trim the top of the cake to level, if desired, split each cake into two layers.
  2. Brush the layers generously with syrup before filling & icing.

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Italian Meringue Buttercream

Italian Meringue Buttercream

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Light, fluffy and not too sweet, Italian Meringue Buttercream is a dream to work with. It takes on almost any flavor and is strong enough to pipe roses and other decorations.


  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 226g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 large (6 oz, 170g) egg whites, at room temperature (see note 1)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound unsalted butter (453g) room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • Other flavorings to taste


  1. Combine the water with 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Cook the sugar syrup on medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is melted. Once the syrup begins to boil do not stir the syrup. Allow it to cook to 235°-240°F (soft ball stage).
  2. While the syrup is boiling, whip the whites on medium high speed. When the whites are at soft peak reduce the mixer to medium low and slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Increase the speed to medium high and whip to full peak.
  3. As soon as the syrup is at the correct temperature, remove the pan from the heat. With the mixer running on medium low, pour the hot syrup in a steady stream between the edge of the bowl and the whisk. Increase the speed to medium high and continue whisking until the whites are cooled to about 80°F.
  4. When the whites have cooled, with the mixer running on medium, add the butter one piece at a time. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium high and whip until the buttercream comes together.
  5. Store at room temperature until ready to use.


Note 1: I always use fresh egg whites. If you use pasteurized egg whites from a carton make sure the package says they can be used for meringue. Some markets sell pasteurized eggs still in the shell, those can also be used for this recipe.

If the buttercream becomes "spongy" while standing re-whisk to correct the texture. The buttercream can be refrigerated 3-4 days or frozen for several weeks.

Return to room temperature and re-whisk before using.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thursday 8th of April 2021

Hello! I think you forgot to include how to incorporate the heavy cream into the vanilla mousse filling?

Eileen Gray

Friday 9th of April 2021

Step 3 for assembling the cake: "To finish making the mousse, whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled custard base."

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