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!
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.
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.
Here are more recipes featuring fresh peaches:
- Peach Crumb Pie
- Peach Cheesecake
- Peach Mango Pie
- Peach Dumplings
- Pork Tacos with Peach Salsa
- Peach Upside Down Cake
- Fried Peach Hand Pies
- Roasted Peach Ice Cream
- Peach & Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Peach Melba Cake
Vanilla Mousse Filling
- 5 oz whole milk (⅔ cup)
- 1 vanilla bean (split)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup, divided)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 5 oz heavy cream (⅔ cup)
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- 2 oz dark rum (¼ cup)
- Bake the genoise in two 8"x3" pans according to the recipe. Cool the cakes completely. Make the buttercream according to the recipe. Keep at room temperature until assembling the cake.
- Toss 16 oz fresh peaches (peeled & sliced) with 5 oz granulated sugar. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Make the Vanilla Mousse
- Place 5 oz whole milk and 1 vanilla bean (split) in a pot over medium high heat. Heat until the milk is scalding hot, but not boiling.
- While the milk heats up, whisk together 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup of the sugar (set aside the other 1/4 cup for the whipped cream), ¼ teaspoon salt and 4 teaspoons cornstarch until smooth.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 2 oz dark rum
- To finish making the mousse, whip 5 oz heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled custard base.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 coat of buttercream at this point. This will give the cake a more casual look.
- 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.
- 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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