It’s peach season, friends!

Or…ahem…it was peach season….fairly late peach season, when I started this post. Now it’s nearly the end of peach season, and getting colder every day, so you may have trouble finding truly ripe peaches to use with this recipe, and maybe you want to bookmark it and save it for next year. One of these days I’ll get ahead of the game. Promise.

Anyway, I happened to be looking through my list of “make this someday” recipes, and saw the peach cupcakes. And I just knew that peach cupcakes would be the perfect thing to bring to the baked bean contest my church was hosting last weekend. (What, you didn’t expect me to bring baked beans, did you?) I also knew immediately that I wanted to decorate them with royal icing flowers. Even though I’ve never made royal icing flowers before.  That part was the trickiest, as icing for flowers has to be at just the right consistency. My first batch was to thin, the next one too thick, but eventually I got it right. But on to the cupcakes!

I got the recipe on CakeCentral, and adapted it slightly.

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg*
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp grated orange zest
3/4 cup milk
2 peaches or nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced and cut into thirds

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until light and fluffly. Add vanilla and orange zest, beating well. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until smooth. Fold in peaches or nectarines.
Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated over for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown and tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.

*I got most of the way through this recipe before I realized I didn’t have any nutmeg! Horrors! But I subbed in some pumpkin pie filling, which is at least partly nutmeg, and that worked beautifully.

The original recipe suggested using Mascarpone frosting on these.  I tried it, and discovered that I really, really didn’t like Mascarpone cheese. If you do though, you are more than welcome to try out the recipe at the link above.

Luckily for me though, I had some heavy cream on hand. One quick batch of vanilla bean whipped cream saved my frosting crisis in the nick of time! I don’t really use a recipe for my whipped cream, but it’s approximately 1 pint of whipping cream, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste. If you can’t find vanilla bean paste, regular vanilla extract will work too. I just prefer the paste in a recipe like this because of  the deeper flavor, as well as the look of the little vanilla bean flecks in the whipped cream.

These cupcakes were absolutely fantastic, and the whipped cream complimented them perfectly. The only trouble I had was that whipped cream at room temperature is not entirely stable. In fact, they started melting before I was even finished taking pictures. (I suspect I’d have had this problem with the Mascarpone too.) So next time, if I want to have them done in advance, I’d probably use a Swiss Meringue Buttercream on them. Definitely not a powdered-sugar buttercream, as all that sweetness would overwhelm these cupcakes, and that would be sad. For this event though, I simply took most of the cupcakes to church unfrosted, kept the whipped cream in the fridge, and re-whipped it just before serving. They were sooo delicious. And I thought my first-timer royal icing flowers turned out well too!

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