This delicate 3-layer 9-inch birthday cake is made with vanilla beans and organic pure vanilla extract. Each layer is slathered with bourbon-soaked peach compote and topped with both vanilla bean and spicy, salted caramel popcorn. The whole cake is then topped with a spicy salted caramel and spicy salted caramel popcorn. The perfect way to celebrate your special day.
Place the sliced peaches in a mason jar and fill with bourbon until the peaches are completely covered. Allow to sit at least overnight or up to a week. Strain out the peaches (but keep the peach-flavored bourbon for cocktails!) and place in a pan with the sugar, cinnamon, and ¼ cup of the bourbon. Cook until the liquid resembles a thick syrup, mashing the peaches occasionally and allow to cool completely. Blend for about a minute to break up the peaches more if needed.
For the Cake
Grease and flour three 9-inch baking pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
Beat the eggs one at a time into the butter, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding another. Add the vanilla extract and the beans from the scraped vanilla bean. Beat well. Alternate between adding the flour and the milk, beginning and ending with the flourand mixing until just combined. Evenly distribute the batter into the baking pans and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted in the centers. Allow the cakes to cool completely before wrapping tightly with plastic wrap and freezing for a few hours, or overnight. (Freezing the cakes makes it easier to frost).
For the Caramel Popcorn
Place the popcorn into a very large bowl. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan add the sugar and butter together and heat on medium-high until the mixture bubbles. Allow the mixture to bubble for about 3 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until it comes together into a smooth sauce.
Pour the caramel over the popped popcorn and mix well so all the popcorn is evenly coated Transfer the popcorn the baking sheets and bake for one hour, mixing the popcorn every 30 minutes. Break apart any clumps and allow to cool completely
For the Caramel Sauce
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the sugar, agave nectar, and two tablespoons of the bourbon. Allow the sugar to absorb the bourbon then turn on the heat to medium high. Allow the mixture to cook and boil until it reaches a deep amber color. Remove from heat and add the heavy cream and mix well. The mixture will bubble a lot when you add the cream. Mix until smooth, then add the remaining bourbon, cayenne pepper, the beans from the vanilla bean pod, salt, and butter. Mix until it is a creamy sauce. Transfer to another container and allow to cool completely.
For the Frosting
Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time mixing well between each addition. Add in the salt and mix well. Repeat with the heavy cream and the beans scraped from the vanilla bean pod. Take out about ¾ cup of the frosting and add the caramel sauce to it. Mix well.
Level the cakes as-needed. Fit one piping bag with a large round tip and fill with the frosting that has the caramel. Pipe two touching rings of frosting on the outside edges of two of the cake layers. Fill the insides of the rings with the peach compote. Layer the cakes so that the one cake layer without the frosting and compote is on top. Frost the cake with the vanilla frosting. Place the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to slightly stiffen the frosting a bit, this helps with controlling the caramel we are pouring on top. Spoon caramel around the top of the cake. I did not do it in the middle where the popcorn is so that the popcorn does not get soggy. I placed a doughnut cutter on top to make it easier to avoid the center. Use the back of the spoon to spread the caramel evenly over the top of the cake, it will drizzle down on its own. Place caramel popcorn over the center of the cake. Serve!
You will end up with more popcorn and caramel sauce than what you need for the cake. I figured since this is a celebration, that would not be a problem!
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Vanilla Bean Cake with Bourbon Soaked Peach Compote and Spicy Caramel Popcorn https://cookienameddesire.com/vanilla-bean-cake-with-bourbon-soaked-peach-compote-and-spicy-caramel-popcorn/ July 10, 2015 Amanda @ A Cookie Named Desire