Justin Burke’s Peach Delight Icebox Cake

updated Jun 7, 2021
Pride Bakeshop
Peach Delight Icebox Cake

Prosecco and mascarpone elevate this classic icebox cake and make it the perfect easy dessert for summer.

Serves8 to 10

Prep20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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icebox cake on a table with someone pouring champagne
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: CC Buckley; Prop Styling: Stephanie De Luca

This recipe is part of our Pride Bakeshop package, featuring five of our favorite queer bakers and the celebratory dessert that’s bringing them joy right now. Check out all the amazing treats here.

My first Pride was when I was 20 years old, a year after coming out. I attended the large, organized parade and joined the block party festivals in Boston with little knowledge of what Pride meant. I gave little thought to what a privilege it was to have access to these gatherings or to live in an area that celebrated its queer community. My young assumption was that this type of celebration was happening everywhere — just as big, and easily accessible. It wasn’t until I moved to the South, 12 years later, that my perception of Pride changed and I grew to respect the importance of why we celebrate rather than how. 

Pride in the South is very different from the celebrations in other major metropolises across the country. Most Southern cities celebrate Pride in October, coinciding with National Coming Out Day. Not having an organized celebration close by in June  means that queer Southerns either travel for Pride (if they can) or gather with their friends to celebrate on their own. We open our homes and block off our neighborhoods for a more intimate, shared space to celebrate ourselves and our community. These smaller gatherings put a greater emphasis on the chosen families and homes we’ve created.

This year, my partner and I are hosting a potluck-style garden party in our cozy backyard for Pride. Under strings of market lights surrounded by fragrant jasmine, crepe myrtles, and tea olive trees, we’ll catch up with our friends and family after a year of being apart. As the resident pastry chef of the group, I’m responsible for the dessert table. The star of the evening will be a peach delight icebox cake: Prosecco-poached peaches, airy sweetened mascarpone filling, and cinnamon graham crackers soaked in the reserved poaching liquid. 

The hometown-inspired dessert honors the secret queer potlucks that were held before there were enough spaces for queer people to gather safely. It’s simple in appearance, but the flavors are sweet and fresh, with a subtle boozy note. Served with a glass of Prosecco, this icebox cake is a toast to our queer Southern families; the ones before us and those we have yet to meet. That’s why we celebrate Pride, to remember and reflect on our history.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: CC Buckley; Prop Styling: Stephanie De Luca

Peach Delight Icebox Cake

Prosecco and mascarpone elevate this classic icebox cake and make it the perfect easy dessert for summer.

Prep time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the poached peaches:

  • 2 pounds

    ripe peaches (6 to 8 medium), or 1 1/2 pounds frozen sliced peaches

  • 2 cups

    prosecco or sparkling wine

  • 1 1/2 cups

    granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

For the mascarpone filling:

  • 8 ounces

    mascarpone cheese

  • 3/4 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 2 cups

    cold heavy cream

For the layers and garnish:

  • 12

    whole cinnamon graham crackers (about 1 1/4 sleeves)

  • Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place 8 ounces mascarpone cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer.) Let sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, halve and pit 2 pounds peaches (no need to peel), then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. If using frozen peaches, thaw 1 1/2 pounds.

Poach the peaches:

  1. Place 2 cups prosecco, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste in a medium saucepan and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the peaches. Cover and simmer until the peaches are knife tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Pour the peaches and poaching liquid into a large heatproof bowl. Let cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate uncovered until chilled, at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the mascarpone filling.

Make the mascarpone filling:

  1. Add 3/4 cup powdered sugar to the mascarpone cheese. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until evenly combined and smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  2. Clean and dry the stand mixer bowl. Add 2 cups cold heavy cream. Beat with the whisk attachment on medium-low speed until the cream begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute more.

  3. Transfer half of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Gently fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.

Build the cake:

  1. Line all four sides of an 8x4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of a few inches along each side.

  2. Remove the peaches from the refrigerator and drain through a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl, reserving the liquid. Pour the liquid into a pie plate.

  3. Working with 1 cinnamon graham cracker at a time, dip 3 crackers into the liquid and flip to coat. Place in the loaf pan. Repeat dipping and arranging 2 more graham crackers, breaking the crackers up as needed to fit into a single layer.

  4. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the mascarpone mixture over the graham cracker layer with an offset spatula. Scatter 12 to 14 peach slices over the mascarpone mixture. Pick up and lightly tap the pan on the work surface to settle layers.

  5. Repeat building two more layers each of soaked graham crackers, mascarpone mixture, and peaches (you will have peaches remaining). Finish with a final layer of soaked graham crackers. The top layer will be slightly over the rim of the pan. Gently press the graham crackers with your fingertips to make an even layer. Cover with the overhanging plastic wrap. Freeze until solid, at least 7 hours and up to overnight.

  6. Transfer the remaining poaching liquid and peach slices to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  7. 8 hours before serving, transfer the cake from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, uncover and flip the cake out onto a serving platter. Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Arrange the reserved peaches over the cake. Garnish with a drizzle of poaching liquid and a few fresh mint leaves if desired. Gently slice with a serrated knife and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cake can be assembled and frozen up to 2 days in advance.

Storage: Store leftovers loosely wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.