Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and MY SISTER WROTE A NOVEL, BUY IT!

A delightfully peachy cake made from a cake mix and a packet of Jello, of all things! There are real peaches in the cake, which makes it super moist (ok, and a lot of oil). It is topped with a rich brown sugar frosting!

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

GUYS! I’ve been waiting for this day for years. YEARS. (I actually just stumbled on an old blog post of mine from 2013 where I talk about this day.)

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

My sister Nikki wrote a book and now it’s published! And it’s being released TODAY! You can buy a print copy OR the ebook on Amazon. I’m so excited that I even added a link on my sidebar over there.

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and MY SISTER WROTE A NOVEL, BUY IT! (From The Food Charlatan)

Doesn’t it look so cool?

I’ve been reading this book from draft one. Nikki started writing it about 5 years ago and has been working to get it published ever since. It’s finally here!! Want to see the back?

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and MY SISTER WROTE A NOVEL, BUY IT! (From The Food Charlatan)

Here’s the first page:

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and MY SISTER WROTE A NOVEL, BUY IT! (From The Food Charlatan)

Salem is a shy high school girl whose sister (and idol) was killed in a freak gas explosion. (If that wouldn’t shatter you, I don’t know what would.) But she’s starts to realize that Carrie’s death was no accident. You can read the whole first chapter if you click the “LOOK INSIDE” link right above the book cover on Amazon.

It’s so good!! Check it out! I love this story so much!

Did you know that authors often have very little control over the marketing aspects of their books? Including the back cover synopsis. What it doesn’t mention is that there is a frenemy-type romance that’s pivotal to the story: Cordero, super hot and mysterious gang member, who Salem’s trying to get information from (to answer questions about her sister’s death.) He’s my favorite character!

If you want to buy the book, the easiest place to get it is on Amazon!


  1. Inspired by Shatter is a social media contest Nikki is running! Win 50 bucks by posting stuff about Shatter on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Read more here. (And check out my Instagram later today to see what I’m entering! EPIC!!)
  2. Shatter Book Launch and Dance Off: if you live near Riverton, Utah, come to the book launch next week! I’ll be there! Nikki put me in charge of judging the dance off. SO excited!!
  3. There’s a giveaway you can enter right now, here on the blog! All you have to do is COMMENT on this blog post, and answer this question: What about Shatter makes you most want to read it?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I asked Nikki what recipe I should make for her book release, and she suggested something with peaches. In the book there is a union strike going on, so none of the peaches in the orchards surrounding the town are getting picked. They’re just falling and rotting. (Spoiler alert, Salem gets rotten peaches thrown at her one time. How fun is that?? Can you imagine?)

Have you ever made this Blackberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting? It’s a yellow cake mix with a packet of raspberry jello and a pound of frozen blackberries. Sounds weird, but it’s delicious and is a HUGE family favorite around here.

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Cut the sliced peaches in half.

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

This is the frosting. Left: before ice bath. Right: post ice bath.

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Beat 3-5 minutes.

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

 I turned it into a peach cake: yellow cake mix, peach jello, a pound of frozen peaches, and BROWN SUGAR frosting, which almost borders on caramel frosting. The jello is what makes the cake so delightfully orange (or pink, in the case of the Blackberry Cake.) The corners are my favorite part. The edges of the cake get very brown but they do not dry out. Instead they are ultra chewy, the opposite of most cakes. It’s ridiculously easy to make and it’s SO GOOD!

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

It’s also super rich. The cake is sweet and the frosting is even sweeter. It is the same super fudgey frosting that goes on top of Nana’s Famous Fudge Brownies, except I left out the chocolate and used brown sugar instead of white. The result is an ultra decadent, caramel-y icing.

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

I think it’s an amazing combo. Brown sugar + peaches, HELLO. But if you think it sounds overwhelming, you could swap out the brown sugar frosting for the cream cheese frosting that goes on the Blackberry Cake. (Omit the coconut extract.)

I brought this over to my friend Sarah’s house today and she told me that she hates Jell-O and hates box mixes but she loved this cake. WIN!

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Just look at that chewy edge!!

Congrats Nikki! You did it! You are officially an author. Dreams do come true! Live it up! You deserve it! I will always be your biggest fan! (Well. Except Mom.)

Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

If you make any of my recipes, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it! I love that.

Peach Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and MY SISTER WROTE A NOVEL, BUY IT!

Yield: Serves 12-16

Recipe by The Food Charlatan


    For the cake:
  • 1 (15 ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 2 (3 ounce) boxes Peach Jell-O, not made
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil*
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen peaches, unthawed**
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ice water (for an ice bath, not to go in the recipe)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together the cake mix, 2 boxes of peach Jell-O, 4 eggs, and the cup of oil.
  4. Open the bag of frozen sliced peaches. Cut each slice in half so they are a little more bite size.
  5. Use a sturdy wooden spoon to fold the peaches into the cake batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased cake pan.
  7. Bake at 350 for about 40-45 minutes. Check the center of the cake with a toothpick; if it comes out without batter it is done. (very moist crumbs are ok.) The edges will be quite brown.
  8. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. While the cake cools, make the brown sugar frosting. In a 2 quart pot, add butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream.
  10. Stir together over medium high heat until it reaches a boil (bubbles all the way across the top). Set a timer for 1 minute and stir frequently.
  11. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla.
  12. Prepare an ice bath. Set the pot of frosting in the ice bath (don't get water in the frosting!!) Let the frosting cool in the ice bath, scraping sides occasionally, until the frosting is room temperature and much thicker. See photos.
  13. Use a hand mixer to beat the frosting for about 3-5 minutes, until it is thicker but still pourable.
  14. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.
  15. This keeps on the counter for a day or two, but after that I would put it in the fridge. Good luck keeping it around that long!


* I like to use light tasting olive oil, but you can use any vegetable oil.

**I've never tried it, but I think this would work fine with fresh or canned peaches. Just make sure they are drained VERY well. I wanted to try the recipe with fresh, but it's May and they just aren't available yet!

More fruity cakes you will like I’m sure!

Blackberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting << this is the original cake for today’s recipe. I just did peach instead of blackberry! Follow this link to get the cream cheese frosting recipe. It would taste really great on today’s peach cake, if brown sugar frosting isn’t your thing.

Blackberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting


Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting << So decadent!

Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting from The Food Charlatan


Strawberry Truffle Cake << You get to make a cake. And then smash it. Then add strawberries. So fun!

Strawberry Truffle Cake


More peach cake to love!

Peach Coffee Cake from The Baker Mama
Grilled Pound Cake with Warm Peach Coulis from Noble Pig
Peach Breakfast Cake from Reluctant Entertainer





  1. Nancy Loring says

    I always like a good murder mystery book. I also don’t like peaches so I am glad that they all get rotten.

  2. stephanie says

    this cake looks so good – i’ve never even had peach jello but i love jello or pudding cakes. the blackberry one looks awesome too!

    and what about shatter makes me most want to read it? because i love any type of whodunit! aside from cooking shows/cookbooks it’s practically all i ever watch/read, haha. my partner is often busting my chops about it, even :) congrats to your sister!

  3. Laura says

    Well, I’m kinda cheating since I’ve read it but honestly my favorite part is her trying to figure out Cordero throughout the book. SO GOOD!!!

  4. Pamela says

    That peach cake looks luscious!!! Can’t wait to read Shatter as I love murder mysteries!!! Thanx for the chance to win. Take care…….

  5. Eric says

    It’s been awhile since I’ve read a mystery so that’s why – plus peaches are my favorite fruit! Great job Nikki!

  6. Kristine Gifford says

    The face that Nikki wrote this is what makes me most want to read it! I’m semi-related to an author! Yay!

    Also, I have peaches in my freezer to make this cake, which also makes me happy!

    AND, I followed your instructions and used your link to BUY MY ONE KINDLE COPY! Yay again!

    Congratulations Nikki!!

  7. Samantha K says

    I love that it’s a mystery! The tagline sounds really intriguing, and I am curious to know what the conspiracy is and who committed the murders.

  8. Susie D says

    To be honest I am not sure I would read this but my teenage daughter would probably enjoy it. She loves mysteries.

  9. says

    I’m always looking for a good book…and as our household is a big fan of the Gifford household, we will take Karen’s rousing enthusiasm as a positive recommendation. As far as peaches go- I grew up in a small town where peaches and almonds were the main export crop. In the early spring, when winter has stretched one’s soul to the limit, the trees begin to bloom: Almonds with white petals, peaches with pink. Orchard after orchard, the promise of spring unfolds… and even as the petals fall, they carpet the new grass below, like a happy snow.

    Knowing how peaches start and what the final result tastes like- I love the ironic twist, knowing there will be a good smashing involved!
    (I CERTAINLY never did such a thing.)

  10. Alison C says

    I love a good mystery. I am always looking for new authors. Congrats to your sister on her book being published.

  11. Janice says

    You are not helping my resolve to lose a pound before I get to Utah next week and gain it back- probably while eating this cake! What a great way to highlight Nikki’s book- maybe this post will “Shatter” all previous records! (Oh, I’m killing myself with puns over here :)

  12. Britta says

    Oh my gosh, Karen, I have heard you talk about this book for so long that I cannot wait to get my own copy and make Nikki sign it for me!! You will, right Nikki?!? Can’t wait for the book release party. I love peaches so much and this cake recipe is right up my ally…boxes and all. I love easy things that taste amazing!

    • says

      Hey Janet, I know I’m so excited for fresh peaches! My parents have a tree, I’m so spoiled. I think a bundt pan would work! You will have to bake it longer but I’m not sure on times. Let me know how it works out!

  13. MissyF says

    I made this for Mother’s Day, my family loved it…if I make it again I will spread the batter in the pan first and then place the peach slices on top so I can be sure every bite has peach, I probably won’t cut the peach slices into chunks. Great tasting recipe! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge