Lemon and Blueberry Teacakes

 

Lemon and Blueberry Teacakes

I was so excited to buy Ottolenghi’s new baking book, Sweet, in late fall, but have found myself so busy that I haven’t baked from it yet. Recently, though, when I was looking for a good springtime treat to share with friends, I came upon this recipe from that book. It looked terrific, and it tasted even better. I even got rave reviews from the piano movers who happened to be at our house when the cakes came out of the oven.  And since many of house in my house are lemon lovers, I’m sure I’ll use it frequently. (Note: I usually buy almond flour at Costco these days, if you are looking for an affordable and easy option.)

Lemon Blueberry Teacakes

Makes about 12 cupcakes

3/4 c. + 1 1/2 T. (190 g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/4 c. + 1 T. (45g) all-purpose flour
2 c. (190g) ground almonds
3/4 c. +  3 1/2 T. (190g) sugar
4 eggs
1/4 c. (60 ml) lemon juice
finely grated zest of one lemon
1/4 t. salt (the original amount is 1/8)
1/4 t. baking powder
2/3 c. (100g) blueberries

Glaze:
a few squeezes of lemon juice
freshly grated lemon zest of one lemon (my addition)
1 1/3 c. (160g) icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180°). Grease all 12 molds of a regular muffin pan with butter and dust lightly but thoroughly with flour. Tap away any excess and set aside.

Place the butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium-high speed until light, then add the eggs and almond meal in three or four alternating batches. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then add this to the mixer and turn the speed to low. Finally, add the lemon juice and eat until combined. Spoon the mixture into the molds and divide the 2/3 c. blueberries between the cakes: push them down slightly so that they sink into the batter. The reason we do this is to ensure that each cake gets an equal number of berries.

 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before tapping them out gently onto a cooling rack so that they are sitting upside down. Cool completely.

To make the icing: combine the confectioners’ sugar and zest and juice in a bowl and stir until it has a thick pouring consistency. Spoon the icing over the cakes and dot the remaining blueberries in the center (or strawberries!). Serve.

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Spiced Lemon Almond Cake

Spiced Lemon Almond Cake
I frequently find myself wanting to bake something, or even needing to bake something for a party or such, and then of course, not having the right ingredients around. (I actually prepare myself constantly against this horrible scenario–perusing specialty baking stores for rose water, non-pareils, anise oil, or any other thing I just may need at any given time.) At these times, baking falls back to fanning the pages of my favorite baking books just to see what I could possibly make that would still be a little interesting, new, and fun. This recipe, the original title of which is “Mrs. Chubb’s Nut Cake” did not stick out because of it’s title. In fact, the title is not a great description of what it is, and had I not been looking carefully at ingredient lists, I probably would have skipped on by it. But, it had the good fortune of my pantry being completely ready for it, so I went ahead and baked it for a friend gathering. So glad. It’s a beautiful winter cake, nuanced by the nutmeg and the cloves, with the hint of lemon and the unique texture of the almond flour. I loved that when one of my friends asked what I had been up to this year, and I replied, “not much,” his response was, “whatever! You made that cake!” The small triumphs 🙂  This recipe comes from the Brass Sister’s Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters, a truly sensational baking book. I served this with a homemade raspberry jam.

Spiced Lemon Almond Cake

1 c. almond flour (the original recipe has you pulse your own almonds with a little of the sugar to make your own flour, but it’s easy to buy almond meal these days, so I did)
1 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cloves
1 c. butter
4 eggs, separated
3 t. grated lemon zest
4 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. lemon extract
3/4 c. milk

For the topping
3 T. untoasted slivered almonds
3 T. clear sanding sugar

Set the oven in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a parchment paper or wax paper liner to fit the bottom of a 10-inch round tube pan. Coat the pan with vegetable spray. Insert the liner, spray again, and dust with flour.

To make the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add egg yolks, 2 at a time. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla, and mix to combine. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing after each addition until completely blended. Fold in almond flour.

Place egg whites in another bowl of standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until egg whites hold a firm peak. Fold egg whites into batter.

To add the topping: Place batter in tube pan. Sprinkle almonds and sanding sugar on top of batter. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until tester inserted into cake comes out dry. Cool on rack completely before turning out of pan. Store loosely wrapped in wax paper at room temperature. I recommend that you serve this cake with berry preserves!