Remember back in April when I shared that I’d finally attempted my lifelong dream of having a Meyer lemon tree in the backyard? Well, after months of (impatient) waiting and watching the green lemons getting bigger and bigger… they’re finally ready for harvest! I’m a major lemon fan and love using it in unexpected ways (lemon linguine with arugula, anyone?), so you can bet I’ll be cooking up a citrus storm between now and the season’s first frost. These almond and lemon baby cakes are the perfect treat to enjoy on a chilly autumn afternoon with a steaming cup of coffee. And feel free to experiment with different flavors to change it up! Orange or lime would be divine in place of the lemon… and how about a hazelnut liqueur (like Frangelico) instead of the amaretto? Let me know if you try any variations, and keep reading for the recipe!
Almond & Lemon Baby Cakes
*yield: 16 cakes
- 7 ounces almond paste, broken into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Amaretto
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus zest strips for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a mini-muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. In a food processor, pulse the almond paste several times until broken into small pieces; don’t overprocess or the paste will become oily. Add the eggs and pulse until smooth. Add the cornstarch and salt and pulse until smooth. Add the butter, Amaretto and lemon zest and pulse until incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into a small pitcher and pour it into 16 muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden, puffed and firm to the touch. Transfer the pans to a rack and cool for 20 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.
- In a bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar, cream, Amaretto and lemon juice. Using a handheld mixer, beat at low speed until smooth. Beat in the teaspoon of grated lemon zest. Spoon the icing liberally over the cakes, allowing it to drip down the sides. Garnish with lemon zest before serving.
*photos by Camille
**recipe inspired by these cakes from Food & Wine