Friday, July 22
There is this little unspoken pact that I have with...myself? I'm not allowed to complain about the weather for most of the year (but come winter, the gloves are off.) I'm almost always cold, ergo summer's counterpart and I are not always on speaking terms. But seriously July, a little break from the hell-fire inferno you've blasted us with wouldn't kill you. At least take things down to the double digits, please?
For those of you who are lucky enough to be able to breathe, and move freely about your day without needing a shower every half-hour, then I highly recommend making these darling little almond cakes. They're super-moist, slightly tart, and a perfect alternative to those fussy, high-maintenance, layer and sheet cakes. Plus, they're tiny. And we all know that when food comes in mini-form, it doesn't really count as food and we can eat more of it without suffering the consequences. You have permission to do so. :-)
Mini Orange-Almond Cakes (adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)
2 medium-size oranges
2 1/4 cups of superfine sugar (if you don't have any, just whirl the same amount granulated sugar through a food processor for a few seconds)
5 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 rounded teaspoon of baking Powder
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Butter 8 individual mini-bread tins, and line the bases with parchment.
Put the oranges and lemon in a saucepan and cover with water. Place a lid on and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 1 hours, or until the fruit can be pierced easily.
Remove the seeds from the oranges and lemon.
Place both into a food processor and pulse until you have a puree. Place the pureed oranges and lemon into a bowl and set aside.
In separate, large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are just combined (Do not over-beat them as this will aerate the mixture too much.)
Add the orange and lemon puree.
Gently fold in the ground almonds, with the baking powder. Mix until all the dry ingredients have disappeared.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tins.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean [Note:mine were ready after only 20 minutes, so keep an eye on them.]
As the cakes are baking, prepare the syrup (recipe below)
Remove form the oven and cool the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before gently shaking them out.
Drizzle each cake with the syrup while they are still warm, this will allow it to soak into all the nooks and crannies.
syrup ingredients (The syrup is completley optional, as the cakes are super-moist on their own. I just needed a lemon fix.)
1/2 cup of lemon juice *
1/2 cup sugar *
*I didn't have enough syrup for all the cakes, but I may have used a bit too much on each one. So if you want all your cakes extra syrupy, you may want to increase the amount of juice and sugar.
In a small saucepan pan, and over medium- low heat, stir the juice and sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set the pan aside.
As soon as you have removed the cakes from the tins, drizzle each one with syrup.
Makes 8 mini loaves