I mean, are these cakes cute or what? Dense, buttery little lemon-almond cakes, topped with thick whipped ricotta, and a drizzle of light, floral honey. They’re kind of perfect, whether you’re here in the southern hemisphere (citrus is just coming into season) or in the northern hemisphere (so Spring-y!). But most importantly, these are the perfect thing for a party. They couldn’t be more perfect.
Let me talk about the taste first. Lemon cakes are some of my absolute favourites. And these are a particularly good example. Chewy and sticky at the edges, but still light. Buttery and rich, but sharp and lemony at the same time. They work so perfectly with the smooth, slightly savoury ricotta topping, and that drizzle of honey. Lemon and honey definitely belong together.
I’m actually making these for a party for a friend, which is coming up soon, and I’m so excited about it. Making food to feed people, lots of people, is something I really love. In another life I could definitely have gone into catering. BUt maybe not, because liking the people I’m cooking for is definitely part of the fun for me. What could be better than serving forth beautiful platters of baby cakes to people you love?
Plus these are so simple. They’re much easier to make than a cupcake, they look so much more bohemian and beautiful, and I think they’re more of a crowd-pleaser to the over-18 crowd… Well, maybe not all of us over-18s (ahem). But what I’m saying is they’re less sweet, a little more grown up, and less likely to interfere horribly with the taste of your glass of wine. So just the perfect thing to bring out at the end of a cocktail/drinks shindig. Note to self, don’t say shindig. Do you have a go-to crowd pleaser of a recipe?
- 75g (2.5 oz) butter
- 3 eggs, separated
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup (110g) ground almonds (aka almond flour)
- ⅓ cup (80g) caster sugar
- ¼ cup (30g) plain flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g fresh ricotta
- 1 tbsp honey, plus extra to serve
- Edible flowers, dried fruit (I used dried persimmons) to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a non-stick 12-hole muffin tin.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, and set aside to cool.
- Separate the eggs, placing the whites into the bowl of a stand mixer, and the yolks into a large mixing bowl.
- To the yolks, add the almonds, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla, and stir until well combined. Add the cooled melted butter, and stir through.
- Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, until stiff peaks form. Take ⅓ of the whisked whites, and beat briskly into the egg yolk base, just to lighten the mix.
- Carefully fold through the remaining egg whites, then divide the batter between the holes of the muffin tin
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden and springing back when lightly touched. Turn out, upside down onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely.
- To make the topping blitz the ricotta and honey together, either in a food processor, or with a hand-held blender until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle, and pipe onto the cooled cakes. Drizzle extra honey over the top, and decorate with edible flowers and dried fruit to serve.