Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Little Berry Almond Cakes

I used to work in a gourmet food shop in a little coastal town in Maine.  I was one of two bakers who where given free reign to try new and interesting recipes.  Most of the recipes we used were favorites but sometimes we would enter uncharted territories, trying new recipes that didn't always quite deliver.  If they were unsellable, regrettably we would have to dump them but sometimes just adding a pretty garnish or frosting to hide a mistake was all that was needed.

This recipe was not a difficult recipe by any means, however the directions say to place berries on top of the batter before baking.  Fifteen minutes into the baking time I checked to see how my little cakes were doing and much to my dismay my cake had swallowed up my pretty arrangement of berries.  I could do one of two things, I could continue baking the cakes until done or I could add more berries to the top of the slightly sunken cakes and continue to bake until done.  I did both just to see what the results would be.  After 15 minutes of baking I sprinkled a few more berries on top of half of the cakes, at this point there was a slight crust forming which would keep the berries from sinking and continued to bake until done.  The result was lovely though slightly sunken.  After the cakes had cooled I added more fresh berries to the top and sifted a little confectioners sugar over the top and voile!  A beautiful, perfectly moist and delicious little cake I would not hesitate to serve guests.
What we call in the business a "happy mistake".

As you can see, the berries did a dive to the bottom of my cake and left a bit of a crater on the top.  Not the most beautiful cake but I can honestly say, one of the best tasting cakes I've made.

Makes 9- 5 ounce cakes 

2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs (300g)  
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups almond meal (300g)
grated zest of 1 lemon  
Fresh berries, I used raspberries and blueberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, beat the softened butter until smooth on medium high speed.  Add the sugar slowly and beat until well incorporated.  Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Mix in lemon zest.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add flour to the butter mixture and mix to incorporate, scrape the bowl and add the almond meal and mix until combined. 

Divide batter evenly in paper baking cups to about 3/4 or more to the top.   Place filled baking cups on a baking sheet spaced a couple inches apart.  Place in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes carefully remove the pan from the oven and quickly sprinkle berries over top of each cake and place back into the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes more or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  The tops will be a nice golden color and slightly indented.  Remove from the baking sheet to a rack to cool completely.  You may add more fresh berries to the top at serving time and a little sifted confectioners sugar on top.  Enjoy!


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