When you bake, who are you really baking for? You, your partner, kids, friends or co-workers? It has to go beyond your own enjoyment- unless you’re the type who can polish off a triple-layer cake in one sitting (and if you are, my respect and condolences).
I bake about once a week, primarily to keep Andrew and myself in teatime treats. While my repertoire includes everything from cupcakes to cookies and brownies to pie, Andrew and I have slightly different views on what constitutes a treat. For him, there must be one constant: chocolate. While I love 70%+ as much as the next girl, I can’t help but cast my treat net a little wider. Oats, toffee, citrus and fruit all sound great to me, too.
Lately, I’ve been especially loving anything almond-flavoured, and these almond, lemon and semolina cakes (adapted from my sister’s recipe) perfectly fit the bill. The crumbly texture comes from almonds and semolina (no flour at all!), and the insane citrus taste from a good dose of zest and juice. I might be the only one around here who likes them, but I’ll deal with the guilt since they’re so darn delicious.
Luckily for Andrew (and my conscience), they’re also almost gone by now. Oh, and I’ve got a pan of brownies chilling in the fridge.
- Mini Almond, Lemon and Semolina Cakes
- adapted from Citrus, polenta and almond drizzle cake from Let Her Bake Cake
- makes 12 mini cakes
- For the cakes
150g unsalted butter
150g ground almonds
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
zest and juice of 2 lemons
100g semolina (or use cornmeal; both will work, but texture will vary)
For the icing
75g icing sugar
2-3 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbs. flaked almonds, toasted lightly
- 1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F and prepare 12 muffin cups with paper liners (not necessary if using silicone).
2. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, baking powder and salt and mix until just incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and follow with the extracts, zest and juice. Finally, gently fold in the semolina.
3. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for about an hour, until the cake tops are springy and just beginning to turn golden. Remove and let cool completely before icing.
4. To make the icing, whisk together the icing sugar with as much lemon juice as necessary (add drop by drop) to make a thick but spreadable icing. When cakes are completely cool, spread about 1 tsp. of icing over each one with the back of a spoon, and sprinkle with a few toasted almonds.