Monday, June 19

Sweet Little Cakes

These past two weeks have been filled with errands and a seemingly endless list of chores. Leaving town for a month-long vacation isn't a hardship by any means, but it creates a small mountain of "catch-up" activities that prevent you for weeks from doing anything remotely similar to relaxing. This weekend we saw the valley on the other side of the mountain. Having finished the last of the laundry and other essentials, Dustin and I painted the bathroom, tended our neglected garden, and placed the last few windows in the greenhouse. Our chores were done, and we sat, after dinner, wondering if there was anything sweet we could whip up, as a reward for our hard work.

The answer was lying in my recipe basket, where it has been patiently waiting for the right moment to be tested. Dustin and I made it a team effort, and whipped up a batch of "Individual Strawberry Jam Cakes", from Martha Stewart. The cake was tender, but sturdy enough to hold that luscious little jammy surprise in the center. Our cakes were filled with raspberry jam, which was wonderful...the perfect handheld dessert. Much to Dustin's pleasure, the end result was akin to a jelly-filled doughnut, but better, in my opinion. We scraped every last bit of icing from the parchment placed to catch the drips, and poured every little drop right back on the top of those sweet little cakes.

Individual Strawberry-Jam Cakes
From Martha Stewart Living Magazine

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing tin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (I didn't have oranges, but I'm sure this would be good)
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk (I used skim with no adverse effects)
6 tablespoons strawberry jam (or your favorite)
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (I used more, to make the icing "stick" better)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a standard 6-cup muffin tin; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, and zest until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time until creamy; set aside. Into a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture in alternating batches to butter mixture; set aside.

In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks; fold into batter. Divide half of batter among muffin cups. Make an indentation in the middle of each; fill with 1 tablespoon jam. Top with remaining batter.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in top cake layer comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Unmold cakes, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar and juice. Place rack over parchment paper; drizzle cakes with glaze.

Makes 6 small cakes

Notes from the Baker: These cakes were great right out of the oven, but I liked them best the second day, after the icing had hardened on top. I was surprised that they stayed moist and tender for days afterward. The texture reminds me of a poundcake, but without being heavy or greasy at all. I was conservative with the jam this time, for fear of it leaking out and making a mess, but next time I will try and increase the amount of jam filling in the middle, to ensure that each bite is filled with berry-goodness.

6 comments:

  1. Yummmmmy! I am going to make these as soon as I get home and I love the photography. When will we open that sandwich shop/bake shop/ specialty food store?

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  2. Wow, that looks amazingly good. I could lick the screen!

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  3. Definitely making these - they look delicious!

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  4. That looks really nice and neat!
    Mm... I wish I had the time to make them =p

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  5. Nicki4:10 PM

    Thanks a million for the corn pudding recipe! I am going to experiment with it tomorrow with some roast cornish hens. Those brownies look supreme. I will have to try them this week!

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  6. Anonymous5:37 PM

    oh good! i pulled that recipe card ages ago too and wanted to make them but was looking for a review. will test 'em tomorrow, thanks!

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