I thought I'd end my series of St-Germain party posts on a sweet note with these diminutive almond, elderflower, and lime travel cakes. When I found the recipe for them in Food & Wine back in May, I flagged them and kept waiting for the right occasion to make them. Emily's St-Germain party proved the perfect excuse.
The cakes are made with very few ingredients, but the first thing on the list is almond paste. I really didn't want to just buy a package of almond paste at the store. It seems like something that would taste much better if it were homemade, so I did a little Googling, found some almond paste recipes, chose the simplest one, and decided I would make it from scratch. The recipe below incorporates this, but you could still purchase the almond paste if you want.
Almond, Elderflower, And Lime Travel Cakes (adapted from Food & Wine and Epicurious)
Makes 36 to 48, depending what pans you use
1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 eggs)
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon St-Germain
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 tablespoons St-Germain
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest, plus more for garnish
Make the cakes: In food processor, process almonds until powdery, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the confectioners' sugar, and process to combine.
Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, and stir in the egg whites with a wooden spoon.
Turn the paste out onto a sheet of wax paper, form it into a log, and wrap with the wax paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
You will need 10 ounces of the almond paste for the cakes, cut in pieces -- the other 6 ounces can just be cut in small pieces and eaten. (Store the remaining almond paste in the fridge for up to 1 week.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and heavily spray 2 mini muffin and or petit fours pans with baking spray (I used one of each).
Place 10 ounces of the almond paste in food processor, and pulse until broken in small pieces.
Add eggs and pulse until smooth.
Add cornstarch and salt and pulse until smooth.
Add butter and St-Germain and pulse until incorporated.
Pour the batter into a measuring cup or small pitcher, and fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full.
Bake 13 to 17 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. (The original recipe says 22 minutes, but at 15 minutes my cakes were already dark golden brown. I would set your timer for 10 minutes, and then check the cakes every couple minutes after that.)
Transfer the pans to cooling racks, and let cakes cool in pans for 20 minutes. Then turn cakes out onto cooling rack to cool completely. (I find a toothpick very helpful for dislodging any cakes that stick to the pan. Just use it to go around the edges of the cakes and loosen them.)
Make the icing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, St-Germain, and lime juice. Then whisk in the 1/2 teaspoon of lime zest.
Using a baby offset spatula (or the back of a spoon), slather the icing on the cakes, letting it drip down the sides.
Just before serving, sprinkle the extra lime zest on top to decorate the cakes. (I remembered to do that after people started eating the cakes.)
While the cake part is tasty, the best part is really the St-Germain icing. Good thing I had more than enough to cover the cakes because this stuff is amazing eaten right out of the bowl -- trust me, I know. I am looking forward to making more desserts with the icing. It would even be perfect with something as simple as poundcake.
Along with the travel cakes, we also got to feast on Emily's adorable mini lemon tarts and Bianca's decadent cookie dough truffles.
What would you do with St-Germain icing?