These are pretty, little, lemon, mini cakes with a pink topping from the pomegranate juice in the glaze. In the headnote of this recipe, it’s mentioned that these are popular items in the spring and summer, but I couldn’t wait to make them. And to me, Meyer lemon and pomegranate are fall ingredients. That’s when the Meyer lemons on my trees ripen and I get very excited to use them in new and different ways. The recipe makes 24 mini cakes, so I cut the quantities in half to make 12. Also, I used a muffin tin rather than mini cake pans. The little cakes are tender-crumbed and delicious with butter, creme fraiche, Meyer lemon zest and juice in the batter, and it’s an easy batter to make. It was scooped into buttered muffin tin cups and baked for about 20 minutes. After cooling, the cakes were dipped into the thin glaze, and they were left to dry. The cakes keep very well, and it’s noted in the book that they freeze well too before being glazed.
These tea cakes are perfect for dessert, snacks, or tea time or for whenever you can get Meyer lemons. Next, I need to decide which candies to make for the holidays. It’s going to be fun having one more book on the shelf for sweets for all occasions.
Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission. Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Peden + Munk.
makes 24 individual cakes
We feature this cake every spring and summer at our farmers’ market booths, and time and again I hear the same question, “What is that?!” The jolt of pretty, pastel pink glaze always elicits a response from children and adults alike. Mini-cake pans, with 12 cups each, are available online.
for the cakes:
3 1/3 cups (17.3 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 3/4 sticks (15 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups (15.75 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) creme fraiche
6 large eggs
1/3 cup grated Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Meyer lemon juice
for the pomegranate glaze:
2 cups (9 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsweetened pomegranate juice
to make the cakes:
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Coat 24 large muffin cups or 3-inch mini-cake pans with nonstick baking spray or butter.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Mix the creme fraiche, eggs, lemon zest, and juice together in a small bowl with a fork or small whisk. With the mixer on medium speed, alternately add the dry and wet ingredients in batches and continue beating until the batter is smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes.
5. Using a large ice cream scoop or a large spoon, scoop approximately 1/2 cup batter into each prepared muffin or cake cup. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes appear matte and the shiny center has disappeared; do not bake until the cakes turn golden. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing them. Cool the cakes completely on a cooling rack before glazing, about 1 hour.
to make the glaze:
1. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice and pomegranate juice and stir with a small spatula until completely smooth. Let the glaze sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before using.to glaze the cakes
2. Pour the glaze into a wide shallow bowl. One at a time, pick up each cake, rotate the cake so the top is facing down, and dip it into the glaze. Carefully move the cake in a slow, circular motion so the entire surface is coated with glaze, then shake the cake gently so any excess glaze falls back in the bowl and put on a baking sheet. Put the cakes in a cool, dry area and let stand until the glaze loses its sheen and sets, about 20 minutes.
storing: Once the glaze has set, the cakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
tip: If you want to freeze some or all of these cakes for future use, freeze them unglazed and then glaze them only after they are completely defrosted. This recipe makes a lot of little cakes—feel free to halve it if you like.
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