11 May 2012

Frangipane mini-cakes (Almond baby cakes)

I woke up today much the same as I have the past 11 mornings: thinking that today is the day that I would tell you about these little almond cakes. 


Then I crawled out of bed and did the usual, with a special twist this month: my mom is here! For the past week and half, she has been hearing our morning footsteps and whispers, and our little noises lead her downstairs. Soon after that, we wave the boys off to school and work, and then we sit down for breakfast. Mom has had breakfast ritual for decades: fresh brewed coffee, yogurt with fruit, buttered bread with cream cheese and jam, sitting at table, taking her time. I guess you could also say that I have my own sort of breakfast ritual: oatmeal, fast. Hm. On second thought, not very ritual-y, eh? While Mom is here, though, I've taken to sitting down with her. I still have oatmeal, but we talk and take our time, and since I polish off my breakfast faster than she does hers, I often end up nibbling on fruit (or other things - ahem - read on). 

Then we start our day, and before I know it, it is already time to pick up the schoolboy, and again before I know it, it is time for dinner, and then again before I know it, it is bedtime. And before I know it, I'm waking up and thinking that I still need to tell you about these little almond cakes. 

My conscience can no longer stand it, and neither can these cakes. It's time to show procrastination who's boss.

I chanced upon these on Dorie Greenspan's blog two Mondays ago, and that very evening I had a batch in the oven. Five ingredients and gluten-free, these are easy as easy can be, especially if there is almond flour in your pantry. To me these are frangipane in cake form, dainty and scented with almond, fine-crumbed and not at all heavy. I can't think of when these wouldn't be perfect: appropriate for tea, fitting for dessert, pleasant for snack, delicious for breakfast (ahem). 

And so today was much the same as the past 11 days, but tonight I will go to bed with the very satisfied feeling of having shared these little jewels with you.


Frangipane Mini-Cakes, or Almond Baby Cakes
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
A couple of notes: Dorie's recipe calls for lining the bottoms of the tins with wax or parchment. She also starts off with whole almonds that are then ground coarsely. I don't line my tins, and I use almond flour. Also, I discussed these with my younger sister and we thought that this would probably work really well with hazelnut flour - I may try that next time.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ยบF. Butter a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin.

Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed until thick, pale, and voluminous (about 5 minutes):
  3 large eggs, at room temperature
  ⅔ cup sugar 

Pour in and continue to beat for another minute (the batter will deflate a bit):
  5 ounces ground almonds or almond flour (with or without skins; mine had skins) 

With the mixer still on medium-high speed, drop in a few pieces at a time:
  5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very, very soft

Beat until very well blended. There may still be small bits of batter and the batter might look curdled. Reduce speed to low, and add:
  1 tablespoon kirsch, dark rum or pure vanilla extract (I used dark rum)

Turn the mixer to high for a second or two, and then turn the mixer off.

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin molds. The molds will barely be half full. The batter will rise slightly.

Bake for 20-29 minutes - this is a wide estimate, but start checking at 20 minutes. They will be dark brown around the edges and a cake tester inserted in their centres will come out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn the pan upside down on a rack and tap out the cakes. Cool upright on a rack.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Makes 12 mini-cakes 


  1. I will have to try this at my mother-in-law's as I don't have a mixer or a muffin tin but I've saved this post for that special day. I'm so happy to see this gluten-free recipe!