My little girl loves tea parties. (Who doesn’t?) And many of the tea party books that she has depict tiny cakes as part of the spread. Not cupcakes and not always petit fours. (Thank Heaven for that!) Just little cakes. And this is good news for me because my little Amelia doesn’t like frosting and let’s face it, frosting cupcakes is where all the work is! I love it when your child wants something easy. (Because that is definitely a rarity in this house!) And these are perfectly easy, and a really perfect white cake recipe in general. The cake is delicately scented with lemon and has a beautiful tight, soft, crumb. It’s almost like a bakery cake or a cake mix, except that you get to control the flavor and there aren’t any strange, unpronounceable ingredients.
For these cakes, I got to use a really fabulous product from King Arthur Flour. It’s Tart Montmorency Cherry Concentrate and it is outrageously wonderful! I got hooked on dried Montmorency cherries when we lived closer to a Costco and I could get a big ole bag of them for a song. (They are SO much more expensive here in Maine!) But with this one bottle of concentrate, I can add that tart, snappy flavor to anything I want! I did a few test runs of some of my old standbys and decided that I prefer to drizzle it on after the baked good in question has come out of the oven. When I tried baking it right into the recipe it lost some of it’s bright flavor and it sunk to the bottom of the baking pan (where it sometimes burned, sad.). Jay gives me a really hard time if I use anything but maple seeeerup on my pancakes, but I gladly took one for the team and poured some of this onto a big stack. Heavenly! It is very tart, so a little goes a long way.
I think it’s very economical as well. A 16 ounce bottle sells for $16.95. (And that’s made with the juice from over 1000 pressed cherries! Cool, huh?) I’ve used it in these cakes, scones, pancakes, and drizzled over lemon ice cream (oh.my.gosh!!!) and I’ve only used about 2 and a half ounces! And guess what, my lovely bloggy friends? King Arthur Flour has graciously offered a bottle of Montmorency Cherry Concentrate for one of you lucky readers! Wheeee! And all you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post! Easy Peasy!
Amelia’s Fairy Cakes
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 egg whites, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup Tart Cherry Concentrate
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
Royal icing or pressed sugar flowers to decorate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with pretty liners. (Alternatively, you can prepare two 9” cake pans, one 9x13 baking dish or one baking sheet (jellyroll pan), you’ll just need to adjust the baking time.)
In the bowl of your mixer, combine the sugar and the lemon zest. With your fingers, massage the zest into the sugar. (This releases the oils in the zest and really pulverizes it, the air will smell absolutely luscious!)
Attach the beater to your mixer and beat in the butter until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
Add the egg whites and beat until well combined.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the batter and beat.
Pour in about 1/3 of the buttermilk and beat.
Repeat this process until all the ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the bowl VERY WELL and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
Pour into prepared pans and bake until the cakes spring back when you gently touch them with your finger; about 20 minutes for cupcakes, 35 minutes for 9” cakes and the sheet cake, or 45 minutes for a 9x13” dish.
Remove cakes to a cooking rack. While the cakes are cooling, drizzle about a teaspoon of cherry concentrate
on the top of each cake.
When the cakes have thoroughly cooled, melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave using 30 second bursts of power to avoid burning the chocolate.
Stir in the shortening.
Spoon a tablespoon of the chocolate over the cake, swirling it around until it settles and press a flower into the center of the cake.
Let chocolate harden, about 30 minutes.
Enjoy with the darling little girl of your choice :)
P.S. Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post for your chance at a free bottle of Montmorency Cherry Concentrate! You’ll be glad you did!
P.P.S. This giveaway will close on Wednesday, April 6th at midnight. Good luck!