Itty Bitty Meyer Lemon Cakes
These cakes were born out of necessity. Specifically, my need to do other things rather than drive back and forth to Providence, RI to get my mini-lemon-cake fix at Seven Stars Bakery. I got hooked on their lemon cakes when my son was in college, but alas, he graduated and moved to the west coast and now I have no good excuse to make the 5 hour drive on a regular basis. They are incredibly delicious and, equally important, uniquely adorable.
In November, when my daughter and I were on a road trip to Boston, we made a pit stop on the way home, and I was reminded of their lemony, lovable existence. (“It’s in the name!”) Then, at Christmas, my sister-in-law introduced me to this 5-ingredient, gluten-free clementine cake that she found online (reminiscent of the clementine cake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty fame) and I was so intrigued by the method for making the cake, which uses the entire citrus fruit (no zesting or juicing!), and literally bursts with juicy citrus flavor, that I wondered if it would result in the lemony cake I desired if I used lemons instead of clementines. I was also dying to use this new mini-bundt pan that I had bought myself while online Christmas shopping, and suddenly my lemony dream was taking a very real and adorable shape.
The other day I happened to find Meyer lemons in my grocery store, in a one pound package and finally I thought, “Okay, Universe. I’m picking up what you’re laying down.” I adapted Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake recipe to make the Itty Bitty Meyer Lemon Cake recipe below. They are delicious just sprinkled with powdered sugar, like Seven Stars does, and they actually get better a day or two or three after baking, IF they last that long. I happened to make a double recipe, the lemon alongside the original clementine because I was sharing them with friends.
I made the clementine cake in a 10 inch round springform and cut it into three inch rounds, so that it wouldn’t feel awkward around the itty bitty adorable lemon cakes. (I’m sure that you could do the same with the lemon cake recipe if you don’t have a mini-bundt pan). Because I was taking them to a friend’s house (who are fabulous cooks) as dessert for dinner, I also made whipped cream and this White Chocolate Labneh, that I found in my beloved Zahav Cookbook and really takes the cakes to the next level. The recipe is so simple and uses only three ingredients: white chocolate, cream, and labneh (strained yogurt). To make the labneh, I strained plain greek yogurt in the refrigerator overnight. Traditionally, cheesecloth is used to strain the yogurt, but while searching my kitchen for cheesecloth I came across some coffee filters and set one inside a mesh strainer instead. It worked fine!
Here are the recipes for Itty Bitty Meyer Lemon Cake and White Chocolate Labneh:
- 4 meyer lemons (1 lb total weight)
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/3 cups almond flour
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- Place the lemons in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil on the stove. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.
- Allow lemons to cool then (they will be extremely soft), split them open and remove the seeds.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour mini-bundt pans. (or 10-inch round or springform lined with parchment)
- Place the whole lemons, minus the seeds, in a food processor (or chop finely with a knife) and process until smooth.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and mix, finally stir in the lemon mixture until blended.
- Fill 8 mini bundts (o.k. to do in two batches) and bake for 30-35 minutes. (If using 10-inch pan bake for 45-55 minutes)
- Allow cakes to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes then turn out onto racks and cool completely. (Cut large cake with 3"round cutter, if you like)
- Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Serve with whipped cream, white chocolate labneh, and fresh berries, or they're very good alone!
- 1 ½ cups white chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 scant cup labneh (strained yogurt)
- Put the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool completely in refrigerator.
- Blend cooled white chocolate-cream mixture and labneh with a mixer until smooth. Serve.