First of all, I want to send a belated thank you to the readers that entered my Moo card giveaway. Finally, I “pulled” numbers with Random.org.
Congratulations to the winners Alejandra, Jennifer C and the grand prize winner Lindsay. Watch your inbox and enjoy your wonderful Moo goodies!
Let me tell you something about this recipe. It almost didn’t make the cut. These tea cakes seemed a bit odd. The texture wasn’t quite right – airy like angel food, but chewy. The cardamom was a bit strong, and, I don’t know. I think my post-vacation readjustment period has been a bit difficult. Time in the kitchen is slim, so making something that initially feels like “meh” is a hard sell to write about.
Yes, these little cakes almost fell to the wayside. But then, I couldn’t stop nibbling on these once they fully cooled. And then I took them to my friend Amber’s home. She had the brilliant idea to tear the little cakes open, slather them with lemon curd and pair with coffee. We both remarked that they were “Slightly odd. But good.” Nothing like the light of a less judgmental friend to sell you on your own creation.
So if you’re ever feeling less than stellar about something from your kitchen, here’s my recommendation. Tote your “slightly odd” creation to a good friend’s home, preferably on a rainy Sunday. Have a lazy afternoon nibbling on yummy things, sipping, catching up with your mutual lives and cuddling with their adorable pups. Leave their home feeling renewed about your friendship, baking abilities and generally better about life. Oh, and if you don’t have at least one friend in your life whom you can share that kind of afternoon with, give me a ring!
If you don’t have your own quirky creation to bring with you, these tea cakes should do the trick. Because all the reasons I originally questioned these cakes turned into the reasons I loved them. The texture is unique, chewy and soft. The flavor is floral with cardamom and orange blossom, but bitter and tart with blood orange curd. They are not fussy cakes, perfect room temperature or warm. And they’re a perfect vehicle to shovel delicious lemon curd into your belly. Also, since the batter is such a high ratio of egg whites, they feel like almost perfectly healthy treats. Oh and would be easy to make gluten-free!
These tea cakes are totally citrus-flexible. Lemon curd, orange zest, grapefruit juice? Go for it! Mix and match your citrus to what is available to you. The orange blossom water brings out the floral notes of citrus. It can be found at Middle Eastern markets but is totally optional. And if possible, freshly ground cardamom is encouraged!
Adapted from Epicurious
- 45 grams, 1.6 oz, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
- 45 grams, 1.6 oz, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 150 grams, 5.3 oz, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 [heaping] teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 3 oz, 1/3 cup orange curd
- 1 oz, 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 oz, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water [optional]
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in two muffin pans and lightly grease with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, 50 grams [1/4 cup] sugar, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Whisk thoroughly to combine and aerate the dry ingredients.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl, place your egg whites.
- In the bowl containing the dry ingredients, add two egg yolks, orange curd, juice, oil, zest and orange blossom water. [Save the two additional egg yolks for some other kitchen adventure.] Do not stir!
- Start beating your egg whites with a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add the cream of tartar. When the egg whites reach soft peaks [where it clings to the beaters but is still a bit damp/soft], slowly spoon in the remaining 100 grams [1/2 cup] of granulated sugar. Beat until the egg whites are stiff.
- Beat together the bowl of wet and dry ingredients, combining thoroughly. Then, add the egg whites to the bowl. Using a delicate hand, fold the egg whites and batter together. It will take at least a dozen turns of the bowl to get the batter dispersed throughout the large amount of egg whites. Be patient, not forceful.
- Using a large ice cream scoop, measuring cup or spoon, scoop the batter into the muffin pans. Bake for 25 minutes. The muffins will seem done, but I like to bake them for another 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. [They can be a bit damp at 350 degrees. They will get golden brown with the extra baking time.]
- Remove from the oven, let cool and serve to friends with additional citrus curd and tea. Enjoy!