Sweet, lemony with little bursts of blackberries, these little cakes are one of the best I've ever made. They freeze well, can also be made in muffin tins and with other berries. But blackberries and lemon is a sunny combination and this is an awesome recipe. They have texture from the almond flour and some acid from the fruit.
These cute, little, individual cakes are my way of bringing some summer vibes into my kitchen because fresh blackberries have such a short season!
These are simple and beautiful small cakes, the type served at tea time along with cucumber sandwiches. Or at least that's what I think when I look at them. It's a wonderful recipe, moist, with texture from the almond flour and a great flavor.
One of my favorite end-of-summer culinary things is to freeze berries individually.
All berries I can get my hands on go on a cookie tray, and later into a Ziploc bag when they are rock solid. So I can make summer recipes all winter. Or as long as the berries last. Even ice cream, something I eat all year.
We can buy frozen berries everywhere now, I know, but when I find those perfectly ripe juicy ones, I like to keep some for dull Winter days, knowing their flavor is perfect.
- Blackberries: use fresh or frozen, both work well.
- Lemon: it pairs wonderfully with the berries.
- Flour: all-purpose or cake flour, both work well.
- Almonds: I use almond flour when I happen to have some, or finely grind whole ones.
- Powdered sugar: it makes the crumb smoother.
- Egg whites: the are beaten before adding them to the batter to mix some air and lightness into a batter that is otherwise dense.
- Flour: all purpose or cake flour both work very well.
- Baking powder: it's the leavening agent in this recipe, the ingredient that helps the cakes rise.
- Salt: baking recipe benefit from adding a some salt (I use kosher) because it brings out the flavors in the best way.
- Vanilla: a flavoring that brings out the lemon flavor and makes them mellower in the best way.
Making these little cakes is very easy and you only need a bowl and a whisk.
The dry ingredients are mixed together and then the egg and flavorings are added. This will result in a stiff batter that will be soften when you add the melted butter. You add the berries, mix lightly so not to crush them and that's it! Ready to be baked.
What pans to use?
I used mini brioche molds as in the original recipe. Simply because I have them and, quite frankly, haven't made individual brioche (called brioche a tete) in ages lol! They look amazingly cute and are a perfect size; regular muffin molds and mini bundt cakes pans work just as well.
Gluten free variation
They're easily adapted to a gluten-free version; in fact, that's the original recipe. But I'm sharing here the regular adaptation because it's the way I made them the first time, and they were so so so darn amazing I didn't want to change a single ingredient.
For GF the best is to use rice flour (white or brown) instead of the all purpose flour in the recipe. But I'm guessing a pre-made GF cake mix will work well also.
The lemon-berry duet is a common and very foreseeable combination of flavors.
Yet, these cakes, with almond flour, egg whites only and melted butter turned out to be in another league, so tender, balanced, with the right amount of sweet, acid, citrus and texture to make them a regular visitor in my kitchen. I guess they're some second or third cousin to the sensational financier, a masterpiece of French baking.
A dust of powdered sugar, and you're set. My kind of cake, rustic and incredibly tasty!
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Mini pans: I like to use these fluted brioche molds because they look cute, but regular muffin ones work just as well. You might get more cakes depending on the size. Just make sure you fill them no more than ¾ of their capacity.
- Flavorings: you can use citrus zest like the lemon in the recipe and also orange. Or pure lemon or orange extracts, about ½ a teaspoon.
- Gluten free variation: the original recipe was GF, so it's easily adaptable. Substitute rice flour (white or brown) for the regular flour, same amount.
- Berries: use frozen blackberries directly from the freezer, no need to thaw them. Raspberries and blueberries also go very well with this recipe.
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- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup all-purpose or cake flour (use rice flour for a GF version)
- ½ cup almond flour or same amount of finely ground almonds
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- 2 egg whites (lightly beaten until foamy)
- ⅔ cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat oven to 350ºC.
- Butter or spray 6 mini brioche or muffin molds.
- Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the sifted flour and confectioners’ sugar together with the almond meal, salt and baking powder.
- Make a well in the center and add the vanilla extract or paste, zest and egg whites.
- Mix until well combined. Add the melted butter and mix carefully until fully incorporated. The mixture will be silky and shiny.
- Cut the blackberries in thirds.
- Put the individual molds on a cookie tray, and divide the batter evenly among them.
- Add the blackberry pieces on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack and then carefully remove from pans. Cool completely.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Mini pans: I like to use these fluted brioche molds because they look cute, but regular muffin ones work just as well. You might get more cakes depending on the size. Just make sure you fill them no more than ¾ of their capacity.
Flavorings: you can use citrus zest like the lemon in the recipe and also orange. Or pure lemon or orange extracts, about ½ a teaspoon.
Gluten free variation: the original recipe was GF, so it's easily adaptable. Substitute rice flour (white or brown) for the regular flour, same amount.
Berries: use frozen blackberries directly from the freezer, no need to thaw them. Raspberries and blueberries also go very well with this recipe.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooling time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: lemon blackberry cakes
Slightly adapted from La Tartine Gourmande, by Beatrice Peltre