Author Notes: I love mini cakes but I had never baked with redcurrants before. This shiny little berry is, I think, under-appreciated and there are not enough recipes highlighting its glorious sparkling flavour. My inspiration came from La Tartine Gourmande's 'Lemongrass, Vanilla and Red Currant Cakes'. I made significant changes to the original recipe, mainly substituting spiced rum for the lemongrass, adding a small amount of ground pistachios, using vanilla extract instead of vanilla seeds, and last but not least using beurre noisette. Beurre noisette, or brown butter, is butter cooked until it turns golden brown and which gives the cakes a rich caramel flavour. The result was an explosion of colour and taste - delicate, elegant and utterly irresistible. —moonshine and lemon
grams unsalted butter
grams icing sugar, sifted
grams finely ground almonds
grams finely ground pistachios
grams plain flour, sifted
teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
egg whites, lightly beaten until foamy
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoon spiced rum
teaspoon poppy seeds
cup redcurrants (if frozen, do not thaw)
icing sugar for dusting
- First make the beurre noisette. Put the butter in a small light-coloured, heavy-based saucepan over low/medium heat. Once the butter has melted, let it come to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils, foam will appear on the surface. Allow the butter to bubble away until it looks clear, the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and the butter has turned a golden brown giving off a nutty fragrance.
- Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl through a fine sieve or muslin. (Do not scrape the bottom of the pan.) Allow to cool to room temperature but do not let solidify.
- You will need 140 ml beurre noisette for the batter. Use the remaining brown butter to grease the moulds. This will enhance the nutty flavour of the cakes.
- Heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.
- Butter and flour well 12 individual cupcake moulds. Make sure that every inch of the moulds is well-coated with butter and dusted with flour so that the cakes don't stick. Then place the moulds on a baking tray and put them in the fridge to set while you prepare the batter.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds and ground pistachios, icing sugar, salt and baking powder.
- Make a well in the centre and whisk in the lightly beaten egg whites, the vanilla extract and the spiced rum. Mix in 140 ml beurre noisette.
- Finally, add the poppy seeds and the redcurrants and mix lightly taking care not to break the redcurrants.
- Divide the batter between the 12 moulds, pressing down gently to fill all available space. Place in the fridge on the baking tray for 10 minutes to set.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Mine were done at 27 minutes.
- Remove and let cool down for a few minutes before carefully taking them out of the moulds onto a cooling rack.
- To serve, dust with icing sugar, sit back and enjoy with your morning coffee!