Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Spring Cakes

Easter is right around the corner (in a few days, in fact!), and in the springy spirit of it, I thought I would share some of my favorite cakes for the season.  These little baked wonders have got me dreaming of tea parties and brunches!

When I set out to pick which cakes to feature, I was inspired by spring, and wanting something light and refreshing to munch on.  It seemed fitting to me to pick something citrus-y and something a little savory.  For me, cake always feels like too much unless there's something surprising paired with it like a nice fruity filling or just a touch of something unique and sweet (and I'm not talking about mounds of heavy sickeningly sweet frosting!)

I also realized that my cake choices were a little inspired by both my grandmas as well.  Meyer Lemon curd small cakes for my Nama who loves citrus, and little individual carrot cakes for my Grandma Polly who has always loved carrot cake!

Both of these recipes come from a baking book that I've had for ages, Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, which is a GREAT little book that has so many different cupcake recipes and ideas.  I refer to this  book whenever I am starting to make a cake for an occasion.  I love that I'm not baking from a box mix, and all of the ones I've tried have turned out pretty well.  I'd also say that a lot of the recipes for the cakes can translate well to full size cakes too, if you're not feeling the individual cake portions.   This book has so many different types of cake recipes, it really covers most of my baking needs!

In an effort to style these as inspiration for your next spring gathering, I added a few stylistic touches to accent Martha's delicious recipes.  I wanted these cakes to have an extra decadent touch to them and for them to feel special, more like miniature cakes you might find at a patisserie than just plain 'ol cupcakes.  To do this, I found some small vintage cake tins at my favorite little vintage shop in our town.  I got a handful of each tin type so each cake type would have its own look.  I wanted the whole set to feel kind of like petit fours, so guests can choose which little cake is their favorite to enjoy!  

For the Meyer Lemon Curd cakes, I chose a taller domed swirl cake tin.  One thing I love about these ones is how they look a little like cream puffs or ebelskivers in that they have this rustic quality to them where you can still see the pattern from the baking tin.  I wanted to mix up the appearance of each of the cakes so that they really rounded each other out as a set.  This cake is on the denser side, and has a slight saltiness to it, making it a really delectable treat when paired with the sweet rich lemon curd that fills the inside. 



For the carrot cakes, I chose a diamond shaped tin that I thought would fit nicely with the carrot decoration I planned for the tops!  And of course this cake really needed to be fully frosted to get that iconic cream cheese buttercream flavor combo that is so excellent with carrot cakes.  Martha's carrot cake recipe is especially delicious with her addition of golden raisins amidst the classic carrot batter. 

I chose to dress these little guys up with a literal identifier that I felt was fitting for Easter coming up.  My faux carrot adornments are made of a wedge of candied orange (found these pre-made at Trader Joes!), and two perfect little fennel fronds.  The fronds mimic carrot leaves so perfect, and if you're looking for an idea for consuming the rest of that fennel, you might want to try some puff pastry and some fontina cheese with the fennel sliced up on top in the oven for a great little lunch snack!


Until Next Time, 

- The Lovely Red Fox

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