|mini almond lemon thyme cake.|
I love all things citrus, so it only makes sense that I love this herb called lemon thyme, with its refreshing fragrance and flavour, reminiscent of lemon zest, but with an additional, elusive herbal allure.
I had recently stocked up my pantry with some almond meal, which was just begging to be used in a baking project, so when I subsequently picked up a sleeve of lemon thyme from the markets not too long afterwards, the conclusion was clear: mini gluten-free lemon thyme almond cakes was the answer.
For my almond cakes, I decided to first create a lemon thyme syrup which does triple duty - it goes into the batter, pours over the cakes to finish, and the leftovers are beautiful as a cordial (which tastes remarkably like a more wholesome homemade version of the popular Australian lemon squash soft drink, Solo).
lemon thyme syrup / lemon thyme cordial
1 cup water
1 cup raw sugar
1 handful/bunch lemon thyme - I had about 10 sprigs, and I reckon the more the merrier*
1/2 cup lemon juice
Prepare lemon thyme by trimming and discarding the roots. Give them a good rinse to clean, then snip each sprig into sections so that they will fit in the saucepan later.
Bring water and sugar to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then continue to let it boil, uncovered, for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and immediately immerse lemon thyme sprigs in the sugar syrup. Press down the lemon thyme so that the sprigs are completely submerged, and lightly bruise the leaves with a pestle or muddler.
Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Add lemon juice. Continue to steep for another 2 hours - preferably overnight for a greater flavour intensity. Strain before using.
This will make more than enough lemon thyme syrup for the cake recipe below. Just know that the syrup also makes a pretty awesome cordial. I mix it with cold sparkling or soda water to create a refreshing fizzy lemonade!
*I suspect other lemony herbs such as lemon verbena, lemon myrtle, lemon balm could work as substitutes. Otherwise, perhaps a couple lemons' worth of zest plus a few sprigs of regular thyme?
|mini lemon thyme almond cakes.|
mini almond lemon thyme cakes
1 cup almond meal (100g)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup lemon thyme syrup
pinch of salt
olive oil, to grease 6 muffin cases
Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F fan forced (180°C/350°F conventional).
Mix almond meal and baking powder in a bowl.
Blend lemon thyme syrup, eggs and salt until smooth. Combine with almond meal mixture, stirring. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to absorb and thicken, then stir again to combine.
Divide the batter into 6 greased muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven, prick the tops with a fork and trickle in about 2 teaspoons syrup for each mini cake.
Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before carefully removing from cases. These mini lemon thyme almond cakes should keep for at least 2 days in an airtight container on the counter, or 4 days in the fridge.
Serve on their own, with a cup of tea, or with a refreshing dollop of yoghurt, sorbet or ice cream.
|cross section of mini lemon thyme almond cake.|