These mini naked cakes filled with sweet and tangy orange marmalade and garnished with fresh flowers are an elegant treat for a springtime brunch. They may look fancy, but they're simple to make.
It's already been a week since we moved into our house, and we've gotten so much done! The guest room (where we'll be sleeping until we get new furniture for the master bedroom) is all set up, all of our kitchen tools and gadgets have been organized, the bookcases are bolted to the wall, and we ordered a big new couch for the living room. We're feeling pretty proud of ourselves for surviving the first week of home ownership without any major disasters!
There's still tons of decorating to be done inside the house, but now that the first buds of spring are blooming I'm dreaming of planting a garden. We have some funky shrubs in the front that I'd love to replace with bushes, and there's something growing in the bed next to the driveway, but I can't tell what it is yet. Roses, maybe? I'm dying to know what's going to bloom in our flower beds so that we can decide what to keep and what new things we want to plant.
What are you favorite springtime flowers? And what are you growing in your garden this year? If you have a green thumb, please tell me all of your tips! I want to grow a beautiful garden, but I don't have the best track record for keeping plants alive.
In the meantime, while I wait impatiently to find out what's going on in our flower beds, I'm decorating desserts with fresh flowers. These mini cakes remind me of petit fours, so of course they needed to be topped with flowers. The mini cakes are also topped with a simple vanilla glaze, but I kept the sides bare to let the bold flavor of the orange marmalade shine through.
These mini naked cakes would be a perfect Easter treat or an elegant dessert for a springtime brunch. They're great finger food, since they can be devoured in just two bites. Or one big bite. I won't judge!
[recipe title="Mini Naked Cakes with Sweet Orange Marmalade" servings="8 (16 mini cakes)"]
for the pound cake:
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
for the filling and topping:
16 tsp. (a little over 1/3 cup) sweet orange marmalade
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1-1/4 tsp. milk
edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to350°F. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on high speed until creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat on high for another minute until well combined. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Then beat on medium-high speed until the ingredients are well combined. Turn the mixer back to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture. Beat the batter just until all of the flour is incorporated, being careful not to over mix. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed while combining the ingredients.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about one hour, until top of cake is golden brown and a stick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, run a butter knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then flip the pan over onto the wire rack to release the cake.
Cut the cake into 1/2-inch wide slices. You should have 18 slices Using a 1-1/2 inch circular cookie cutter, cut 2 small circles from each slice of cake (except for the two ends). You should now have 32 small circles. Save or discard the leftovers.
Spread 1 tsp. of the orange marmalade atop half of the little cakes. Top each with the remaining cakes.
In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and milk to create a glaze. The glaze should be pourable but thick. If your glaze is too runny, add a little more powdered sugar. If it's too stiff, add a tiny bit more milk. Pour the glaze over each petit four and quickly spread the glaze over the top with the back of a spoon. Some glaze may drip down the sides, but the sides should not be completely coated with glaze. If using, garnish with edible flowers.
Eat immediately or store in an air tight container for up to two days.