Saturday, January 27, 2007

Small Things

Little Lemon Cakes

I just have to get this off my chest…

We were at the movies the other night with a few friends and a little girl no older than 6 happened to be seated behind me. About 20 minutes into the movie I could feel her feet kicking my seat, I don’t know if she was just disinterested or restless, but she would not stop kicking my chair. I endured the kicking for a few minutes and thought that she was bound to stop, but she didn’t, so I turned around and asked her to please stop kicking my chair. She gave me a bratty look, scrunched her nose and reluctantly lowered her feet. Her mother, who was sitting next to her, was surprisingly oblivious to the whole incident.

The kicking seemed to stop for a while, although half an hour later, she started kicking again. So again, I turned around and addressed both the parent and the girl to please ask her to stop kicking the chair. The parent looked at me like I just recited her a theory in quantum physics and then carried on watching the movie.

Urrghhhh! The insolence!

Little Lemon Cakes

Now on to more pleasant little things.

There is just something about making things miniature that renders it appealing. You have a cake and then you reduce it to the size a cupcake, very cute. Then you take a cupcake and then shrink it into a mini cake and you get something doubly as cute. I should know a lot about cute; being what polite, politically correct people consider petite, I get a lot of people calling me cute. Not that I take offence to the word, I guess it just comes with the territory, of being small that is.

Other than aesthetics, I don’t know what else would be the benefit of having such small morsels as these. I assume portion control would be a logical intention, although in my experience this did nothing to foil the excessive amount of portions I ended up ingesting.

Little Lemon Cakes

You must avert your eyes, and your appetite for these mini cakes are deceiving. They make be small and they may be cute, but don’t think you can just stop at one. Unless you are planning on making these for company, don’t be left alone with a whole batch. They will somehow find a way into your stomach, seducing you with their cuteness.

I saw these little lemon cakes on Lara’s blog last year and I fell in love with them instantly. It was only a few days ago when I actually got to make the cakes and realised for myself, how addictive they really are. Tangy, sweet and sour, all in one delightful bite. And because the cakes are so small you get the perfect crust to crumb ratio, a flawlessly crusty exterior with a lovely springy interior. Thanks to the addition of yoghurt, it becomes the ideal catalyst for producing the cake’s sponge-like crumb. Soon after adding the yoghurt, you will notice tiny air bubbles forming in the batter.

Little Lemon Cakes

I also happened to have some leftover raspberry coulis sitting sound in my fridge, which was just the thing to pair the cakes with. But on their own they are just as good. These are a great way to serve petit fours, as Lara showed in her post, or even as regular cupcakes or a cake. Baking times will vary for different sizes, but the recipe remains the same. If you are not keen on having it paired with a side condiment, then a light dusting of icing sugar should do the trick. Enjoy!

Little Lemon Cakes Little Lemon Cakes

Lemon Yoghurt Mini Cakes
makes up to 40 mini cakes
adapted from
this recipe

Little Lemon Cakes

equipment: 24-hole non-stick mini muffin tray

60g unsalted butter
½ cup caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest finely grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup plain all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup full cream yoghurt or sour cream
¼ cup lemon juice
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Beat butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and gently fold in.
Then gently stir in the yoghurt and lemon juice.
Spoon small teaspoons of batter into the mini muffin tray. Be careful not to fill them all the way to the top.
Bake for 25 minutes. Check the middle muffin by inserting a toothpick, it should come out clean.
If they are not done yet, continue to bake at 5 minute intervals checking in between if the tops are golden brown and crusty.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then gently remove from tin by tapping on the bottom. The cakes should all come out cleanly.
Serve bottom side up as little mini cakes with a dusting of icing sugar and some raspberry coulis.

Little Lemon Cakes


wheresmymind said...

Next time I wanna see a trio of different color accompaniments with them ;)

jasmine said...

It never ceases to amaze me how certain people seem proud of what they call "parenting skills."

Love the ittybittycakies...


Anonymous said...

Absolutely adorable! And you're right, reducing the size of any dessert to mini proportions does make for a truckload of cuteness...but the danger is that it makes them that much easier to pop into your mouth ;)

Brilynn said...

Little things definitely just challenge me to eat more of them... this looks refreshing and tasty.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes, mini does not translate into portion control for me. I appreciate the warning not to be caught alone with little ones like these. Especially after a chair kicking episode like that. I do appreciate young cutties kicking like that, many times it truely is unconscious and then somebody needs to make it a conscious lesson in good manners. The other times...well...that's best left for someone less polite than I leaving a comment.

Helene said...

I think I would have to eat 10 of those, you know, just to be sure...
I can see a new trend on my house: lemon cakes with different dipping sauce, raspberries, passion fruit, lemon curd, orange...
Your pictures are truly mouthwatering.

evinrude said...

i love kids but dont you just hate it when they are so simply spoilt and bratty? what puts me off even more is the "adult" accompanying him/her.

the cakes are simply lovely! and it's so very true that they get really dangerous because you dont seem to realise how many you've eaten until they're all gone! fear the minis ^^

Vintage Wine said...

They look delicious :-) I love making them small, it somehow feels like a restaurant ;-)

Patricia Scarpin said...


These are so cute! And I admite I'm totally biased here, since I love mini food! :D

I love baking goods that call for yogurt - it brings moisture and flavor, everything gets lighter and more delicious.

About the little girl - with a mother who will let her do whatever she wants, what can you expect?? A little "de**l", that's for sure.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Something concocted of lemon and raspberry and called mini? Oh, it has to be good.

Your photos are fantastic! They really draw the viewer in. I'm so glad I found your site; I'll be back!

Food "Blogga"

Unknown said...

These are absolutely irresistable!! lolz...and you're so true on the part that one just can't stop at one, when we see petits like these.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely presentation!

Anonymous said...

Those mini cakes look fantastic and yummy! I have been meaning to do a cake with yogurt since I've found and good source here...this is definitely going on the list! :)

Sometimes I think because these mini-portions are so small, it's even easier to "over-indulge" because you can rationalize that they are tiny...believe me, this has happened to me tons of times...heehee :)

Anonymous said...

Oh I absolutely adore miniatures! These are definately on my must-bake list!

Squishy said...

Simply gorgeous photos and simply gorgeous little cakes. Your photos are sensational.

jp diniz said...

These "small things" are really wonderful, I've tried them and then post the recipe in my blog with a link to yours, but I don't think that you can read it as it's in portuguese. Great recipe an beautiful photos.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow these are YUMMY little cakes! I've made them to as dessert for a dinner party where all the entree and mains are liberally loaded with chilli so the lemon bites to finish the evening were divine! I ate the first batch before dinner though so had to make a second! So dangerously addictive.