Brown Butter Almond Cake with Homemade Citrus Jelly

by Laura on April 11, 2011

It is 45 degrees here this morning.  The sky is clear and big and bright blue, and the last of the snow is melting.  Even the spot where the plows had pushed up a good eight feet at the end of the driveway has nearly disappeared.  There is the smell of dirt and life in the air, and the first green shoots are pushing up as the earth thaws and warms.  It seems like a nice day, then, to celebrate the end of winter.  I spied the last of the winter citrus jelly I made in March in my refrigerator this morning and decided to make a little cake to say farewell to winter and welcome to spring.  So I baked a brown butter almond cake, and smeared the layers with the jelly, and topped it with the last of the slices of candied citrus from last month, too.   I had preserved them in some vanilla syrup, and they are just as pretty as can be, tiny slices of kumquat, small slices of meyer lemon and tangerine, and big moons of cara cara orange and grapefruit, all flecked with vanilla seeds.  And the cake, well, it’s as pretty as can be, too: lofty egg whites with browned butter, deeply toasted almonds, and nothing to interfere with these pure flavors.  Oh my.  It’s somehow both light and rich, and the bittersweet honey of the jelly and the candied citrus are a nice counterpoint. I baked this into a three-layer miniature cake and put the rest of the batter into a two-cup bundt pan.  I covered it with cellophane and will bring it to room temperature tomorrow before I bake it off and then dust it with confectioners’ sugar or drape it in a glaze, probably bitter chocolate. You could use any baking pan you’d like, or even a muffin tin.  Just adjust the baking time, checking the cakes every few minutes until they are done.  When it’s just the three of us, I like to bake like this so that we have two modest desserts with a variation on a theme, rather than one big dessert that gets sad looking and eventually tossed.  It’s no more fuss, really, just a few more peeks in the oven, and such a delicious reward.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kankana April 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I am speechless! It’s looks so perfect .. the composition of the picture is beautiful.. making me drool :)
Almond flavor cake is my all time favorite!

2 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 12, 2011 at 6:57 am

Such beautiful light-filled photos! The glossy citrus slices on top are the perfect finish.

3 Laura April 12, 2011 at 7:39 am

Thank you!

4 Kris Jacobson April 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

“smell of dirt and life in the air” is so true

5 ShopCookMake April 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Looks delicious!

6 Gourmantine April 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I like the idea of pairing these wonderful treats with citruses, haven’t tried it yet. Your photos are as usual stunning!

7 Laura April 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Thank you, all of you.

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