Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lemon Passover Cupcakes with Blackberry Jam and Lemon Glaze

This cake is not just for Passover, friends.  And it's not even just for the Jews.  I'm convinced that this is one that everyone will like.  I try to test out as many of my recipes as I can on my friends so that, by the time I post it to the blog, I have gathered as much (hopefully honest!) feedback as possible.  So last week, I brought this cake to my classmates and to several other friends (the brave souls who are willing to serve as taste-testers for all of you!). 

And the feedback?  They liked it.  Like, really liked it.  And I am so glad they did, because this is one of my favorite cakes.  It's got a lovely lemon flavor without being overpowering, which means it pairs perfectly with  jam (mmm, it's so amazing with jam!) and/or a simple lemon glaze.  It's light, airy, slightly spongy but not too spongy.  In fact, it's so light that you'll be tempted to eat 2 - 3 times the normal volume of cake you might normally consume - just a fair warning.



This cake is pretty minimalist in its ingredients and the batter comes together pretty quickly.  You can make it as cupcakes (I had trouble getting them to puff up as much in a muffin pan as they did as cakes, although they tasted equally delicious both ways), as mini cake loaves, or as an angel food-style cake (which will take considerably longer to bake).  Directions for each one of these variations is below.

It's true that this is a cake borne out of Passover restrictions.  And by all means, eat it at Passover - eat a lot of it at Passover.  Eat it completely plain.  Top it with fresh fruit.  Or fill it with jam and add a lemon glaze - whatever you like.  Just don't tuck the recipe away for a whole year once the holiday's over.


Lemon Passover Cupcakes with Blackberry Jam and Lemon Glaze
Makes 24 cupcakes, 5 - 6 mini cake loaves, or 1 regular angel food cake

7 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1 /2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest from one lemon
3/4 cup potato starch
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.  If making cupcakes, grease two muffin trays with cooking spray or line with paper cupcake liners.  If making angel food cake, get out an angel food cake pan but don't grease it.  If you are making mini cake loaves, prepare 5 glass mini loaf pans by spraying them with cooking spray or greasing and then dusting with flour.  (You don't have to grease the angel food cake pan because you'll be able to cut it out of the pan when you take it apart, but if you don't grease the mini loaf pans, it will stick!).

Separate six of the eggs. Beat the six yolks and the remaining whole egg until frothy. Gradually add sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest, beating constantly and thoroughly at medium/high speed. Then gradually add the potato starch, beating constantly to ensure thorough blending.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff but not dry (it should form stiff peaks). Fold gently but thoroughly into the egg-yolk mixture.

For cupcakes:  Bake in at 350 F for about 15 - 22 minutes or until the cupcakes are lightly browned and spring back when touched gently with fingers.  Let cool completely before trying to remove; you may have to cut them out or use a fork to pry them out if you don't use paper liners.

For mini cake loaves: Bake in at 350 F for about 30 - 40 minutes or until the cakes are lightly browned and spring back when touched gently with fingers. Let cool completely before trying to remove; you may have to cut them out or use a fork to pry them out.

For angel food cake: Bake in at 350 F for about 50 - 55 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned and springs back when touched gently with fingers. Invert pan and cool thoroughly before removing cake.  Remove by running a knife around all edges to cut the cake out.

For the cupcakes pictured above:
When the cupcakes/cakes are cooled, use a knife to cut "slits" into it.  Fill the slits with a dark berry jam (i.e. blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc.).  Just make sure it's kosher!  Then drizzle some lemon glaze over the top.  Let the glaze harden before serving.

For lemon glaze, mix together:
1/2 - 1 cup powdered sugar (make sure there is no cornstarch in this if you want this to be kosher!)
1 tsp. potato or arrowroot starch (more if needed)
3 tsp. lemon juice
water to desired consistency

Drizzle over the cake and let harden before serving.

OR you can serve plain or as a base for fruit shortcake (with sliced strawberries, blueberries, or any other dark berries).


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