Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hazelnut Baby Cakes

On Dorie Greenspan's blog "In the Kitchen and on the Road with Dorie", she posted a French recipe for Almond Baby Cakes. She writes "If you play around with the recipe, let me know what you do ...please".

So there I was standing in my kitchen on Easter Monday morning, early morning, and it was quiet in the house. Ahhh...not a sound to be heard...more ahhh...And I was reading Dorie's post about Snickerdoodles and Almond Baby Cakes.
(By the  way, I do not believe that the word "Snickerdoodles" stems from the German "Schneckennudeln", a popular pastry that is very similar to Sticky Buns. I think I will do a post on "Schneckennudeln" soon. But I am straying from my actual theme here...)

But back to the business of baking Baby Cakes. Within minutes of reading Dorie's blog, my resolution NOT to do any more baking in the week after Easter, went out the kitchen window. In the week before Easter, I had baked Easter Bunny Cakes, Easter Bundts, muffins with bunny ears, marzipan Easter Lambs (tradition in this country) and cookies, I had dyed hundred of eggs, packed countless Easter baskets and prepared a big Easter brunch. So in order to recover from my Easter baking and cooking frenzy, I decided that I should bake some more. Go figure.

But the recipe and the picture looked just too wonderful to resist. And after all, tweaking the recipe was tempting. Since I had exhausted my almond inventory when baking all these Easter Lamb Cakes and my Kirsch inventory when baking my European-style Carrot Cake, I decided to go with hazelnuts (skins on), raspberry Brandy and some pure vanilla sugar.

Since I seem to own and uncountable number of tart pans in all sorts of differents shapes and sizes, I decided to use little tart pans with removeable bottoms (4 inches/10 centimeters) as opposed to muffin tins.

This is my version of Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Baby Cakes
(Hazelnut Baby Cakes)

3 eggs, L ( use organic or free range whenever possible), at room temperature
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 package pure vanilla sugar (contains ground vanilla bean)
1 pinch of fine sea salt
5 ounces (150 g) ground hazelnuts, not too finely ground
5 tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp raspberry Brandy (Himbeergeist)

12 tart pans with removeable bottoms (4 inches/10 centimeters), buttered and lined with unbleached parchment paper rounds, then buttered again and floured ( better safe here than sorry later)

(preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius)

1. In your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is thick and pale yellow.

2. Add the vanilla sugar and the salt and whisk again briefly.

3. To the egg mixture, add the ground hazelnuts and whisk some more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4. Switch to a spatula and knead  the butter until it gets to be very soft.

5.  Then add the butter to the batter, a small piece at a time until all the butter is used up and beat until blended.

6. Turn the mixer speed to low, add the raspberry Brandy and beat some more.

7. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the twelve tart pans.

8. Place the tart pans on a baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven.

9. Bake the Baby Cakes for about 25 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

10. Cool for a few minutes, turn the cakes out and cool completely.


Serve plain or with raspberries ( harmonizing with the raspberry Brandy) and/ or some softly whipped cream.

I should mention that while baking, the smell of these Baby Cakes was absolutely terrific. And I had no trouble turning them out of the tart pans, that parchment paper sure helped. And the taste was wonderful, everyone loved them plain as well as with berries and cream. Wonderful recipe!


  1. Looks delicious, i would have loved a piece :)

    1. Nicolas, those little cakes sure were a pretty and wonderful tasting dessert. Right now, I am just looking for another excuse to make them again as soon as possible. Will definetely make them next time your are visiting.

  2. Great post, Andrea. I made the almond version, not playing around. Didn't you love the texture of Dorie's cakes? I'm going try them with hazelnuts or pecans next.

  3. Thank you for your kind comment, Betsy. I enjoyed the hazelnut version very much, texture and all, but next time, I will use ground almonds. I am sure that the Baby Cakes will turn out just as delicious, but different in taste. Did you put together a blog post with your version. If so, let me know, please, I would love to read it. Have a nice weekend.