Small is the new Big: SHF#24

I don’t know about you, but when I am given a huge dessert, I always end up leaving a good chunk of it on the plate, regardless of how tasty it was. However, presented with an unlimited supply of bite sized treats, I’ll eat and eat and eat, happily popping each little morsel. The same feeling of satiety just doesn’t seem to click in my brain. I’m sure I can eat twice the quantity of any food item if it’s presented in tiny bite sized wafer-thin pieces.

Which brings me to my entry for this month’s Sugar High Friday hosted by Cooksister, and her delightful theme of Petits Fours. To begin with, I knew I’d be doing something with citrus zest. I recently came by six gorgeous Buddha’s Hand citron that were leftovers from a photo shoot, and was fascinated to figure out what to do with them. Buddha’s Hands are like the forbidden love child of a lemon and a Chihuly glass sculpture. It’s really bizarre that nature came up with this fruit, but it’s a handy thing to have a round if you want some citrus zest. They are all zest, all of the time. No juice, just peel. Their little fingery shapes give far more surface area than any other citrus fruit, and they are incredibly fragrant as a result.

So, flipping through various recipes, Donna Hay’s Sour Lemon Cake recipe in New Entertaining caught my eye. Crumbly but beautifully moist, I could almost taste the tartness. Of course, the recipe was meant for a full size cake, but that just means a few minor changes in cooking time. I also considered adding a lemony frosting, to make it more of a true petits four… instead, I decided to keep it simple and serve them up with tiny spoonfuls of my plum sauce. Mmm. Truly, little bites of lemony delight. Now, I must be full… but I just can’t seem to resist… just one more! They are so tiny!

Lemon Cake Petits Fours
(Adapted from Donna Hay Entertaining Sour Lemon Cake, p 62)
Makes about 12 little cakes

Required Equipment: A mini muffin tin or Silicone Mini Muffin Mold

2oz butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 T citron or lemon zest, finely grated
1 egg, beaten lightly
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
powdered sugar for garnish if desired

Preheat oven to 350F

Beat the butter, sugar and citrus zest until creamy. Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder into the bowl, and gently fold in. Then, fold in the yogurt and lemon juice. Spoon into a non-stick mini muffin tin, not quite to the tops of the cups.

Bake for 25 minutes. Check the middle muffin with a toothpick… when inserted, it should come out clean. If they aren’t done, continue to bake, checking every 5 to 10 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Let cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, and then gently remove and cool on a tray. serve as little muffins, or trim any edges from the tops and serve bottom side up as little cakes.

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  • Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

    Oh, these look fabulous, once more. So funny I see this fruit on your blog. I am literally JUST back from the store and had one in my hand wondering whether I should get it. Had I known…..

  • johanna

    i’ve certainly never seen anything like it around here – loks absolutely marvellous! your photography is stunning, btw, very impressed!

  • Anita

    I love the last photo. You always get such beautiful light in your pictures, I need to move to Seattle! I love the Buddha’s Hand as well – who can resist a name and shape like that?

  • Faith

    So pretty and delicate! And plum sauce! *swoon*

  • Robyn

    Those are so adorable and gorgeous! Great photos too!

  • sam gur

    The pictures are “appeteasing”!

  • Jeanne

    Oh wow Lara – these are AMAZING! And I’ve never seen a Buddha’s hand, but now I *want* one 😉 Your photos are absolutely gorgeous too. Thanks so much for your contribution :-)

  • peabody

    So beautiful…I’m with you, I can eat all the small desserts I want but if it is huge it gets left behind.

  • Brilynn

    I love your presentation!

  • Helen

    I really like this recipe. The pictures are really mouth watering. Great entry!

  • jenjen

    Ohhh…. I must make these now, I think I may have the recipe but never had the urge of making them. Your photos are changing my mind though.

  • ilingc

    oh how cute! i’ve never thought of turning the cakes upside down before (duhh!). Love your photo too.

  • L

    Bea – Thanks! The buddha’s hands are such a weird fruit, but they are really great for citrus zest… there’s just so much zest on each one. Plus they smell heavenly.

    Johanna – Thanks! I had never seen one until I stumbled upon the Ripe To You ( website earlier in the year. They have all kinds of cool and unusual citrus. (they are the company I was shooting for).

    Thanks Anita!

    Faith – Thank you! Yes, I’ve ended up with so many little jars of fruit sauces this year from all the various market baskets and farmer’s market trips. Too much to use in a week means it got turned into sauce.

    Robyn – Thanks

    Sam -:-) Thanks!

    Thank you Jeanne for hosting such a fun event!

    Peabody – the mind is a funny thing, eh?

    Thanks Brilynn!

    Thank you Helen!

    Jenjen – so many recipes, it is always hard to make time for them… but this is particularly nice.

    ilingc – Thanks!

  • Yvonne

    Beautiful work, Lara!

  • Marcus

    Having done a wrap-up of Foodie New York this week, nothing quite captures what eating in the Big Apple is like as much as their gianormous restaurant portions do.

    More petit fours like yours are definitely called for. More petit everything, actually.

  • Christine

    Oh this is right up my alley! I am about to try making my first French Yogurt Cake. This is next! :) Your pictures are amazing!