Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mini Lemon Cakes with Basil Syrup

Mini Lemon Cakes with Basil Lemon Syrup

As we are deep into what I like to call the dessert months, I am excited to share new recipes with you. And as always, I am busy converting recipes from delicious originals into fantastic healthier versions.

Why eat unhealthy desserts when healthier versions taste even more fantastic, and are healthier for you?

Today’s recipe is a favorite of my friend and local celebrity, Chef Bryan Woolley. I converted his recipe with him on Chef’s Stage at the Utah Home and Garden Show a couple of seasons ago! I really have a great time cooking with Bryan, and he really enjoyed the taste of a healthier version of one of his signature recipes.

And when someone tells you that desserts cannot be made with olive oil, or whole grains, you just make this little yummy for them, and KNOCK THEIR SOCKS OFF!!!

Mini Lemon Cakes with Lemon Basil Syrup

Cake Ingredients:

1/3 cup pure or Meyer Lemon extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour. plus additional for dusting

2/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature for 30 minutes

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp lemon zest

Syrup Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

1 strip fresh lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

8 large fresh basil sprigs

Preparation:

1. Put oven rack in middle position in a preheated 350°F oven. Generously brush 8 muffin cups with olive oil. Dust cups with cake flour, knocking out excess. Spray entire pan with olive oil cooking spray.

2. Beat together olive oil, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, and then add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until well blended. Beat in lemon juice and 2 teaspoons zest until combined. Add flour and mix at low speed until just combined.

3. In a separate mixer bowl, beat egg whites with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they hold soft peaks. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, beating, and then beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir 1/4 of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, and then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Adding 1/4 of the egg whites will lighten the batter just a bit.

4. Spoon batter into 8 prepared muffin cups. Blend remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon zest with your fingertips and sprinkle over batter, then bake until cakes are puffed, edges are golden, and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then lift out cakes carefully (tops will break easily) and cool completely on rack.

Make sure to oil and flour the pan really well, these babies stick like no other.

To make syrup:

5. Bring all syrup ingredients to a boil, covered, in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove lid and boil 10 minutes. Pour syrup through a sieve or very fine strainer, into a bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Cool to room temperature.

For dessert assembly

6. Drizzle about a tablespoon of the syrup on a plate. Place mini cake in the center. Dust with Powder sugar, a dollop of light vanilla bean ice cream (optional), and a sprig of fresh basil.

Just another tip when photographing your masterpiece, make sure your nice camera is charged, so that you do not have to use your cheapo!!!

For other recipes using olive oil instead of unhealthy fat, check out my cookbook, Olive Oil Desserts at Fine Booksellers everywhere

or visit www.oliveoildesserts.com to learn more!!!