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Lemon Verbena and Strawberry Mini Cakes
Makes around 18 mini cakes
For the cake batter:
250g raw caster sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried leaves) 250g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
zest of one lemon
a pinch of salt
260g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
115 ml thickened cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the icing:
200g pure icing sugar
2 teaspoons freeze dried strawberry powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried beetroot powder
Juice of 1 lemon
extra water if required
Extra fresh lemon verbena leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
Extra butter or spray oil for the cake tins
Individual square cake trays or cupcake trays
-Have all the ingredients at room temperature
-Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C, fan forced
-Prepare a square individual cake tray or a muffin tray by greasing it with butter or spray oil.
For the batter:
Rinse and pat dry the verbena leaves.
Place them in a the small bowl of a food processor with 100g of the sugar and blitz together until the leaves are finely chopped.
(alternatively the leaves can be finely chopped by hand and added to the sugar with the butter)
Cream the butter, remaining sugar and verbena/sugar mix together in a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
Beat in the salt, vanilla and lemon zest.
Add the eggs one at a time making sure that they are completely blended into the butter before adding the next egg.
Sift together the flour, cornflour and the baking powder.
Add the flour bit by bit to the butter until just combined.
Mix the lemon juice into the cream.
Gently mix it into the cake batter until combined being careful not to overmix.
Spoon the batter almost to the top of each hole in the cake tray.
Bake for 20 minutes until just cooked and lightly browned. Check the cakes at 15 minutes to account for variations in your oven and tin size. If the cakes are browning too quickly without being cooked in the centre, turn it down another 5 degrees and keep checking.
Remove the cakes from the oven and cool them slightly in the tin before transferring them to a cake rack.
To prepare the icing:
Sift the icing sugar in a bowl and add the freeze dried strawberry powder.
Juice the lemon and add enough juice to make an icing about as thick as honey. If you need more liquid add water and if the icing is too runny add a little more sugar to adjust. What you’re after is a consistency thick enough to form a nice layer on the cakes, but runny enough to dribble a bit down the sides. Add beetroot powder for extra natural pink colour (how much is up to you).
Spread the icing over the top of each cake and allow it to spill over the edges.
Sprinkle with some chopped pistachio nuts before it starts to dry and poke in a verbena leaf.
Fresh strawberries on top also add a pretty touch !
Serve fresh, or store in an airtight container.
* Square brownie pan supplied by Bakemaster - details on bakemaster.com.au, or @bakemaster_au
A collaboration with Bakemaster.com.au
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