Almond & Cardamom Cakes

Naps are getting a little erratic…could be the 8 month sleep regression. Hard to say since they’ve only been sleeping consistently for a few weeks. How is it a regression when they haven’t ever slept? So in any case I’m here in my kitchen, face unwashed, still in pajamas, but I’m putting every quiet minute I have into baking today.

Once again what I have on hand has influenced today’s recipe: Swedish Almond & Cardamom mini cakes. I love the flavor of cardamom, and have a huge bag of almond flour from Costco, so here we go. I don’t have the mini tins the writer used, so I’ll just be using a muffin tin lined with silicone wrappers.

Quick aside: do you find that a tool you love influences your baking? Or vice versa? I love muffins and cupcakes, but found I rarely made them because I had a special aversion to washing the tin afterward, and lining papers seemed so wasteful. So last Christmas I asked for some silicone liners and they’re my new favorite thing. Muffins have been a frequent thing around here since!

Alright, back to the task at hand. The recipe has you first make an almond paste, from almond flour (or meal), sugar, and milk. Then you mix the paste with butter, almond extract, and an egg. I’m not too sure about the math for how much almond paste you end up with…I don’t see how 200g almond flour, 100g sugar, 50g powdered sugar, and a few teaspoons of milk yields 200g of anything.

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In any case, when I measured out the 135g of paste for the cakes, I had tons left over, and it didn’t seem like enough batter to stretch for 6 cakes. But I figured, it’s the first time, do the recipe as written. So I went ahead, and divided what I had among 6 cupcake liners, and put them in the oven. For a moment, it looked like things would turn out okay, they were rising. Then the wheels came off. They fell, never really baked through, staying very wet.

I even tried it again, with the whole amount of almond paste. Similar results…never baked through. The ratios seemed totally off. So after two attempts I’ve ended up with small, greasy, fall apart things, and larger, over-baked hockey pucks.

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Things I learned:

  • Grams are fiddly! Had to add/remove a few times to end up with the right amount on the scale.
  • I’m not sure if there’s a difference between bitter almond extract and almond extract. Not the biggest issue at hand, really.
  • I had cardamom pods, so I cracked them open and ground the seeds in a mortar and pestle. I will only put in such work for cardamom…and probably not often.
  • There’s something amiss…whether it’s me or the recipe is still to be determined. Let me know if you can spot it!

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