In one of our first CSA boxes this season there was a container of New Jersey strawberries. I let my daughter keep them, however, if I had Melissa Clark’s recipe for Strawberry Almond Cakes at the time, I would have kept my share. A few weeks ago, in her “A Good Appetite” column, Ms. Clark presented her recipe for a take on financiers that had roasted strawberries. I recently made financiers and I adored them as they reminded me of almond croissants. The recipe, Strawberry Almond Cakes, is made with fresh strawberries, granulated sugar, unsalted butter, confectioner’s sugar, almond flour, all-purpose flour, fine sea salt or table salt, egg whites and vanilla extract.
The difference between Ms. Clark’s recipe and the financier’s recipe that I made from America’s Test Kitchen, is the use of confectioner’s sugar versus granulated sugar and a small addition of flour in the Strawberry Almond Cakes. Don’t let these subtle differences discourage you, Ms. Clark’s recipe produced a delicate crumb and roasting the berries helped to not only concentrate the flavor, but reduced their moisture.
The recipe makes 12 cakes in a standard muffin pan. I read other cook’s comments and took one’s advice to purchase a container of egg whites from my local food store as you need 5 large egg whites for this recipe. Fortunately, there is a bit of shelf life for the whites. I’m sure I’ll be making the strawberry cakes again before the expiration date. One cook used peaches, another was going to try raspberries and I might try New Jersey blueberries when they come into season. I could also look for local strawberries at Asbury Fresh Market on Sunday. For those who would like to pick their own, check out some local farms in New Jersey.
For the recipe you need about 1-1/2 cup of strawberries cut into 1/2-inch chunks. They’re tossed with a bit of granulated sugar, which brings out their juices; then roasted in a 400° oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until tender. While that’s happening, you need to brown the butter for the recipe, similar to financiers. Once the strawberries and butter has cooled you can proceed to make the batter which has sugar, almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt, egg whites and vanilla. You’ll need to drain the strawberries of their juice by blotting on a paper towel, as I did, or a clean cloth. The strawberries are folded into the batter and scooped into the muffin pan that has been buttered and dusted with a bit of granulated sugar. I suggest going with sanding sugar or Wilton Sparkling sugar if you desire a coarse exterior. Depending on your oven, you want to make sure the cake tops are golden brown and spring back when you lightly press them. This can take from 15-25 minutes.
Make sure to thoroughly cool the cakes before removing from the pan as they are quite delicate. I used a fork and small cake server to lift from the pan. My, my these were sublime! Light, delicate, sweet, but not cloyingly and a subtle strawberry flavor. You can eat with a fork, or by hand in two to three bites. This is a heavenly dessert.
Strawberry Almond Cakes
“3 Smart Techniques for Better (and Beautiful) Strawberry Desserts,”
Melissa Clark, The New York Times, “A Good Appetite” column
May 24, 2023
“These tender, strawberry-filled almond cakes are a riff on financiers, diminutive French pastries made from almond flour and browned butter. To get the most intensity from the berries, they are briefly roasted before being mixed into the batter. Roasting condenses the berries’ flavor and helps keep them from leaking juices into the cakes, which can make their light crumb heavy and a bit damp. Serve these cakes by themselves as a simple dessert or teatime snack, or with a scoop of strawberry ice cream or sorbet for something richer and fancier. Although they’re at their crisp-edged best served on the day they’re baked, they’ll keep for a day or two stored airtight at room temperature.”
Yield: 12 Cakes
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
7 ounces/200 grams fresh strawberries, cut into ½-inch chunks (about 1½ cups)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
¾ cup/170 grams unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
2 cups/230 grams confectioners’ sugar
1 cup/100 grams almond flour
¾ cup/90 grams all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon fine sea or table salt
5 large egg whites*
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.