Mini Orange-Almond Bundlettes
For the cakes:
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 tsp. baking powder
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 1⁄4 cup almond paste
- 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 12 Tbs. (1 1⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1⁄2 tsp. orange oil
For the Grand Marnier glaze:
- 3 Tbs. Grand Marnier
- 2 tsp. water
- 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Generously grease and flour a 6-well bundtlette pan.
To make the cakes, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt three times. Set aside.
In a food processor, combine the almond paste and sugar and pulse until finely ground with no large lumps. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater. Add the butter 1 Tbs. at a time and beat on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the almond extract and orange oil and beat until incorporated.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, stopping the mixture occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the batter is smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Gently tap the pan on a countertop to release any air bubbles in the batter.
Bake until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted near the center of a cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes (do not overbake). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cakes cool upright in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently tap the pan on a work surface to loosen the cakes. Set the rack over a sheet of aluminum foil or waxed paper and carefully invert the cakes onto the rack.
To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the Grand Marnier, water, granulated sugar and butter and heat until the butter melts, about 1 1⁄2 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute. Brush the warm cakes with the glaze. Let the cakes cool completely before serving. Just before serving, dust the cakes lightly with confectioners' sugar. Makes 6 mini-cakes.
Flo Braker, Author, Sweet Miniatures (Chronicle Books, 2000).