Gluten-free sweets lovers rejoice! These Mini Almond Cakes with Chocolate Ganache are perfect in so many ways. The cake is light, tender, and spongey with just a hit of almond flavor while the chocolate ganache is rich and creamy. Plus, these cakes are barely palm-sized, so they’re easy to share, which is a good thing because these cakes are best eaten warm or within eight hours of baking.
A few things to know before you bake these:
- Allow enough time to chill your ganache (30-60 minutes in addition to prep and baking time)
- Finely chop your chocolate so that it will melt smoothly into the heated cream
- Don’t overdo it on adding almond extract as the flavor can be quite strong
- It really cuts down on prep time to use both a food processor and a mixer
- Whipping egg whites is the key to the spongey, light cake texture so make sure to follow through on this
- Don’t overbake the cakes on the first round of baking as it will be more difficult to insert the chocolate ganache balls for the second round of baking
Mini Almond Cakes with Chocolate Ganache (Gluten-Free)
Makes 12 cupcakes
(from New York Times Cooking)
⅓ cup (80 milliliters) heavy cream
3 ounces (85 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons (85 grams) melted unsalted butter, cooled, plus more for muffin tin
¾ cup (85 grams) almond flour or meal
¾ cup (94 grams) confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
Few drops almond extract (optional)
3 tablespoons (24 grams) cornstarch
1 ¼ teaspoons (4 grams) baking powder
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- Put the cream in a glass measuring cup (a 1-cup size works well), and heat it in the microwave (approximately 45-60 seconds) until it’s bubbling (or you can heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan).
- Add the chocolate to the heated cream, and let it sit for 1 minute. Then stir the chocolate and cream together until smooth.
- Transfer the chocolate ganache to a small container (preferably metal) and freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Scoop the chocolate ganache (a small cookie scoop works well for this), and roll into twelve 3/4-inch balls. Since the ganache is very soft and can be messy to handle, you don’t need to create perfectly round balls. Place the ganache balls in the refrigerator until needed. Ganache balls can be prepared up to 1 week ahead.
- Heat the oven to 350F.
- Butter a muffin tin or line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Using a food processor or blender, mix the almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until powdery, about 30 seconds.
- Add the two eggs and almond extract, and process until smooth, 30 seconds longer.
- Pulse in the butter, cornstarch, and baking powder.
- Scrape the mixture into a large bowl, and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the two egg whites until very foamy.
- Gradually add granulated sugar while beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Using a spatula, gently and carefully fold a third of the egg whites into the almond mixture to lighten it. Then, fold in the rest of the egg whites just until no streaks remain.
- Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tin, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Remove the ganache balls from refrigerator, and place one ball in the center of each cake, pushing it down halfway into batter.
- Return the cakes to the oven, and bake until light brown and a toothpick inserted into cake (and not the chocolate) comes out clean, another 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably within 8 hours of baking.