From gorgeous book Naked Cakes by Hannah Miles, this recipe for flower garden timbale cakes will make the last days of summer truly sweet.
Hannah says, “These little cakes are very simple, just flavoured with vanilla and dusted with sugar. They do, however, look so elegant stacked on cake stands and topped with fresh edible flowers, and would make a perfect wedding cake. You can scale the quantities up or down depending on how many cakes you need to make and can also flavor the batter with a little citrus zest or rose water in place of the vanilla, if you wish. If you do not have 24 dariole moulds, you can bake the batter in batches, washing and regreasing the moulds between each batch.”
FOR THE BATTER
- 340g butter, softened
- 340g caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 340g self-raising flour, sifted
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk or sour cream
- FOR THE ICING:
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Edible flowers or crystallized petals, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
- Use an electric whisk to mix the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the eggs and whisk again. Fold in the flour, baking powder and buttermilk or sour cream using a spatula, until incorporated.
- Fold the vanilla into the cake batter. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag and pipe the batter into the cake moulds. If you prefer, you can do this using small spoons instead, although I find that it is easier and neater if you use a piping bag.
- Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 20–30 minutes, until they are golden brown and spring back to the touch. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the moulds, then slide a knife around the edge of each mould and turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Dust the top and sides of each cake liberally with icing sugar and top with a fresh, edible flower. Whole flowers are best removed before eating, as the stalks can have a bitter taste, so they are really for decorative purposes only. Alternatively, use crystallized edible petals instead. Never eat floral decorations unless you are certain it is safe to do so.
These cakes will keep for up to 2 days stored in an airtight container.