Lemon and almond teacakes from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook are VERY lemony and VERY almondy. Not so much teacakes though – more about it below.
Ottolenghi’s teacakes are not teacakes
Very similar in taste and texture to Spanish tarta de Santiago, these lemon and almond cakes are made following Ottolenghi’s recipe from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.
He calls them teacakes, but just like the other variety that features in the cookbook, they are far from what we usually think of as English teacakes. Yotam explains they are perfect served with tea, but then what cakes aren’t? Perhaps only coffee cakes, hehe.
Can we have a word for ‘little cakes’?
It is a point where the English language is found wanting. There is no concept of ‘little cakes’ in it, unlike in French (petit gateau), German (Gebäck or Törtchen) or Polish (ciastko).
We have pastries, cupcakes, muffins, biscuits, eclairs and many more but they all refer to a specific type of bake rather a generic word for a small sized cake. My linguistic passion is raring to provide: cakelets perhaps? Or cakets? We could make it sound vaguely Italian like cakinis or French, with cakettes.
But before one of my suggestions takes off, these things here have to be boringly and inadequately – or patently misleadingly – named ‘teacakes’. ‘Yotam’s teacakes’.
The recipe for this cake batter is not difficult but it’s one of those annoying ones that tell you to beat the butter with sugar till pale and fluffy and then add eggs, which obliterates all the paleness and fluffiness of the mix.
It curdles to hell, and only adding some flour rescues it from the brink of scrambled eggs gone very badly wrong.
The curdle factor is to be ignored though as it smoothes out fine once the flour is in.
I have purchased some mini Bundt tins specially for this recipe and I’m happy about it – they look so lovely with the twirls and nooks and crannies, I’m going to now use them all the time.
Equally good for this purpose are mini ring or savarin cases. As a last resort option use the boring and plain cupcake or muffin tin.
The size of the cases isn’t so very relevant because the batter doesn’t rise much at all so you take out what you put in; and the cases, tins, molds, whatever can be filler almost to the brim.
They are perfect little cakes, albeit no-name. Tender and ‘wet’ in the nicest way, very rich and satisfying, so they don’t really need any icing or frosting but just to make them look even prettier, some simple icing can dribble down the sides.
Ottolenghi’s original is with blueberries: I wanted to make them in the pure form but by all means add a handful of berries if you wish.
Change the flavour of the citrus: use lime zest and juice, or orange.
A tablespoon of cocoa nibs can also be added – those things are adorable and, being unsweetened, cut through any potential sickliness.
More almond dessert recipes
Croquants are French almond cookies, super crunchy and super delicious.
Earlier mentioned tarta de Santiago, one of the most popular Spanish desserts, has traditionally the cross of St James stencilled in icing powder.
They also love almond cakes in Sweden: toscakaka, Swedish almond cake is a quick and easy dessert.
More lemon cake recipes
Seriously lemony, with a crunch from poppy seeds and an interesting texture from oats, lemon and poppy seed cake recipe is definitely in my top 10 lemon cakes.
Lemon butter cake, baked in a Bundt tin so it looks pretty, has a magic ingredient: condensed milk.
Lemon and pistachio bars on shortcrust base are firmly in the one-is-never-enough category.