St Germain is an elderflower liqueur that is a delicious cocktail ingredient. You might not be familiar with the liqueur, but you’ve probably seen its art deco-styled bottle featured prominently behind the bar at local restaurants and tasted it in cocktails, as it can be both a star ingredient and a more subtle component of some excellent beverages. Like many liqueurs, St Germain can also be used in baked goods, where it brings its unique elderflower flavor to dessert instead of to happy hour.
These little tea cakes are a delicious way to enjoy St Germain. They’re made with ground almonds and are infused with a touch of the liqueur, which adds a subtle complexity to the cake. Baked in muffin tins, the cakes develop a little bit of caramelization on their sides during baking, but their interiors are tender and have a wonderfully soft, even crumb. The texture is largely due to the almond meal in the batter, which also brings a nuttiness into the cakes that goes well with the liqueur. I finished these off with a glaze that also features St Germain, since only a small amount is used in the cake itself, and it helps to draw attention to the elderflower flavor in the cake. They’re absolutely addictive and incredibly easily to make, considering how sophisticated their flavors are.
The tea cakes are denser than most cupcakes and I felt that a buttercream frosting would be too rich for them, which is why I opted to make a glaze for this recipe. I prepared the glaze in a small, deep bowl and dipped the tops of the cakes right into it, giving them a smooth, even finish. I left mine ungarnished, but you could add a small edible flower or a few sprinkles to the tops of the cakes to dress them up.
Though these are called tea cakes, you don’t need to serve them with tea. In fact, they are outstanding when paired with a cocktail that also features St Germain and make a lovely dessert. They’re also a nice option for brunch, if you’re looking for an alternative to coffee cakes and muffins. The cakes are excellent on the day that they are baked, but they can also be baked a day in advance and stored in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve them.
Elderflower and Almond Tea Cakes
3/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsp St Germain elderflower liqueur
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in eggs and St Germain. Whisk until all ingredients are well-combined. Add in melted butter and whisk until completely incorporated.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes, if necessary, and turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
When cooled, dip the tops of the cakes in glaze.
1 – 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp St Germain liqueur
1 tbsp cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, St Germain, cream and vanilla extract until very smooth. Gradually whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar until glaze is thick enough to make an even coating on top of the cakes.