Let me start out by saying that I am completely obsessed with these cakes. They may be mini, but they certainly pack in a punch or two (or three…) of flavor in a light and fluffy cake. My sister-in-law sent me this recipe via a fellow food blogger, The Pioneer Woman Cooks (btw, I am insanely jealous of the Pioneer Woman’s kitchen…and camera). Ever since I read this recipe a few weeks ago, I have been dying to try these out in my own kitchen. The idea intrigued me. Using olive oil in a cake batter? An herb in a cake? Is this one of those “so weird it’ll all somehow work amazingly well together” recipes? I answer with a resounding YES.
Beautiful and oh so fragrant fresh thyme:
The ingredients lined up and ready to go:
The thyme thrown into the dry ingredients looks like sparse green plants buried in a snowstorm:)
I think I overfilled the muffin pan with too much batter…
Yep. Look at all the extra cake around the edges:
But not to worry. With a bread knife in hand, I sliced off the bottoms (or tops?) of each cake:
Glazed and garnished:
Up close and personal:
The dishfulthinker’s tips:
- I need to brush up on my knife skills. Chopping up already tiny pieces of thyme is time consuming and those little suckers get stuck all over your hands. I just pulled them off the stems and threw them into the mix.
- A mini bundt cake pan isn’t necessary (unless you really want that shape, then by all means knock yourself out). I just used a standard muffin pan and flipped them upside down (and sliced off the excess cake to get a flat bottom).
- I had to use about a tablespoon more of lemon juice in the glaze to fully thin it out.
- An added bonus to this recipe is that you likely have most of these ingredients already on hand. All I needed to pick up was a few lemons and the thyme (oh yeah, and a small bottle of whole milk. I’ve never been able to drink this stuff, so I didn’t have this in my fridge).
For the Cakes:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
For the Glaze:
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Prepare the cakes: Brush a 6- or 12-cup mini Bundt or muffin pan with the melted butter. Lightly dust with flour and shake out the excess.
Pulse the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a blender until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then gradually pour in the olive oil and milk, pulsing until emulsified into a thin batter, about 30 seconds. Don’t overblend or the cakes will be too puffy.
Whisk 1 cup flour, the baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon thyme in a small bowl. Add to the blender in 2 batches, pulsing lightly until just combined; stop to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cakes just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back when lightly touched, 28 to 30 minutes for a 6-cup Bundt pan and 22 to 25 minutes for a 12-cup Bundt or muffin pan. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides with a small knife and invert the cakes onto a rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth, adding more lemon juice if the mixture is too thick. Drizzle over the warm cakes and garnish with thyme sprigs.