Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chamomile Mini Cakes with Honey Frosting for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook Off

This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook Off, hosted by Heather at Girlichef and sponsored by Hyperion, who provided participants with a complimentary copy of the book. 

Look at me - my second sweets post in as many weeks! Will wonders never cease? There is, of course, a perfectly good reason for my foray into the sweet side of life: For week two's recipe from the forthcoming  Joy the Baker Cookbook, our Cook Off hostess, Heather at Girlichef, chose these cute little chamomile mini cakes. Technically, I suppose you could call them cupcakes, but I'd rather think of them as elegant tea cakes. 

The chamomile - from tea bags - gives these cakes a very interesting flavor, a bit like eating a slightly sweet tea in solid form. The recipe doesn't make a ton of batter: Joy warns that there is no waste, and you'll be scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula in order make the full dozen, and she's not kidding. In other words, lick the spoon at your own risk. 

As for the honey frosting, to be honest, when I tasted it on its own I thought it was entirely too sweet and sugary, but once I had it on the cake, as intended, the sweetness was muted and the honey note accented by the almost grassy quality of the chamomile. They may be tea cakes, but I really enjoyed one of these with a cup of my morning coffee. 

The book doesn't come out until February 28, but here's the recipe to whet your appetite for more.  

Chamomile Mini Cakes with Honey Frosting
reprinted with permission from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the cakes:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons dried chamomile (from tea bags)
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon honey
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch of salt

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven, and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners and set aside. You can also grease and flour the cupcake pans and not use any liners. To make the cakes: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chamomile leaves. The mixture will be slightly coarse and sandy when mixed for several minutes. Whisk together milk, egg and vanilla. Pour half of the milk mixture into the flour mixture with the mixer on medium-low speed. Beat until just incorporated. Pour in the remaining milk mixture, and turn mixer up to medium. Beat for 1 minute, until well blended. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake cups. There isn't a lot of batter, so you'll only fill the liners up about halfway. You'll also need a spatula to scrape the bowl for remaining batter.This recipe doesn't waste a drop of cake batter. Bake cupcakes for 17 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and allow cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting: whisk together sifted powdered sugar, honey, cream, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth. Use a butter knife to generously spread the frosting a top the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with a bit of chamomile leaves and arrange on a pretty plate. Cakes will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can't get enough Joy? Heather has an interview with her, plus a chance to win the cookbook, over at Girlichef. Go check it out here and enter to win! 

This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef
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  1. These little cakes are like a breath of spring. I can just see them as part of one of those really elegant towers of sweets at a fancy afternoon tea party. Love the daisy!

    1. Just admiring your work and wondering how you managed this blog so well. It’s so remarkable that I can't afford to not go through this valuable information whenever I surf the internet! birthday cake delivery birmingham

  2. Interesting. I like the idea of the chamomile and honey together. Seems like a natural fit!

  3. just the ingredients make me want some I love them!

  4. I just love these - they are so feminine! Your photos are fantastic...I want to reach in and grab one :D

  5. ...and I could just lick the screen! But honestly it is so nice to see you come out of your comfort zone once again! And these are just marvelous! Think of the time one could save now that you can have a cake AND get your tea at the same time?

  6. I do like neat little recipes where batter is not wasted! Such lovely cupcakes to go with tea. :)

  7. Things like chamomile are entirely underutilized, if you ask me. I've had chamomile meringues and a fish with a butter sauce with chamomile and both were spectacular... with a delicate perfumed quality I thought was splendid. Good for you to make the cakes and another great way to sneak chamomile onto the plate and not just in the cup!

  8. I made these little cakes....They are delicious! Love your pictures!

  9. Oh chamomile, so intriguing indeed. I agree they are like tea cakes a bit. I wonder though if the sugar counteracts the relaxation of the tea lol. I have been drinking chamomile a lot lately for sleeping.

  10. As someone with a stressful day job, this looks like the perfect sweet for me!

  11. These little tea cakes look so pretty and feminine...perfect with a little tea or even coffee.

  12. These little cakes look delicious and I know I will eventually make them. I chose Whole Wheat Honey Drop Biscuits for week 2 and will have the post up later today. Love Joy's new book!

  13. Look at you baking!! I'm so proud of you and you are inspiring me to become more comfortable baking sweets. I love chamomile tea so these sound really good to me.

  14. This post was great. Totally agree with you on having them with morning coffee, and though the frosting is sweet (as I think of most powdered sugar frostings) the cakes are not overly sweet, so you are right it is a great compliment. Love 'lick spoon at your own risk'!

  15. There's a definite turn in the air this year, I fear you may be discovering that sweet tooth you never thought you had...LOL! I'm really intrigued with these chamomile-flavored cakes that I may just have to rip apart some tea-bags to find out. Your food-styling rocks as usual, <3 the 'chamomile' portrayal!

  16. I made the biscuits but now I really want to make these cute little cakes, too!

  17. these look fantastic! i am also loving how each person has chosen to "style" their cakes. your version is beautiful. i went with the drop biscuits...but thinking i need to put these cakes on my 'must try' list

  18. Lick the spoon at your own risk--love it! I made the biscuits, but I NEED to make these cakes. So pretty.

  19. I made these too...I love your photos!

  20. Your site is amazing! All of your recipes sound delicious. Glad we ran into each other at OPP.