These moist small cakes, suffused with nutty brown butter and bright orange zest, come from chef Kir Jensen at The Sugar Cube in Portland, Oregon.
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, plus more for pans
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour, plus more for pans
- 1⁄2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
- 1 1⁄4 cups blanched almonds, toasted
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 egg whites, at room temperature
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3⁄4 cup heavy cream
Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan; set aside. Heat butter and vanilla bean with seeds in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook, swirling pan, until butter begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and discard vanilla bean. Whisk butter briefly and then pour into a measuring cup until you have 1¼ cups; reserve any remaining for another use.
Combine flour and almonds in a food processor, and process until almonds are finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add confectioners' sugar and salt; whisk to combine. Add reserved browned butter, egg whites, and zest, and whisk until just combined. Pour about ¼ cup batter into each muffin cup, and bake until golden brown and lightly caramelized at the edges, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
Place chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and then pour over chocolate; let sit for 1 minute. Using a small rubber spatula, slowly stir from the center until chocolate is smooth. Dip the tops of each cake in the chocolate and then invert onto a wire rack or baking sheet. Let chocolate set before serving.