Limoncello is an Italian liqueur tradionally served as an after-dinner libation. Here the limoncello gives mini upside down cakes a sweet and moist texture.
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup plus 6 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
12 thin lemon slices (from about 1 1/2 lemons), seeded
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup limoncello (lemon liqueur)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray ramekins with cooking spray. Cut 12 parchment paper circles to fit ramekins; set 1 in each.
Bring brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup water to a simmer in a large frying pan and cook until reduced slightly and sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and submerge lemon slices in syrup. Let sit, turning occasionally, until rind and pith have begun to turn translucent, 20 to 30 minutes.
Beat oil, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, salt, eggs, remaining sugar, and limoncello in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed until well blended.
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Gradually add to wet mixture and beat on medium speed until just blended. Stir in pine nuts.
Pour 1 tbsp. syrup from lemon slices into each ramekin. Using tongs, remove lemon slices from syrup and put one in each ramekin; reserve remaining syrup. Evenly divide batter among ramekins and set on a rimmed baking pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack 10 minutes, then run a small, thin knife or spatula between cakes and ramekin edges and invert cakes onto plates or a platter. Remove parchment from cakes and brush with more syrup if you like.
These cakes were excellent! I made them for an Italian-themed Christmas Eve dinner & they were a big hit. The individual cakes make for a great presentation. One caution...portion the batter conservatively between the ramekins. I ended up with just 11 cakes because I ran out of batter before I got to the 12th...
These are sweet (but not too sweet), moist and lemony! These were quite impressive. I made all four varieties of mini-cakes featured in Sunset Magazine and packaged them in tins for presentation to my clients. They loved them!