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Pineapple Tea Cakes

March 5, 2011

Spring has sprung! Well, in my kitchen at least–and in some parts of my yard.  I found a small patch of daffodils blooming outside, Mother Nature’s promise that warmer, more colorful days are ahead of us.

I certainly don’t mind the rainy season and I enjoyed last week’s playtime in the snow.  However, I’m a summer girl at heart; the sun has a way of brightening dark spirits–not just my own but of those around me.  The fragrant sunshine-y flowers reminded me of a recipe I bookmarked sometime ago that I just knew I would love.

These tea cakes are from François Payard, of Payard Patisserie and Bistro (replaced by François Payard Bakery).  I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting any of his stores but I appreciate what I’ve read about his philosophy about pastry.  For Mr. Payard, flavor is the key to a great dessert, the goal of making confections look sensational only secondary.  I daresay he has accomplished both and I’m a fan of his focus on translating his recipes in a way that an untrained home cook like me can easily understand.

Case in point: These pineapple tea cakes couldn’t have been easier to make and the results were nothing short of beautiful in both appearance and flavor.  The key ingredients are almond and pineapple.  I’ve never put them together but what a great combination.  The almond paste creates a fragrant cake that is nicely dense, nutty, chewy–leading the way for the bright, spring-like freshness of the pineapple.  The original recipe makes 100 petit fours but I reduced the recipe by a third and I regret it.  I only had one tube of almond paste and didn’t have any piping equipment so I adjusted the recipe accordingly.  Almonds are always in abundance in my kitchen and I should have made my own almond paste.  It’s not only cheaper to make it yourself but it’s also very easy.  My homemade version is here.  I will also add that it’s not necessary to pipe the batter into mini cups.  I spooned it onto a few silicon cups and poured the rest into my 4-inch mini tart pans.  A few minutes of extra baking time yielded equally good results.  Next time I won’t cut the recipe short.  These cakes are meant to be enjoyed in large quantities.

Bite into Spring with these lovely little cakes!

Pineapple Tea Cakes

from François Payard’s Simply Sensational Desserts

Note: I’ll give you the original portions here and my reduced version in italics. The original recipe will make 100 mini cakes and my version was enough for two 4-inch tarts, 8 mini cakes and one regular cupcake.

  • 1 pound, 10 ounces (750 grams) almond paste (I used one tube of almond paste which is about 198 grams.  You can make it yourself using my recipe, link above.)
  • 2 tablespoons (35 grams) apricot preserves (I used 3 heaping teaspoons)
  • 5 large eggs (I used 2 large eggs)
  • 3 large egg yolks (I used one)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (81 grams) all-purpose flour (I used 1/4 cup)
  • 14 tablespoons (200 grams) melted butter (I used about one fourth of this, 55 grams)
  • Fresh pineapple chunks, cut into 1/4-inch cubes.
  • Confectioner’s sugar to top cakes

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.  If you’re opt to make 100 petit fours, arrange your 1-inch cups on a large baking sheet.  If you’re using mini tart pans, butter the inside of the tart pans (with a removable bottom) and set aside.

Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the almond paste and the apricot preserve at medium speed until the mixture is smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next.  Do the same when adding the egg yolks.  Add the flour next, making sure your mixer is set on low speed.  Lastly, add the melted butter and mix until well blended.

You can use a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip to fill the cups with batter but I used a teaspoon and tapped the batter into the silicone molds with no problems.  Alternatively, you can use 4-inch tart pans to bake the cakes.  Just fill whichever baking vessel you use 3/4 of the way up.

Place a cube of pineapple on top of each cup.  I added more in both the little cups and the tart pans.  Sift confectioner’s sugar over the batter.

Bake the cakes.  The mini cups will take 25-28 minutes while the mini tarts will take 8-10 minutes longer.  Bake until light golden brown and let cool on the baking sheet or on a wire rack.  The cakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2011 2:04 PM

    Beautifully done! They look delicious.

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  2. March 5, 2011 2:08 PM

    so very bright and cheerful, it’s so gloomy here today so these pics made me smile. they look perfect to have with afternoon tea. 🙂

  3. March 5, 2011 2:10 PM

    oh and ps-were these the result of your kitchen mess that you tweeted? 😉

    • March 5, 2011 2:13 PM

      Thanks, Nadia! And yes, these were the reason for all the mess. Well worth it, though. Have a great weekend. 🙂

  4. March 5, 2011 2:22 PM

    What gorgeous rays of sunshine and the daffodils – my favourite! Was lured in with “Tea Cakes” which somehow just give me a feeling of contentment… they look beautiful with the icing sugar, golden pineapple and almonds. Thanks for bringing spring: winter is just getting so long here!

  5. March 5, 2011 2:33 PM

    Those are so lovely! Such a great little cake to have at a get together with your girls…they look so yummy and pretty too!

  6. March 5, 2011 4:11 PM

    What beautiful little tea cakes ! I absolutely love that Spring is around the corner, even though it may not quite feel like it yet. Our cherry tree in the front has the pretty little pink flowers that have budded and I know it is only a short period of time that we can enjoy that pale pink flower. Oh how I wish I had a little tea cake right now with a cup of jasmine tea! Nicely done!

  7. March 5, 2011 6:37 PM


  8. March 5, 2011 7:25 PM

    your tea cakes look so beautiful and those daffodils, can’t wait for mine to bloom also. thanks for sharing Jean, hope you’ll have a wonderful Sunday

  9. March 5, 2011 7:38 PM

    Aww, they’re so pretty! I LOVE pineapple and almonds. I’d never have thought to put them together, either. I’m glad to hear that this was an easy recipe to make because I want to try it out! ARCHIVE 🙂

  10. March 5, 2011 8:58 PM

    Hmmm – this looks like the perfect treat to welcome the new season. Wish I had a couple to nibble on right now.

  11. March 5, 2011 9:03 PM

    Spring has sprung! And I love that these tea cakes look just like the daffodils you recently discovered in bloom! YAH spring! Yah yummy sweet pineapple pastries!

  12. March 6, 2011 7:18 AM

    Beautiful and sound so delicious! I bet they taste like that time of the year between spring and summer 🙂

  13. March 6, 2011 9:13 AM

    Oh my, your photos have me yearning for spring and tea cakes! Gorgeous!

  14. March 6, 2011 9:31 AM

    Looks so good and beautiful… I too am excited for Spring. Thanks for sharing!

  15. March 6, 2011 9:45 AM

    You are so lucky to have daffodils blossoming already…I’m just seeing a peek of green coming up through the mulch. The tea cakes look fabulous…what little treasures 🙂

  16. March 6, 2011 9:55 AM

    These are so pretty! They’re perfect for me, too- I’ve got a ton of pineapple in the fridge right now!

  17. March 6, 2011 10:13 AM

    I Love the taste of almonds and the taste of pineapple in a cake and never thought of combining the two! This is brilliant and it looks so dainty and elegant! A keeper.

  18. March 6, 2011 5:27 PM

    These are absolutely stunning. The lighting paid off:). Gorgeous and I wish I had one with tea right about now!!

  19. March 6, 2011 6:49 PM

    I am ready for spring and these pineapple tea cakes. Great post.

  20. March 6, 2011 8:17 PM

    Looks lovely, I could probably eat the whole lot of them. Perfect for the start of Spring. Imagine all the happy brides-to-be that could have this at their showers (those kind of showers I mind much less than the showers we are having today in SF).

  21. March 6, 2011 11:20 PM

    Your daffodils are so beautiful!!! I think Spring is definitely in the air. My mom gave me some cherry blossoms recently and I can’t wait for the weather to warm-up (it’s raining now). As for your tea cakes – – – also beautiful! Love the use of pineapple. I bet these were little bites of heaven. For me, the downfall of making little treats is that I’ll easily eat the whole lot of them. 😛 Have a great week!

  22. March 7, 2011 8:54 AM

    I think I could see myself making and eating the 100 mini cakes lol!
    These tea cakes look fantastic. I love pineapple in desserts and these little cakes really call for spring

  23. March 7, 2011 1:51 PM

    Flour and Sugar Embargo in my kitchen lifted! I just have to start running again. Thanks, Jean!

  24. March 7, 2011 8:24 PM

    Oh I love those mini bites, they are so much fun to eat and yours look so springy and irresistible!

  25. March 7, 2011 8:43 PM

    Beautiful! I love the idea of pineapple teacakes!

  26. March 7, 2011 9:31 PM

    François Payard is famous for his desserts, so this must be a fabulous recipe. I love the bright yellow fruit that peer out of the cake and the delicate lacy sprinkling of powdered sugar. These are stunning tea cakes!

  27. March 8, 2011 8:51 AM

    These look glorious! I’m ready for Spring, but darn it. It hasn’t come yet! Once it does, I should make these asap. 🙂

  28. Emma permalink
    March 8, 2011 9:55 AM

    What an intriguing recipe – I would never have thought to pair pineapple and almond, but I’m dieing to try it now!

  29. gingerbreadbagels permalink
    March 8, 2011 3:32 PM

    What beautiful tea cakes! Your photos are just gorgeous. I love pineapple and I love almond paste so I’m going to have to try this combination. It sounds amazing. 🙂

  30. March 8, 2011 8:07 PM

    That looks wonderful. I am loving this recipe.

  31. March 10, 2011 12:58 PM

    I feel Spring has sprung looking at these along with my taste buds. Like these ALOT 🙂

  32. March 10, 2011 1:16 PM

    The moment I first spotted a daffodil the other day, my heart jumped – it’s such a lovely sign of spring’s arrival! These tea cakes sound SO good! I can just imagine what the combination of pineapple and almond tastes like!

  33. March 11, 2011 11:55 AM

    I have 3 flowering in my porch all in bloom with shimmering yellow and vibrant purple colors… and it makes me smile everytime…. just as much as seeing these pineapple tea cakes… they are so dainty, it felt my face light up and smiled…
    happy spring!

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