Fennel baby cakes

These bite-sized cakes from are served with dollops of fennel seed frosting and make a quirky addition to your dessert repertoire.
fennel baby cakes
1H 30M


Fennel seed frosting


1.Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large oven tray with baking paper. Remove fronds from large fennel; reserve in the fridge. Discard stems. Cut fennel bulb into 1cm (½in) slices. Place slices in a single layer on lined tray; spray with oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until caramelised and tender. Cool.
2.Reduce oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 12-hole (1-cup/250ml) loose based cake pan. Line bases and sides with baking paper. Process roasted fennel until a coarse puree forms. Add eggs, sugar and liqueur; process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Fold in almond meal, baking powder and rind until combined. Spoon mixture into pan holes.
3.Bake cakes for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave cakes in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
4.Meanwhile, to make candied fennel slices, remove fronds from baby fennel; reserve in the fridge. Discard stems. Thinly slice bulb lengthways using a mandoline. Place extra sugar and the water in a large heavy-based frying pan over low heat. Stir, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Add fennel slices; bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until fennel is candied. Remove slices carefully using a palette knife and transfer to sheet of baking paper. Leave to cool and set.
5.To make fennel seed frosting; toast fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle into a fine powder. Beat butter in a bowl with electric mixer until pale. With motor operating, gradually add sifted icing sugar until combined. Add ground fennel seeds and juice; beat until just combined.
6.Place frosting in a piping bag fitted with a fluted tube. Pipe frosting onto cakes. Top each with a candied fennel slice and reserved fronds.

You can use Sambuca, ouzo or pastis for the liqueur or for a nonalcoholic version, use lemon juice. Cakes are best made on day of serving. Store candied fennel slices between layers of baking paper in an airtight container at room temperature.


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