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Chocolate seems to reign supreme when it comes to Easter. And while it's hard to deny the appeal of cocoa, this spring holiday also begs for something fresh and citrusy.
So we created these dairy-free mini cakes that are rich with olive oil and lemon juice - in fact, 1 cup of each. The tender cakes - which deliver a delicious punch of lemon - also are covered with strawberry jam, then with a layer of toasted and chopped pecans. Delicious, fresh and simple.
But these cakes also are versatile. If pecans aren't your thing, coat the cakes in flaked coconut or chopped pistachios. If strawberry jam doesn't do it for you, any variety of jam can be substituted. And if you don't like lemon, any other citrus juice can be substituted.
LEMON-OLIVE OIL MINI CAKES WITH PECANS AND STRAWBERRIES
2 cups sugar
1 cup olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
9 1/2-ounce jar strawberry jam
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Fresh strawberries, to garnish
Heat the oven to 375 F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then line it with kitchen parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on high for 2 minutes.
While the eggs and sugar combine, in a measuring cup combine the olive oil and lemon juice. Into a small bowl, sift together the salt, baking powder and flour.
Add half of the oil-juice mixture to the eggs, then half the flour mixture, beating just to combine. Repeat with the remaining oil-juice and flour mixtures. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix one more time. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool in the pan.
Using a food processor, puree the strawberry jam until smooth.
When ready to assemble, use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut 20 discs from the cake. Use care to hold the cutter straight so that your cake rounds have straight sides. To assemble each mini cake, spread a small amount of the strawberry jam on 1 round of cake. Sandwich a second cake on top. Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam over the sides and top of the cake, then carefully roll the entire thing in the pecans. Garnish the top with a fresh strawberry. Repeat with remaining cake rounds to assemble a total of 10 mini cakes.