Lemon Grass, Vanilla and Red Currant Cakes

Talk about some aromatic ingredients! What a treat for the palette and the nose!

The recipe for this moist, small cake is gluten-free, but all-purpose flour may be substituted for the white rice flour. Mini-brioche tins make the best molds.

Ingredients
Unsalted butter for greasing the molds or muffin tins, plus 5 tablespoons melted
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour, sifted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Scrapings from 1/2 vanilla bean
1 stick lemon grass, finely chopped (see TIP)
large egg whites, lightly beaten until foamy1/3 cup red currants (may substitute redraspberries)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use butter to lightly grease 4 muffin-size molds or 4 wells of a large-muffin tin; place the molds on a baking sheet.

Combine the rice and almond flours, confectioners' sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla bean scrapings and the chopped lemon grass; mix well. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the egg whites. Use a spatula to mix well until a smooth batter forms. Add the melted butter; stir to mix well. Add the red currants and poppy seeds, gently folding them into the batter. Divide the batter among the 4 molds. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown around the edges and light brown in the center. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Lemon Grass Tip
Discard the tough outer layers then cut the remaining lemon grass into small pieces. Process in a coffee grinder that you use just for spices. Or chop finely with a mezzaluna (A chopping utensil with a single or double curved blade that has a handle on each end) removing any visible threads.

Store the cakes in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

LaTartineGourmande.com. LA TIMES-WASHINGTON POST