{recipe} Individual Citrus Almond Cakes with Warm Caramel Sauce

I saw this lovely looking almond cake on The Kitchenette and felt oddly compelled to make it. I say “oddly” because I’m not a huge fan of nuts, and marzipan on its own is not my favorite, but I felt it definitely had potential. Maybe it was the pretty pictures; who knows? In a rare burst of culinary creativity and energy, I adapted the recipe to include citrus and made individual small cakes baked in ramekins. I topped it with whipped cream sprinkled with a little black salt. I even made a simple warm caramel sauce in a little pot and just before serving, reheated it on the stove to glossy goodness, and poured it over at the table. That’s the kind of thing that goes a long way in impressing people, when all you have to do is caramelize some sugar and throw some butter and booze in it.

The cakes completely overran their ramekins and I had a giant monstrosity of cakes all connected together and spilling over the pan. A little bit (OK, a lot) of trimming solved the problem, and I had leftover cake bits to snack on all day long. The original recipe calls for 8 oz of marzipan, but marzipan commonly comes in a 7 oz package. Ergo, I lessened the marzipan amount in the recipe. I also used whole wheat pastry flour, which I think is a nice way of adding a bit of texture and heft to a cake. You can easily substitute all-purpose flour, but don’t use straight whole wheat flour–it will make the cakes too bready and chewy. I was a little wary of all the almond action, so I took out the blanched almonds and replaced the almond extract with orange juice and added orange zest. Orange and almond is a fabulous flavor combination, and works very well here.

Individual Citrus Almond Cakes with Warm Caramel Sauce


  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 7 oz marzipan
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup soft butter, cut in chunks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest and juice of 1 small orange or 1 tangerine
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • large pinch salt


  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Spray 8-10 ramekins with nonstick spray, and put a circle of parchment on the bottom. (Here’s a tip for how to make cake circles without too much hassle or even a pair of scissors.)
  • Put the sugar, marzipan, and half the flour in a food processor and pulse to combine and grind up until it looks like sand. Add the butter, vanilla, orange juice and zest to the food processor and pulse until it makes a smooth batter.
  • With the food processor running, add eggs one at a time, allowing to mix in for a couple seconds in between each one.
  • Add remaining flour, baking powder, and salt and pulse a few times just to combine.
  • Divide batter among ramekins. The batter will rise so only fill to about half full. If you have extra batter, cook it in a loaf pan for a breakfast treat.
  • Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center and cakes are golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool.
  • Use a sharp knife to trim off any excess cake that has overrun the ramekins. Run the knife around the edge and flip over to unmold.
  • Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and warm caramel sauce, if desired.

Warm Caramel Sauce

I don’t usually use a recipe for this, but this explanation from Simply Recipes is very helpful. I don’t tend to measure the sugar, butter, or cream, but rather eyeball it until it gets to the texture I desire. I also add liquor (about one or two tablespoons) to the caramel to enrich the flavor. For something like this, you could use an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier to boost the citrus component of the dish, or stick with dark rum, bourbon, or whiskey. Sometimes I use a reposado or añejo tequila, just for kicks. Whatever you use, the liquor flavor isn’t very strong but it adds a bit more complexity and interest.

You can make the caramel in advance and leave it in a pot on the stove. It will harden, but don’t worry. Just before serving, bring the caramel back over the heat and give it a turn with a whisk. It will be warm, smooth, and easy to serve. If, when you reheat it, it’s still a little tight or thick–just add more butter, cream, or liquor to loosen it up, bring it to a boil again, and whisk it to combine.

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1 Response

  1. Pallavi says:

    Could not find marzipan in my local store to try this recipe. So moved on and prepared an offbeat recipe of milk and sugar with soya flour to make it thick. I might have not got the desired taste, but loved the end product.

    Next time I will try MilkMaid instead of marzipan.