Lime Tea Cakes with Raspberries
There’s a Goodwill by my school that we used to visit all the time. I never knew what to do once we got there, because I was never interested in any of the clothes. I’d look at the old VHS movies, the funny 90′s jewelry, and the once-worn spring dresses before I got bored. I’d sit in the comfiest looking sofa and wait until we could leave.
That was before I discovered the cooking aspect of Goodwill. Now I take longer than my mom to finish up because I have to check out every single cookbook on the shelf – they’re only a dollar each, it’s such a bargain! Some of them have been total disasters (like the Sweet and Sugarfree cookbook I thought sounded interesting) but others have been really excellent, like the Martha Stewart Healthy Quick Cook cookbook I found. Then I have to inspect all of the cooking supplies. I’ve bought a couple really great finds from Goodwill, including a new set of three nonstick springpans that I use all the time. I’ve bought interesting bundt pans, cute holiday shaped cake pans, and even some mini muffin tins.
The mini muffin tins kind of confused my mom, since they were so small. “Why would you make muffins that small? Those would be barely even a bite.” She kind of had a point, but I wanted them anyway. We both finally saw the greatness of mini muffins when I decided to try Deb’s raspberry-topped lemon muffins. Like most of my sweets I was planning to bring them to school for my friends to eat at lunch. The recipe only made 14 standard size muffins, which I suspected would not be enough. But Deb made 56 mini muffins out of the same amount of batter. The great thing about the mini muffins is that even if each person ends up eating less than a full muffin, they feel like they’ve had a lot, so everyone is satisfied. Plus, if someone doesn’t like it they don’t have to waste a whole muffin. Although that was definitely not a problem with these…
I didn’t have lemons on hand so I used limes. The recipe also called for fresh raspberries, but all I had were frozen. I popped them in the microwave for a few seconds. The first few times I made puree, but eventually I was able to half-defrost them and they worked great. I also experimented with marionberries (like in the photo above) but the raspberries were definitely better.
These were more like cupcakes or tea cakes to me than muffins, and they were really good. The batter is a simple buttermilk cupcake, but you add sugar mashed with lime zest that gives it more of a kick and the raspberries really add the perfect touch. They’re moist, just the right sweetness, and really addictive. Some of my friends ate more than a few.
Lime Tea Cakes with Raspberries
Makes 14 standard or 56 mini muffins
1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons lime zest (2-3 limes)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk *
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 half-pint containers of raspberries (about)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease 14 standard or 56 mini muffin tins. Butter worked better than oil for me. You can also use paper liners.
In a small bowl, mash together 1/8 cup sugar and the lime zest until the sugar is moist. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream the butter and remaining 1 cup sugar in an electric mixer until smooth, then add the egg. Beat in the buttermilk, then the vanilla and the lime-sugar mixture. Beat in the flour mixture.
Divide the batter into muffin tins. The 2/3 to 3/4 level worked best for the mini muffins (I used a cookie scoop to fill them and it was really easy.) Top each muffin with 4 raspberries or each mini muffin with one raspberry. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 35 minutes for standard muffins and 18 minutes for mini-muffins.
The mini muffins pop right out if the pan is well greased and you run a plastic knife around the sides.
* If you often don’t have buttermilk, like me, you can make an easy substitute. Put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into a 1-cup measuring cup, then pour in milk to the top. Let sit for 5 minutes, then use as buttermilk.
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