Ok, can we talk about how good these look! These sweet and spongy, Spanish cakes are actually made with duck fat! Yes, that right! Only, my good friend, Melinda from Kitchen-Tested.com would come up with such a fun dessert as these. So as you can tell, I have Melinda Stauss guest posting this week, here on the blog. Melinda is one of the amazing foodie friends that I have been fortunate to make early on in my culinary career. I really consider her my mentor in the food blogging world. She is always there to help me with all my questions about food blogging.
Melinda is famous for sharing her one of a kind recipes on her food blog, Kitchen-Tested.com. Melinda is also a food photographer, recipe developer, and the founder and organizer of the Jewish Food Media Conference. I actually started this blog because I was inspired by the conference. Be sure to follow Melinda on her blog, Kitchen-Tested.com and on Instagram, @KitchenTested!
Ok Melinda, you can take it over from here!
Chef Eitan, I want to thank you! Thank you for inspiring me to go even further outside of my comfort zone (shocking, I know!) by adding duck fat to a cake. Thank you for loving cultural food because I would have never even heard of Mantecadas if it weren’t for you. And thank you for just being a great friend and for seeing me as one of your mentors. You make me feel very old but it’s totally okay!
Okay, now let’s talk about these Mantecada Cakes. While doing some research on cakes from different regions of the world, I came across these individual cakes that originated in Spain and they have a pretty cool story behind them. In the 9th Century in Spain, sugar was actually used as a medicine and preserving agent and the apothecaries would turn the sugar into confections to be used as a remedy for ailments. Yup, sugar to cure disease. Oh, the irony. Some examples of these treats included marzipan, bizcochos (one of my favorites), mantecadas and alfajores.
Mantecadas, which are the focus of this post, are the most fascinating to me because ‘manteca’ means ‘animal fat’ and you know what that means? The cakes I made for this post are actually made with animal fat!! Since we obviously can’t use lard, which is the traditional animal fat for mantecada cakes, I decided to try duck fat instead! To balance the mild duck flavor, I’ve added orange zest, almond extract and a bit of nutmeg. These cakes are sweet, spongy and a great snack (as long as you are okay being meat when you eat them). Trust me, you want to try these!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and grease 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes. Add the milk, orange zest and almond extract and whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, yeast, nutmeg and salt. Add to the wet batter and whisk until the batter comes together. Add the duck fat to the batter and whisk until thick.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon, add the batter to the muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with a bit of sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the mantecada cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy warm right out of the oven or serve at room temperature.
Mantecada cakes can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
If you can't get your hands on the duck fat, vegetable oil will do in a pinch.
Recipe By Eitan Bernath