Chestnut, maple, pear & vanilla cinnamon buns Little cherry & almond cakes

The main reason I love these dainty little cakes is that they are the perfect solution for the cook’s perennial ‘What to do with leftover egg whites?’ problem (particularly if, like me, you are not a fan of meringue). They are also an incredibly quick, one-bowl bake that you can whip up in minutes, and are extremely versatile. I’ve used figs, apricots, peaches, pears and various berries in these with great success, so they are also an excellent way to use up any fruit lingering in your kitchen – simply drop small pieces into the batter in the tin.
Makes 12
90g egg whites (from 2–3 large eggs)
100g caster sugar
70g ground almonds
a pinch of salt
½ teaspoon almond extract
35g plain flour
90g butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing
18 fresh or canned cherries, halved and stoned
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Grease a 12-hole cupcake or bun tin well with butter.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites lightly with a hand whisk until a little frothy (but definitely not to soft peaks). Whisk in the caster sugar. Add the almonds, salt, almond extract and flour, then whisk again until just combined. Slowly pour in the melted butter, whisking continuously, until you have a thick batter.
Divide the batter between the holes of the muffin tin, then top each cake with 3 cherry halves. Bake for 7 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 and bake for another 3–6 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a skewer inserted in the centres comes out clean. Leave to cool a little before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully before eating.

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