For Cake That's As Colorful As It Is Tasty, Decorate With Kumquats

Kumquats are like the forgotten little sibling of the citrus family — the Kevin McCallister, so to speak. Oranges, lemons, limes, and even grapefruit are what people tend to think of when they hear the word "citrus." But the teeny kumquat can make a big statement in foods and drinks. Kumquats are citrus fruits that look like very small, elongated oranges. Like other citrus fruits, they grow well in sunny areas of the United States, like California and Florida, but are also found in Asia, per The Spruce Eats. What sets these tart little morsels apart from their citrus big brothers (aside from their petite size, which is similar to that of an olive) is that their peel is not only edible, but kind of sweet.

Kumquats taste a bit like oranges with some noticeable differences. The edible peel is very thin and gives the fruit a chewy texture while the pulp inside is juicy and soft with a good amount of tartness, depending on how ripe the fruit is. There are also some seeds in kumquats, which Taste of Home asserts you can eat. 

In addition to being a great base for tasty jams or marmalades, kumquats look adorable and attractive as garnishes in cocktails and on cheese boards. And, because of their size, they brighten up any baked dessert, from upside down cakes to show-stopping decorated creations.

A gorgeous garnish

Oranges make wonderful flavor accents in both vanilla and chocolate dishes. And, because of their similar taste, kumquats can be used as a simple garnish for both types of cake — or any kind of citrus flavored cake. For decoration purposes, Epicurious recommends making slices of candied kumquats if you get your hands on a batch of them because they will last for about a month in the refrigerator. Since kumquats are a winter fruit, the candied slices make a wonderful substitution for out-of-season fresh berries when it comes to decorating desserts. Martha Stewart likes to candy her kumquats whole and use them as a festive decoration along with sugared bay leaves on her Seville orange chocolate cake.

They are tiny and bright, so kumquats tend to add charm and whimsy to anything you garnish them with. You could sprinkle the sweet, glistening slices around a simple chocolate cake for a pop of color and a burst of citrus flavor. Sliced, whole or candied kumquats, which Epicurious likens to shiny pieces of candy, look beautiful with other types of fruits, or all by themselves, atop, around, or piled on birthday or wedding cakes. 

From cupcakes to cheesecakes, you really can't go wrong adding a handful of these sweet little citrus gems to all of your baked creations.