What could be better than sitting down on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea and a pile of homemade madeleines?
If you are unsure what a madeleine is, it is a shell shaped sponge cake. Its origins lie in the Lorraine region of Northeastern France. The twentieth century novelist, Marcel Proust wrote about the madeleine in one of his literary works and created a new style of writing using “ streams of consciousness ” to convey a reality. When Proust talks about the madeleines dipped into tea: it is referred to as “the Proustian moment”.
You can’t really buy these cakes in the shops. You have to make them at home as they need to be eaten fresh- they are a homemade cake and they are simple and delicious. The beauty of this recipe is that you can make the batter in advance and it can last in the fridge for a day or so. When the time comes, you just put the oven on, prepare the madeleine tray and bake.
You will definitely have to invest in a madeleine tray, which can be bought in different sizes.( The recipe below is for the larger sized tray ). The shell shape sold gives the cake a crispy outside and a soft moist interior.
Preparation time: 20 unites plus chilling
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes
-125g (4oz) caster sugar
-A few drops of vanilla essence
-125g plain white flour
-5ml (1tsp) baking powder
-pinch of salt
-125g (4oz) unsalted butter
-melted and cooled until tepid
- Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together in a bowl until pale and creamy and thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk is lifted.
- Sift half the flour together with the baking powder and salt. Carefully pour in half of the melted butter around the edge of the bowl and gently fold in evenly until totally mixed. Repeat with the rest of the flour and butter. Cover and chill in the fridge for at leats 45 minutes
- While the batter is chilling, brush the madeleine tray with melted butter, allow to set and then dust with flour.
- Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Fill each mould half full with the batter and bake for 10-12 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Ease them out of their tin onto a rack and cool for 10 minutes.
Toppings and fillings
-Lemon curd, orange curd or jam can be injected into the cake once cooked using a syringe such as the Kitchen Craft Flavour Injector
-Dip into chocolate
-Place a raspberry or blueberry in the centre of each cake before baking
-simply sprinkle sifted icing sugar over the baked cake
-experiment with your own flavours