Hello and welcome to my first post!
At long last! (I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from my family and friends, who’ve had to put up with me. I’ve been agonising over this for so long, you see. A big thank you to all of you. Thanks for believing in me, thanks for egging me on.)
And why kick off with madeleines, you may ask? Well, it’s all my mom’s fault, really. From the moment I told my parents I was thinking of starting a blog, they’ve been fully behind me. And one of the ways they’ve shown their support is with junk!
Not just any old junk, though! We’re talking the real deal here – the “one-man’s-trash-another-man’s-treasure” kind. My parents love flea markets, garage sales, vide-greniers, brocantes, the works. I love going with them because they invariably sniff out the only bargain in town. Knowing that I’m rather partial to vintage paraphernalia, they’ve been busily trawling every market they’ve come across for bits for my food photos. And this madeleine tin is one such find. I had been looking for one for a while and had mentioned it to my mom in passing. And hey presto, she found this gorgeous one! I promised her then that my first blog post would be on madeleines! And that I would dedicate the post to her – my ultimate food mentor and confidante.
The last time I made madeleines was when I worked as an au pair in France in my early twenties. Making them again for this post has reminded me just how lovely these delicate little cakes are. Perfect with a cuppa. Too perfect, in fact – it’s impossible to stop after one!
It took me a couple of tries to get the method right. My recipe was scrawled on a scrap of paper and lacking all instruction, and with no indication as to its ‘owner’ either (something I always add now). I’m pretty sure it came from my lovely neighbour – the charming, bubbly Delia, a real character and superb cook.
To get an idea of the methods used, I looked up a few madeleine recipes. I got the best results with the creaming method. The all-in-one method gave a coarser, drier cake, I found. With creaming, the madeleines were light and airy. Even one day later. I still have to work on getting the trademark ‘bump’ on all of the cakes, though …
Poppy seed madeleines
Makes: approx. 30
Preparation time: 20 minutes + 15 minutes’ resting time in fridge
Cooking time: 5-8 minutes
Oven temperature: preheat to 200°C
Cake tin: madeleine tin (muffin or mini-muffin tin would also do)
- 150 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 200 g unsalted butter, softened
- 50 ml (about 3.5 tablespoons) milk
- 2.5 level teaspoons baking powder
- 200 g white flour, sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Icing sugar for dusting
– Butter and flour your madeleine tins (I used two madeleine tins and with the remaining mixture used a mini-muffin tin). Refrigerate buttered tins if possible.
– Cream the sugar and softened butter until light in colour. This takes about 5 minutes with an electric mixer.
– Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one (still with the electric mixer, if you’re using one).
– Then add the milk, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Just a quick mix so it’s barely integrated.
– Finally, fold in the sifted flour and baking powder (see tip below).
– Gently spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and put in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes. (It doesn’t absolutely HAVE to go into the fridge, but the cold-to-hot combo helps the bumps rise higher.)
– Bake for 5-8 minutes. The ones on the top shelf are generally done sooner. You have to use your own judgement here and test after 5 or so minutes. The madeleines should be a nice golden colour and spring back if you press gently with your finger.
– Before you turn on your oven, you need to know that there’s a 15-minute resting period before the cakes can be put in the oven. So depending on how quickly your oven heats up, you can wait till then before turning it on. Mine takes ages, so I turn it on before I start. When you do preheat your oven, pop in a flat baking sheet at the same time. The extra heat from below makes for a bigger bump.
– When folding in flour, I was taught to use a metal spoon. Not because of the metal, but because the spoon has a thinner edge than, say, a wooden spoon, which means less air is knocked out of the mixture, leaving it light and airy.
– Take the madeleines out of the tin while still warm. More importantly, eat while still warm!