…at least my hero seems to think, and honestly I can’t disagree. I am referring to that spongy, buttery bite of goodness that is the Madeleine. The much beloved quintessential French cake that Marcel Proust described as “a little shell of cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating…” Sounds like a recipe for romance to me!
Rumor has it, Louis XV called this tiny pastry “Madeleine” for the first time in 1755 in honor of his father-in-law’s cook Paulmier. His wife introduced them soon afterwards to the court in Versailles and the rest is confectionary history! Quite the pedigree for this deceptively simple mini cake.
What else is one to do on this beautiful Annapolis afternoon? Bake Madeleines of course. My choice today is lemon lavender cake with a lemon vodka glaze…commence drooling.
First, enlist help from a cute baking assistant and have her locate the Madeleine pan…just tell her to find the shell pan…she knows where it is. This recipe will make 24 Madeleines.
Gather your ingredients. Eggs, butter and lemon zest should be at room temperature and please, gentle with the creaming, it is a delicate cake after all. I don’t use cake flour but I do double sift it with the dry ingredients. Looking for culinary lavender? I order from here.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried lavender
½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or lemon extract
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Place the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. Add lavender and stir. Set aside.
Place butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest in a medium bowl, and mix until thickened and almost double in volume, about 2 minutes.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken as it rests.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or oil and butter your Madeleine pan cavities.
Spoon one Tablespoon of batter into each mold. It will not entirely fill the mold but it will spread as it bakes.
Bake for 12 minutes or until puffed and golden brown around the edges. The madeleines will spring back to the touch when done.
Let cool 10 minutes, carefully loosen the edges of each madeleine with a butter knife. Release madeleines to a cooling rack, and let cool completely.
Try not to eat the whole tray there is more to come…
For lemon syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Bring to boil the syrup ingredients and remove from heat. Brush Madeleines with syrup and allow them to harden slightly …
Add a beautiful Annapolis afternoon, a delightful front porch and an exceptional cup of tea ( or glass of wine) and you have the makings of a perfect, romantic time for two…at least until nap is over!