Lemon and Earl Grey Madeleines - cakes for ladies!!!

>> Wednesday, 18 August 2010

I’ve been after a Madeleine pan for a while to add to my excessive collection of baking tins and recently came across a bargain in the sales, which led to this delightful experimentation.

Madeleines are a traditional French sponge, lighter than a typical British sponge, made using a special pan to create scallop-shaped cakes.

Their fluted, bite-sized appearance creates an elegant cake, for ladies if you will! Whilst there are undoubtedly times when only a wedge of Victoria sponge will doodle-do there are other times when drops of fragrant sponge are quite necessary for light-indulgence and guilt-free pleasure.

I think this description, from Marcel Proust (in the book 'In Search of Lost Time'), whilst a little grandiose, perfectly sums up their appeal…

"She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called petites madeleines, which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place…at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me..."

How wonderful that a cake could have that effect!
Their elegant appearance deserves light, elegant flavours and the words of Proust got me thinking about lemon and tea flavoured Madeleines. Earl Grey, with it's delicate bergamot overtones, was the perfect base and a little lemon and honey provide the flavours to lift this sponge to the very happiest levels.
If you've not got a Madeleine pan, you could make small fairy cakes, which will taste just as good.
Bon Appetit!
Lemon and Earl Grey Madeleines

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 90g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 1 lemon (zested)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Step 1: Preheat oven to 150c/GM 3

Step 2: Melt butter until turning brown

Step 3: Rip open tea bag and grind contents to a fine powder. Add powder to sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Step 4: Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar feels moist

Step 5: Add the eggs to the sugar mix and beat

Step 6: Add honey and vanilla to egg mixture and beat

Step 7: Fold in flour and Earl Grey mixture

Step 8: Fold in melted butter

Step 9: Pour into tin

Step 10: Chill for 1 hr in fridge

Step 11: Bake for 10 -12 minutes in the oven until risen

Step 12: Leave to cool and serve

Indulge soon!
Helen x

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