Madeleines are tiny sponge cakes with a characteristic shell-like shape. They are traditionally baked in shell-shaped moulds and are available in a number of flavours including honey, lemon, chocolate, cinnamon and orange. They are also known as French Butter Cakes. Like other popular French recipe, there are many stories about the origin of Madeleines cakes. One version suggests that some time in the 1700’s Madeleine was a young maid in the household of a Marquise who baked tea cakes shaped like a shell for a deposed Polish king, Stanislas Leczinski. Another version has a different Madeleine who baked cakes for travellers on a pilgrimage to Saint Jacques burial site. It was not long before many enterprises started baking and marketing these small shell shaped cakes. Commercy town in the Lorraine area of east France is famous for its Madeleines. Madeleines French Recipe Makes About 30 Ingredients Eggs -3 Flour – 250 g Caster sugar – 200 g Butter- 125 g soft (room temperature) Milk – 50 ml Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon Baking powder – 1 ½ teaspoon Salt – Pinch Lemon zest- 1 lemon Method of Preparation 1. Whip the eggs in a big mixing bowl 2. Put in the caster sugar and beat till the mix turns white 3. While whisking, add vanilla essence, salt, milk and lemon zest. 4. Sieve the flour and slowly add little by little then blend the baking powder and the softened butter till you get a smooth mix. 5. Cover the batter with a tea towel and allow it to rest for two hours at room temperature. 6. Butter the special moulds and sprinkle with flour before pouring in the batter half-full. 7. Place it in a hot oven for 6 minutes at a temperature of 240°C before turning the temperature down to 200°C and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Chocolate Variation: Exclude lemon zest, increase sugar and substitute unsweetened cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons flour. Sift cocoa powder in the mixture with flour.
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