Madeleines: Sponge Shell Shaped Cakes

madeleinesMadeleines 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


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.

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.

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.