I needed a reminder of my time in France and decided that Madeleines with all their associated history would be just the treat to bring memories back. I also wanted to use the silicone miniature Madeleine molds I bought in Paris. The very sound of the word Madeleine brings memories of holidays in France where my husband and I would sit in a café, sipping a coffee and indulge in one of these light irresistible cakes and watch the world pass by. These buttery little cakes are so delicious and are terribly easy to make (a type of génoise gateau). Perfect for busy cooks. This mixture does not contain any rising agent. It is the shock of cold to hot that assists the rising.
The trick is to allow the batter to rest and to chill it. This is what makes it such a perfect cake. If you know you are having a girlfriend drop by either later that day or the even the following morning you can make the batter up, then place it in the fridge. When you are ready to cook them, make sure the oven is hot and then just pull the batter out of the fridge, scoop it into the molds and stick them straight into the hot oven. Voila. 10 minutes later you have beautiful freshly baked cakes to impress your family and friends. Like any small cakes, they are most delicious eaten the day they are made but if there are any left over they taste wonderful the next day, particularly dipped into a cup of coffee or tea.
Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F). If not using silicone molds, butter the Madeleine tins well with melted butter. This mixture makes 12 – 20 Madeleines depending on whether you use the miniature or traditional size molds.
52 g (1.8 oz) unsalted butter; 60g (2oz) castor sugar; 2 eggs; 1 teaspoon vanilla, (other flavourings such as orange water or rose water, grated rind of a lemon, lime or orange, cardamom etc.; 52 g (1.8 oz) plain cake flour
Melt the butter over a gentle heat and allow to cool. Put sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl and beat together until the mixture forms a thick mousse. Add the vanilla to the mixture and blend well. Other flavourings can be used.
Fold in the sifted flour and using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix well. Fold in the melted butter and blend well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour and even overnight.
Remove from the fridge, divide batter between the molds filling them about ¾ full. The fuller the shell, the rounder the hump on the cakes will be. Cook for about 7-10 minutes until golden. Remove from the pans immediately and allow to cool on a rack. Make a cup of coffee or tea pick up a cake and sit back and enjoy.