Sometimes when a birthday rolls around and if the friend whose birthday it is doesn’t have a specific item in mind they want, I will bake them something.
For the effort that is spent over the course of an afternoon or evening measuring together quite cheap ingredients and turning out something that smells beautiful and that truly represents the fruits of your labours, watching the look of delight spread across a person’s face when they open the box is absolutely a gift in itself.
I love baking, but I love watching people appreciate my baking more.
Cupcakes do take some effort however. I’m not a fan of the vast amount of icing that society dictates that cupcakes must have on them (3:1 ratio of icing to cake?), and there are other things that you can bake that require equally simple ingredients and achieve that level of ‘I care for you enough to spend half my day making this for you.’
I was at Peter’s of Kensington two weeks ago purchasing a new set of knives when I wandered through the baking section and looked over the baking tins with a keen eye to see if there was anything I could add to my collection. Then I saw the Madeleine tin. What could be a more perfect gift than opening up a small, pretty box and seeing a whole box full of freshly baked little Madeleine cakes? Not to mention they’re much less time-consuming to make than cupcakes and look so much more sophisticated without all the sugar and buttercream.
You will need, obviously, a Madeleine tin, as well as the below ingredients. This recipe comes from the Women’s Weekly Afternoon Tea Collection - one of the favourite cookbooks in my collection.
- 2 eggs;
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar;
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar;
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste;
- 1/4C (35g) self-raising flour;
- 1/4C (35g) plain flour;
- 75g butter, melted;
- 1 tablespoon hot water;
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar, extra.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius and grease a 12-hole Madeleine pan with a little butter. If you have two Madeleine tins, do both, but if you’re stingy like me and you only have the one, you’ll have to re-use it later.
Beat the eggs, caster sugar, icing sugar and vanilla in a small bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.
Meanwhile, sift the flours twice. Then sift the flours over the egg mixture. Yes, three times. No, you will not have to sift anything else.
Pour the combined butter and the water down the side of the bowl very carefully. If you just pour it straight in over the top everything will deflate and you’ll end up with very flat madeleines that will have the texture of chewy biscuits.
Fold the ingredients together before dropping rounded tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the pan holes.
Bake the madeleines for about eight to 10 minutes until they’re golden brown. Remove the tray from the oven and tap the hot pan firmly on a bench to release them before turning immediately onto baking paper-covered wire racks to cool. The baking paper is so that it doesn’t leave lines running across your cakes. If you’re using the one madeleine pan, repeat the process with the remainder of the cake mixture until you use it all up. Serve the madeleines dusted with the extra icing sugar.
I had made the madeleines in the evening after dinner for work the next day and unfortunately the lighting is terrible in my kitchen. I woke up earlier than usual the next morning so to take some quick shots before I took them to work, and then took another at work when I had laid them all out nicely on a doily
Buttery and beautiful, they were a perfect addition to a cup of tea while staring cross-eyed at my work computer haha! Today is my last day of work, and as I’ve been working in this job for three years, I will particularly miss the people with whom I’ve formed very dear friendships with and who have encouraged and supported me with my food obsessions. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve chatted to my co-workers about various recipes, what dinner was on the weekend, and what was for lunch that work day. I’ve loved every time I bring in the spoils of my latest blog ‘experiment’, as I’m certainly not able to eat it all myself, and hearing their comments, praise, and feedback.
I made these madeleines the day after I handed in my two-week notice, and next week you’ll get the recipe for the cupcakes I’ve made for my very last day: Vanilla & Salted Caramel cupcakes! I can barely wait to write it up.
Have an enjoyable and safe weekend, lovelies xx