Food & Drink Magazine

English Madeleines

By Risingtotheberry @rising2theberry
Recipe Number One Hundred & Thirty Four:  Page 125.
I was looking forward to trying my hand at these little cakes. The photograph in the Baking Bible makes me smile – the madeleine looks thoroughly cheerful! Maybe it is the halved cherry perched on top or the red jam peeping through the layer of coconut. Either way they look fun!
I was lucky enough to have some dariole moulds in my possession. My mother-in-law had given me a set of two different sizes right at the beginning of this challenge. Finally I would be putting them to good use. As they had been neglected for some months, they needed a dust and wash before I could grease them. Mary says the mixture would make ten madeleines. I had four large and four small moulds. The smaller size looked too tiny, so I decided to use the large and make them in several batches. I have rather short stumpy fingers so it was a little tricky greasing the moulds. I'm not sure that I reached every nook and cranny! I wasn't overjoyed by the prospect of lining the base of each mold with greaseproof paper. To save time, I cut two long strips of paper and folded it along the length until I was left with a thick square. Using a dariole mold as a guide, I drew and then cut out a circle; this left me with five neat circles. I followed the process once more, so I ended up with ten. I can't tell you how chuffed I was that I didn't have to cut each circle individually. I admit to feeling rather pleased with myself!!!!
The cake was so simple to make; it was just a case of measuring butter, sugar, eggs and flour into a bowl. It was one of Mary's wonderful all in one recipes and was basically the same as a Victoria sandwich. I should be able to make them with my eyes closed by now! I very nearly ruined the cakes by adding too much vanilla extract. I was all ready to add in two to three teaspoons instead of drops. Thank goodness I read it through once more just to be sure; otherwise the vanilla might have been just a little overwhelming. Now I needed to beat the mixture until smooth. This did take quite a while, but this was probably due to my butter not being suitably soft – whoops! Once the mixture was finally smooth, I started to spoon it into the dariole moulds. Mary says to fill them half full. I realised very quickly that I didn't have a hope in hell of making ten madeleines. I hoped I could get away with using four large and four small moulds. As I'd gleefully mentioned earlier, I'd already cut out the paper circles, but of course they'd be too big for the smaller ones. I resentfully cut them to size! I should have known that life is never that simple! Finally the madeleines were in the oven. Surprisingly, even though they were different sizes, they all required the same cooking time of twenty minutes. The cakes rose beautifully and were a lovely golden color. I left them to cool in the tins for a few minutes and then jiggled them out of the tins. They did need a fair amount of encouragement to exit their tins!
While the cakes cooled I needed to go and buy the very important desiccated coconut and also post my Christmas cards. I know I am shamefully late getting round to them. The weather was pretty dismal but, as Neil was home, I could leave Isaac tucked up in the warmth of his bed whilst I made a dash for it, unhindered by a ridiculously large pushchair! It was busy in the tiny post office so I ended up standing outside sticking stamps onto numerous envelopes in the pouring rain. I am certain that I looked rather pathetic! I was soggy by the time I had made it to the shop, but at least they had the much needed coconut. I was unable to buy all the other things I needed as I'd forgotten my shopping list!!
As soon I returned home, I took off my dripping coat and headed straight to the kitchen. I trimmed the tops of my little cakes so that they were relatively flat. I had to sieve the jam, which did not please me. This equated to more washing up which can never be a good thing. The sieved jam then needed to be warmed – how very demanding this jam was proving to be! By this time Isaac was up and charging about. He showed a vague interest as I speared a madeleine with a fork and brushed on some warm jam. The interest grew a little when I rolled the cake on a plate covered with coconut. After applying the jam to the second cake I took hold of one of his hands and we rolled the cake in the coconut – this pleased him immensely! We carried on in this fashion until all the cakes were covered in coconut and the floor also had a good coating. I have to say that I found the process to be very therapeutic and, yes, really good fun! Last of all I sliced some cherries in half and placed a half on top of each cake for a cheery decoration.
These pretty little madeleines really were a ray of sunshine on a miserable day. They were so easy and fun to make. They are something that can be made with little helpers – Isaac and I really enjoyed ourselves! As for the taste, well the first thing that springs to mind is moreish! The vanilla sponge is light and fluffy, but it's the jam and coconut that make it so very yummy. I will certainly be making these madeleines again and again; they are such delightful little cakes!

English Madeleines

They didn't last long!

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