I have spoken before about my love of small cakes. For me there’s something immensely likeable about them. Maybe it has something to do with nostalgia and the fact that they so easily transport you back to childhood – where the ultimate treat was a cupcake with pink icing, or better yet, a butterfly cake – or maybe its that being small in size you feel less guilty about eating them… Whatever the reason, I’m a fan, and am always looking for more small cakes in my life!
Recently, my little cake du jour has been the madeleine. It’s got to be one of the cutest little cakes around and I love the understated simplicity of them. You’ve got to hand it to the French – they know a thing or two about cakes, and class, for that matter.
Mandarin and earl grey madeleines
These delicious little cakes are infused with mandarin and earl grey tea and are super easy to make, and even easier to eat! Best served warm with a big pot of tea.
(makes about 24 madeleines)
2 tsp earl grey tea
120g caster sugar
125g butter, melted
1 tbsp honey
180g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
zest of 1 large (or 2 small) mandarins
½ cup caster sugar
zest 1 large mandarin
2 tbsp butter, melted
Steep tea in 2 tbsp boiling water for a few minutes before adding milk and heating to just below simmering. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes or so before straining.
In a medium mixing bowl place eggs and sugar and whisk for a few minutes until foamy and lighter in colour. In a smaller bowl combine melted butter, strained earl grey milk and honey and stir to combine. Whisk gently into egg mixture.
Stir flour, baking powder, salt and mandarin zest together in a bowl to combine before whisking gently into the egg and butter mixture. Make sure the mixture is combined, but don’t over mix.
Let mixture rest in the fridge for 1/2hr or so whilst you butter and flour your madeleine tin and let the oven preheat to 190°C.
Spoon heaped teaspoons of batter into madeleine molds taking care not to overfill them and place into preheated oven for 5 minutes. Turn oven off for 1 minute before turning it back on at 160°C and cooking madeleines for a further 4-5 minutes until golden and cooked through. (Turning the oven off for a minute before cooking fully is what gives the madeleines their characteristic hump – something I learnt thanks to Rachel Khoo and google!)
Whilst madeleines are cooling, rub mandarin zest through the extra caster sugar, and place melted butter in a small cup or bowl.
When madeleines are cool enough to handle, brush or dunk each cake with a little melted butter before dipping in mandarin sugar. Serve warm with a big pot of tea!
(Any left over madeleine batter will keep happily in the fridge for a couple of days.)