It is impossible not to think of Marcel Proust’s Madeleine scene in his novel ‘In search of lost time’. How a delightful little cake can trigger such vivid childhood memories…
Madeleines are one of France’s most popular tea-time cakes, for all ages, ideal for dipping in a glass of milk or a cup of tea. Shaped like a shell, this little gem of a cake is always a special treat. There are various versions of this famous recipe, but for me, it has to have orange blossom, that is what I love most about madeleines. The smell is pure comfort and joy, reminding me of my children’s scent. Orange blossom is renowned for its purity and calming effects, especially mixed with honey. (That is why I added honey to the recipe).
No wonder Mr. Proust’s mind wandered off… it must have been the orange blossom!
150 grs plain flour
125 grs butter or margarine (melted)
130 grs sugar
20 grs honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp orange blossom water
Madeleine cake molds (I have silicone ones)
Whisk sugar, honey, salt and eggs together until light and fluffy. Sift flour and baking powder together, then gradually fold in the egg mixture and mix gently. Add the melted butter, orange blossom water and lemon zest, stir lightly, cover and leave to rest for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge. It is very important for the batter to be cold before baking – the thermal ‘shock’ is necessary for a good ‘bumpy’ round madeleine.
Pre-heat your oven 180 degrees celsius.
Butter and sprinkle your molds with flour. Add one good teaspoon of cold batter into the molds. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on how big your molds are. When ready, use a round-edged knife to delicately lift each cake.