I discovered the French classic cake, the madeleine, in the most un-classic of ways: from a Parisian vending machine. Nevertheless, it was divine and I can understand how the madeleine was Marcel Proust’s favourite cake. The madeleine is small (perfect for vending machines), buttery and fluffy, and there is something inherently satisfying about the texture of the contrasting sides of the cake: the ‘scallop shell’ side and the ‘bump’ side.
Inspired by my time in Alsace, France, I decided to make madeleines that pay tribute to the exotic and aromatic nose of one of my favourite Alsatian noble wines: Gewürztraminer. By adding subtle flavours of rose, lychee, gingerbread and honey to the madeleines, these cakes are not only reminiscent of Gewürztraminer and of Alsace, but they are perfect for the holiday season.
Rose, Lychee and Spice Madeleines
Makes 16 madeleines
- 90g unsalted butter (and some butter to grease the madeleine pan)
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup caster sugar (French caster sugar if possible)
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons rose-water
- juice of 3 lychees
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- small pinch of ground cloves
- small pinch of ground cinnamon
- small pinch of ground ginger
Step 1: Melt the butter in a saucepan and set aside to cool.
Step 2: In a large bowl whisk the eggs with sugars until pale and doubled in size. Whisk in the honey, rose-water, lychee juice and cooled butter.
Step 2: Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and spices in to the egg mixture. Try to get out any lumps.
Step 4: Put cling film over the madeleine batter and place in the fridge for one hour at least (but preferably over night).
Step 5: Pre-heat conventional oven to 200 degrees Celsius (or fan-forced oven to 180 degrees Celsius).
Step 6: Grease and lightly flour the madeleine pans.
Step 7: Use a tablespoon to put around one tablespoon of batter in each mould being careful not to fill them up completely.
Step 8: Bake the madeleines for 9 to 10 minutes, or until golden on the top.
Step 9: Let the madeleines cool slightly before turning them out on a wire rack. Dust the madeleines with icing sugar and enjoy.