Next week there just happens to be a somewhat fun greeting card holiday—Valentine’s Day. I’m conflicted about Valentine’s Day. On the one hand, I kind of love any excuse to have a day that has something extra special—candy and flowers especially. But on the other hand, it just seems a little self-indulgent, right? Let’s spend a day in which your loved one must prove their worth to you and show that they’ve been planning some show of affection for weeks. Even though that can be pretty great… And the alternative? You’re single and have yet another reminder of your single-dom.
But you know what has become my favorite? Galentine’s Day! If you are unsure about what I’m talking about, I will direct you to Parks and Rec. Basically we show our girlfriends (and ourselves) some extra love.
Madeleines aren’t too difficult though. They’re those little seashell-shaped cakes that you may associate with France or at the very least, people with French accents. Absolutely delicious and tres chic. Just kidding about that last part—there are multicolored sprinkles involved here folks.
Madeleines have a quirk that I find fascinating. The back (non-seashell side) has a little hump that is characteristic for the cakes. Often, you can spot a “real” madeleine by this hump. But you want to know what? I have one easy little trick that will fake out all your cake-loving friends. Chilling the batter.
What the what? Basically, the batter is baked in a shallow cavity in the madeleine pan. Ordinarily, this would cause your madeleine cakes to rise like any other normal cake. An evened-out dome over the whole thing. However, when you chill the batter, the game changes a bit. The edges bake out quickly as before, but the center heats and bakes more slowly. The batter in the center therefore gets its oven spring later than the rest of the cake. This forces the batter to rise dramatically all at once and right up through the center as the area around it is baked and set. And voila! Madeleines complete with the bump.
So celebrate your galentines with confetti madeleines! Further French words are not required. But cute girly packaging is highly encouraged.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets
Makes 18 Large Madeleines
¾ cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon clear imitation vanilla extract
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter melted and cooled
2 tablespoons multicolored sprinkles
- Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high until lightened in color and thickened—about 5 minutes. You may have to stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl after a minute to ensure that no sugar is sticking to the bowl. If you do not let your eggs come to room temperature, this will take longer. Watch for little yellow flecks of egg yolk which will indicate that you need to beat the mixture for a little while longer.
- Beat in the vanilla extract. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the flour mixture from step 1. Finally mix in the melted butter until fully combined. Do not mix in the sprinkles yet or the colors will run.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or an airtight lid and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. This chilling step is imperative if you want the characteristic bump on top. (See science tip above)
- When the batter is ready, place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 400⁰F. Prep your madeleine pan(s) with a very generous butter/flour dusting or baking spray. If you have silicon molds, skip this prep step.
- Take your batter form the fridge and mix the sprinkles into the batter. Spoon the batter into the madeleine cavities until it almost reaches the top (about 80% full). For me, the large madeleines took about 2 teaspoons of batter.
- Place the pan on a baking sheet and put in the preheated oven. If you only have one madeleine pan and leftover batter, place the batter back in the fridge until you are ready for round two. Bake the madeleines for about 11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and spring back when touched. If you have a small madeleine pan, reduce bake time accordingly (about 8 minutes’ bake time).
- When finished baking, remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Flip the pan over onto a baking rack letting the cakes fall out. Give the pan a light tap against the counter if they don’t fall out right away. Let cool until just warm and eat to your heart’s content! Or let cool to room temp for packaging. These are best enjoyed within two days of baking.