Last Easter, my family and I eagerly tore open the Cake Pops package, our Pinterest boards fully stocked with cutesy pics of puffy sheep and ombre eggs and spiral tailed piglets; all perfectly crafted in a neat little row, surrounded by paper green grass. It’s a cake…it’s a pop…it’s adorable! How could we not make these? And how could we not succeed???
A few hours into the project our confidence waned. Frosting was splattered across all the kitchen counter tops, along with pieces of broken cake and fallen appendages from our would be chicks. In the end, we were left with only a handful of sad surviving pops that left our dinner guests asking “What the heck is that?” I’d post pictures, but they were borderline offensive.
It’s one of my fondest Easter memories. But this year, I’m ready for something new. Something much less fussy but still festive. Something cute but still elegant. Alas, I bring you the Madeleine!
These spongy little shell shaped cakes are moist without being too heavy and sweet without hurting your teeth. Traditionally, the ingredients are very minimal, with just a light sprinkle of lemon zest and dollop of honey; but to make things festive I added some shredded carrots and cinnamon. I felt kind of like a classy French rabbit eating these things…but in a good way. And if you’re still feeling cutesy, you could always put them in a bowl of paper grass and call them Bunny Bites. Enjoy!
Madeleines require a special pan but their rise in popularity has made them inexpensive and widely available. Because of their delicate shape I would opt for a nonstick or silicone variety like the one I used, available here.
Minimal ingredients needed: Melted butter, eggs, lemon zest, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla, carrots and cinnamon. I opted for fresh baby carrots which are sweeter than their larger counterparts.
Peel and shred carrots using a food processor or grater. Remove any large chunks.
Beat the eggs into the sugar and lemon zest for a few minutes. They should get slightly thick and fluffy.
Fold the dry ingredients and carrots into the mixture using a spatula. Add the melted butter last and stir until just combined.
It is very important to refrigerate the batter for at least three hours or overnight. The chill factor will help these madeleines form that classic hump on top. Spoon the cold batter into the molds until almost (but not completely) full. Silicone molds are a bit of a challange; if you bake them directly on a baking sheet, the bottoms will burn but it’s difficult to get the wobbly molds onto the oven rack without spilling. I found that placing the molds onto a metal (oven safe) cooling rack stabilized them without burning. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Madeleines are ready when the edges are golden brown and the center springs back to the touch. They are definitely not as good the second day so I would serve immediately and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Carrot Spiced Madeleines
Makes 12 large Madeleine Cakes
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside
In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers until evenly distributed. Add eggs and beat on medium-high speed (with hand mixer or whisk attachment) until thick and slightly foamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in vanilla until combined.
Using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the carrots, and fold in with the spatula until evenly distributed. Add the melted butter last and fold into the batter only slightly. Cover the surface of the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or preferably, overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If using a regular madeleine pan, generously grease the molds with butter and dust the flour. If using a nonstick madeleine pan, you should still lightly grease the molds. If using a silicone mold, no greasing is necessary.
Spoon the chilled batter into prepared molds until almost full, leaving a centimeter or so from the top. Place the molds on the center rack and bake until the edges are golden brown and the center of the madeleines spring back when touched, about 10-12 minutes (baking time will be less if you are using mini molds).
Remove from the oven and flip the molds over onto a cooling rack. You may need to tap the bottoms or use a butter knife with nonstick or traditional molds, but with silicone molds they should pop right out. Let the madeleines cool for a few minutes, dust with powdered sugar (if using) and serve immediately.
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours