French Madeleine cakes are a classic sweet to accompany equally classic great works of literature.
By Sarah Kenney
It was the last Literature Club get-together this year for my daughter. What fun these teen girls have meeting together, discussing wonderful literature. They enjoy snacking on little cakes and cookies that play into the theme of the literature. Each month, one of the group hosts a literature club based on the classics.
Jane Austin’s collection of wonderful masterpieces are popular choices for this group. You could pick up any one of these girls and transport them to that era and they would fit right in. I wanted to send my daughter with sweets that seemed fitting for something that might have been eaten during the time of Emma or Pride and Prejudice.
It was an easy decision. Hint…my daughter happens to be named Madeleine…hint, hint. What might be a classic cake or cookie? Les Madeleine cakes! These are so versatile and delicious for events like a Literature Club. They aren’t really cookies and they are too small to be considered cakes. The daintiness of the graceful shell pattern make them a quaint little party food.
The good thing about these delectable little cakes is that they are a snap to make. I have a non-stick Madeleine mold and these cakes cook nice and fluffy then slide easily out of the pan. My daughter just likes them plain but I have seen fruit dips that can be set in a bowl for dipping these cakes. I have also seen chocolate dipped Madeleines that add more richness making them more of a dessert than a snack. We decided to keep it simple and just sprinkle them with powdered sugar.
Since it was a Literature Club get-together, we thought packing these nicely in one of our “book boxes” would be a whimsical idea.
We lined the “book box” with a pretty napkin, arranged the Madeleine cakes snugly inside, and off she went to spend a wonderful evening with her girlfriends. Often, after discussing the literature they watch the movie version of the book. Beautiful scenes of dancing and parties are typically a part of any Jane Austen novel. How different society is today than when young Jane fretted over her future.
Les Madeleine cakes are such a classic sweet to accompany these great works of literature. They were discussing themes for next year and have chosen classic “fairy tale” novels and how they have changed in their modern interpretations. I just might have to read along the sidelines too… perhaps with a few Madeleines and a cup of tea to keep me company.
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅓ cup milk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- Beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla and half of the milk until thick and light yellow. Add the flour and baking powder bit by bit and continue mixing until smooth.
- Stir in the rest of the milk and the melted butter.
- Carefully grease your madeleine tray if necessary.
- Spoon about two tablespoons of batter into each mold.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 375°F. Cool on a rack.
- You could flavor your madeleines with different things, perhaps orange or lemon zest. A dusting of powdered sugar would look nice as well.
Sarah is an adventurous food photographer and writer who has moved six times with her family from the U.S. to Wales, Japan and back. They are affectionately known as "The Rolling Stones". She is a passionate chef who thinks that their experiences living in Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Missouri, Kansas, and now Texas culminate in shared meals and tales around the table as her family experiences each regions offerings of cuisine and culture. Texas is her current stop and good food and good times are a passion of this southern state. She writes about her foodie adventures in her blog "Snippets of Thyme".