In a stroke of genius the other week, I remembered that I had not yet used my gifted Madeleine pan. Chris and I were going to the store anyway, so I found this beautiful recipe at food52.com: Citrus Madeleines. Instead of a grapefruit, I grabbed an orange and paired it with the lemons already in our fridge. The first step required lots and lots of zesting. Towards the end my arms grew tired and I zested my finger a bit – Ouch!
One of my favorite parts came next: mixing the zest with sugar. The sugar coated the zest perfectly and it just looked beautiful.
The rest is your basic baked good recipe. Mix the dry and the wet separately, and then combine them until just barely mixed. I really attribute this step as a make or break moment in any baking project. It’s the difference between dry and dense or moist and fluffy. The latter of course being the preference.
A little more…
Here’s where my Madeleines turned gateau. While I was mixing the perfect batter, I asked Chris to pull out the Madeleine pan and prep it for baking. Just as the batter reached the barely mixed goal, Chris exclaimed that he couldn’t find the pan. I too searched high and low, but came up empty-handed. Thinking fast on our feet, we looked through the cabinet and chose a mini cake pan as a stand in. I was slightly disappointed, but still hopeful that they would taste delicious. Chris buttered the pan (with Smart Balance) and I lightly dusted it with flour. We then evenly divided the batter into each rectangle.
I topped them off with a few sliced almonds and popped them into the oven. They turned out a beautiful golden brown, although slightly sunken in from the weight of the almonds.
Taking a look at my final product, I dubbed the tiny cakes Petit Almond Citrus Gateau. I cut one in half and sampled the fruits of my labor. It was light, fluffy, and balanced. Chris had 2 cakes exclaiming that they were, “the best things we ever made.”
The next week Chris asked me to make the cakes again for his friends dessert and wine birthday party. We decided to bake them in a mini cupcake pan this time around.
These small cupcakes turned out a bit dry. I think they were just a bit overcooked. Next time I’ll adjust the baking time a bit more to accommodate for the smaller size – OR I’ll just get a Madeleine pan so I can do the batter justice in that playful shell shape.