lemon and lavender madeleines

i bought a madeleine tray over a year ago and until yesterday had never used it. i bought it because a lot of food blogs which i was reading at the time were writing about these light buttery cakes. it also reminded me of the most wonderful breakfasts we had in champagne one year, when each table in the b&b where we were staying was piled high with baked goods, fruit, bread and jam etc. the madeleines were a particular treat.

i decided to use a dan lepard recipe and chose lemon and lavender as my flavourings, rather than the vanilla he suggested. according to the recipe there is enough mixture for 12 madeleines. my madeleine tray might be smaller than is usual(each cake is c2” in length and the tray holds 9) but the mixture would have easily made 18. as a result, i made two batches but the second ones weren’t worth the effort – because the batter had to sit aside for fifteen minutes while the first batch baked, they were much heavier and really didn’t taste as good. next time i shall only make half quantities, which isn’t a bad thing as madeleines need eating quickly as they go stale after a few hours.

lemon and lavender madeleines* (makes 12-18)

2 large eggs

60g caster sugar

60g unsalted butter

zest of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon dried lavender flowers

60g plain flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

butter for the tin

preheat the oven to 210c and butter the inside of your madeleine tin. warm the eggs first: place them, shells unbroken, in a cup, pour near-boiling water over them and leave for five minutes. warm a bowl as well, then break in the eggs, add the sugar and beat with an electric whisk for five minutes, until thick and doubled in volume.

melt the butter, add the lemon and lavender and set aside. sift the flour and baking powder together, then very gently fold them through the egg mix, followed by the butter, until lightly and evenly combined.

spoon some of the mixture into each madeleine pocket and bake for approx 12 minutes, until well risen and slightly scorched at the edges. remove from the oven, unmould immediately, then set aside to cool.

* based on a dan lepard recipe