Madeline Cakes

madelineIn an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, 
 lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. 
 In two straight lines they broke their bread, 
 and brushed their teeth, and went to bed. 
 They smiled at the good, and frowned at the bad,  
 and sometimes they were very sad. 
 They left the house at half past nine, 
 in two straight lines, in rain or shine
  the smallest one was Madeline.

I don’t know what it is about these cakes, that made me think immediately of my childhood storybook friend, Madeline. Is it their little raspberry hats? No, Madeline wears a yellow hat. Is it the two straight lines? Could be…but to be honest, I only arranged them like that after the thought of Madeline entered my head.

Hmmm. What is it?

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After two years of being away, it feels fantastic to be back on my home turf. My oven is an old friend; despite those seven-hundred-and-thirty days we spent apart, I’d say he shouldered off the bitterness and warmed up to me rather quickly. My favorite apron, the sassy red one, which Mom painted “Top Chef” on for me fifteen years ago is fervently whirling me around the kitchen floor – yes, she’s a dancer. It’s a jovial reunion. The only one missing is my busboy, Luke. He was an efficient worker who always cleaned the floor instantaneously and gave me the most encouraging faces, no matter what. And that is a big loss.

Nevertheless, the kitchen is my haven, my home, a happy place. There are no rules, no order, but rather creativity, experimentation, and delicious unknowns yet to be tasted. Yes, sometimes I do hit a wall: for example, it took me three tries to get this lemon icing just right! But with re-runs and resilience, I learn a ton and somehow manage to pull off pretty sweet successes.

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AS SOON AS I SAW THESE CAKES on Smells Like Home‘s baking blog, I was in love, in adoration, and in awe. I just had to give it my best shot!

The lemon cake has a perfectly dense crumb. It is sweet, with a soft deepness of lemon flavor, and not at all overpowering. I topped it with a lemony twist on my favorite whipped cream icing (which I am so glad to have learned from Our Best Bites).   Mmm, you know what?  Now that you’ve got me talking about it, I think I know what makes these Madeline Cakes!

FullSizeRender_3It’s the raspberry curd filling, hidden inside. Yup. These soft lemon cakes with lemony whipped icing look like perfect sweethearts. But, inside, invisible to the naked eye, is a generous dollop of bold berry curd. Made with macerated berries, egg yolks, and a splash of fresh orange juice, this curd adds mischievous elements of daring, adventure, and absolute wonder to the cakes. Just like our little Madeline adds to all of France.

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She was not afraid of mice-she loved winter, snow, and ice.
 To the tiger in the zoo, Madeline just said, “Pooh-pooh!”
 And nobody knew so well
 how to frighten Miss Clavel.

These were a pleasure to make, beautiful to adore, and the best to taste! Keep on reading below for the recipe, and please ask me if you have any questions. Happy Baking.

Much love,

More later,

SONIA

 

Recipe: Madeline’s Fresh Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry CurdFullSizeRender_1

Summary: Timeless, spunky, downright joyful.

Number of servings (yield): 24 cupcakes

Lemon Cakes: adapted from Smells Like Home.

  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour (If you do not have cake flour on hand, you can easily make your own with all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Check out these helpful instructions.)
  • 2 ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 5 large egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • ¾ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.
  3. In clean bowl #1, mix together cake flour (or all-purpose and cornstarch substitute), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a clean metal bowl #2, using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and then increase speed to medium-high. Beat until stiff peaks form when you lift up the whisks. Set aside.
  5. In a clean bowl #3, using an electric mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until well incorporated. Add lemon zest.
  6. Add approximately ¼ cup of milk to the butter mixture (bowl #3) and mix until well combined. Gradually begin adding the flour mixture (bowl #1) to this batter, alternating with the remaining milk. End with the flour mixture. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing.
  7. Now comes the tricky work. Using a rubber spatula, fold in approximately 1/3 of the egg white mixture (bowl# 2) to the batter. Use slow, gentle strokes so as to not deflate the lift of the egg whites. Gently add the remainder of the egg whites to the mixture, including any runny liquid that make have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. Fold until well combined.
  8. Using a large spoon or ice-cream scoop, fill the each muffin cup to about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cakes are a golden brown and pass the toothpick test.
  9. Cool completely before decorating.

Raspberry Curd: adapted from Smells Like Home.

*You can make this 2-3 days before, and keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries or 1 12-oz. package frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add raspberries, egg yolks, honey, and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until berries dissolve and mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour mixture through a course sieve over a clean bowl to strain out the seeds of the raspberries. Press hard with a spoon against the sieve in order to squeeze out all the smooth curd.
  4. Stir in lemon juice. Let cool completely. Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.
  5. Cover and store in the fridge until use.

Whipped Lemon Frosting: adapted from Our Best Bites.

  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (not powdered!)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Whisk together flour and milk in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir continuously with a rubber spatula, breaking down any lumps of flour. Cook until mixture has a smooth consistency of thick pudding or paste.
  2. Cool the flour/milk mixture completely until it is no longer warm. You can put it in the fridge or on the counter top. Stir it a few times to prevent a crust from forming on top.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. While beating, add in flour/milk paste, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  4. Scrape down the sides and beat away! The mixture will look messy and start to separate at first, but do not worry. After about 7-8 minutes of continuous beating, the mixture will come together into a beautiful light and fluffy frosting.
  5. Check if it is ready by taking some frosting in your fingers to feel if the sugar has completely dissolved.
  6. Store in a cool place.

Assembly

  1. Using a knife (I used the back-end of my frosting tip), make small craters in the top centers of each cupcake, about half-way deep. Scoop out the lemon cake and put aside for munching.
  2. Cut the corner off of a zip lock bag and use this to fill your cupcakes with the decadent raspberry curd. Fill each cupcake crater to just below the brim.FullSizeRender_4
  3. Ice your cakes. You can use a piping bag and piping tips, or you can make your own with a zip-lock bag.
And she turned out the light -
 and closed the door -
 and that's all there is -
 there isn't any more.

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