Orange Madeleines I & II; and an Apple cake!

While surfing the net for information on Language and Gender (oooh what a bore…) I came across a few blogs that talked about the 365 project. Apparently it’s this project where you have to take a picture every day for – duh – 365 days! Hmmm thinking about giving it a try, but wondering if it’s the right time to go about doing it seeing as how this year is supposed to be the most important year of my life according to my parents.

Anyway! This is the first post that I’m writing from scratch hurrah! That means I would have to think. Oh bother.

After reading Bea’s many posts about her baking endeavors and seeing the pictures of her madeleines, I was suddenly super inspired to bake madeleines! Oh BTW these madeleines were baked way before Mother’s Day, so I was more inexperienced then. But brave-oh me decided to give it a shot, and I ended up attempting Orange Madeleines, no, not once, but twice. The first attempt was pretty far back, say about 2-3 months ago? The second one was just 3 weeks ago! And I must say that there’d been some pretty good improvements (:

At my first attempt, my madeleines did not rise as beautifully as expected. More accurately, it rose nicely, then deflated after like an hour. So it ended up really flat… :( at least it didn’t taste bad! In fact it tasted awesome! Just slightly oily. I figured that was because I probably greased the pans a little too much for fear that they would stick?

I felt that they browned nicely, and that the orange taste was very explicit! LOVED IT. They were so delicious I couldn’t wait for them to cool before eating them! So I gobbled down most of them the moment they came out of the oven teehee! The thing is, my oven’s pretty small, and my molds can only hold 5 madeleines. So I ended up baking for a good old 40 min to get about 20 madeleines done.

Then I realised that the first few batches were really pretty, and not too oily either. It was the last 2 batches that became really oily. I guessed that it must be because the madeleines released some oil while baking or something, so by greasing the molds before every batch, I’m effectively double greasing it. So the second time I made them, there were a few adjustments: I only greased my pans for the first batch.

This time they didn’t have that pretty shade of brown like my previous attempt :( and the shell shapes weren’t too obvious. Sigh found out that not greasing my pans before every batch caused the shell shapes to ‘disappear’ cause they stick to the molds! Had to scrape them out with spoons, thus ruining their shapes. But I was really satisfied with the way they rose though! Haha you can tell from the pictures that their humps are really obvious and high this time! Beautiful.

Similarly, I couldn’t wait and tasted the first batch right after it came out from the oven. I was really anxious this time round, cause I made a mistake while preparing the batter. The recipe called for the zest of one orange. So I asked my overly-enthusiastic sister to help me with this while I finished my essay. When I came down, she grinned and said “SEE?! I’VE DONE SUCH A GREAT JOB!” I looked down, and realised she grated the ENTIRE orange, including its flesh. *smacks head against the wall* So I had to drain off the juice, remove some of the pulp, and hope that the taste would not be overly diluted. Luckily it turned out just fine! :D

Happily I finished all the batter, put it in the fridge, and brought it to school for our class party the next day. Where my teacher dipped every madeleine into his cup of coffee.

I think the difference in the colour and the height of the bumps are quite obvious here!

So that happened on the second last day of the term. When my holidays started two days later, I was sooooo in the mood for baking, and so I made an Apple and Olive oil cake from Bea’s recipe. She’s my inspiration!

Sadly blur-like-sotong me forgot that sauteed apples needed to be cooled before adding them to a batter with eggs. I stupidly did that, and ended up with a more custard-ish ‘cake’. If you could even call it a cake.

Everytime I stuck a toothpick in, it came out clammy and wet. So I kept thinking that my cake wasn’t done and continued baking even though the top turned black and burnt like that above. Luckily the inside wasn’t horrid! The ‘custard’ was cooked after an extra hour of baking! Most importantly, IT TASTED GOOD. That was the response from my relatives and my father. Yes, my father who never reacts positively to anything I cook actually said that these were good. Strike one for me.

Why it didn’t turn out to be a disaster, was apparently because it tasted custard-ish. My relatives commented that its custard texture made it more special, and gave it this extra tang that normal cakes don’t have. And that’s what they loved about it. So now my dad has requested this cake as his birthday cake! Hmmm…don’t know if I’d be able to recreate it…

Thanks to those positive reviews, my only complain about this attempt was that the cake looked super ugly. Not aesthetically pleasing at all. As a humanities and arts student, that is totally unacceptable by me >.< what to do what to do~

Till tomorrow! ♥

Orange Madeleines (makes 20)

3 large eggs
5 1/4 oz all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
4.5 oz fine sugar
zest of an orange, finely grated
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon honey

1. Melt the butter and let it cool.

2. Sift the flour with the baking powder.

3. Beat eggs. Add sugar, honey and orange zest then beat till white and light. Add the flour and baking powder, folding with a wooden spoon/spatula. Add the melted butter and mix well till homogenous.

4. Refrigerate the batter for minimum 2 hours.

5. Preheat the oven at 220C. Grease and flour madeleine molds.

6. Fill the molds 3/4 full. Bake for 6 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C and continue baking for another 4-5 minutes. Remove and let cool before eating, if you can resist!

Apple and Olive Oil Cake
Recipe adapted from Bea

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 apples, peeled, cored and diced finely
1/2 cup blond cane sugar + 2 tablespoons for the apples
1 vanilla bean , split open and seeds scraped out
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon thyme (optional)
4 eggs
Pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
200g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4-1/3 cup milk ← I added this the second time I made this cake, which I did RIGHT, because the cake was too dry and dense without it!

1. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When warm, add the diced apples with 2 tablespoons sugar, the vanilla bean and seeds and cook for 5 minutes, or until the apples are softer. Discard the vanilla bean; set aside. Alternatively, cook the apples with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a 10-inch mold and set aside.

3. In a bowl, combine the flours and baking powder and lemon thyme, if using. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the olive oil, milk and and then the flours. Fold the apples in the cake batter. Transfer the batter to the mold and bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out dry. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.

What I did instead, was to add the apples to the batter at the third step immediately after it was cooked. So the apples were so hot that it became a custard-ish cake LOL.

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