plum and amaranth cake

unbaked plum cakebaked plum cakeIt is rare for something to just actually not taste good at all. Things may be a bit burnt, a bit too sweet or not sweet enough. Textures may be off, a bit too dry or wet or starchy. Flavours may work better apart then they do together.

This was one of those disasters that are just irrefutably disastrous: this cake did not taste good. It was musty, and in fact, nigh mouldy tasting.

I suspect the amaranth flour.

The other possible culprit is the perilla seeds–but I was fairly sure it was not them. They have a pleasant, toasty tea sort of taste, so far from what the cake actually tasted like.

Our more convincing suspect, amaranth flour, is rather new to me. I recently acquired some and decided to give it a try. The smell of the flour didn’t impress: it was quite moist and strange. That being said, I normally don’t expect flour to smell that delicious, so I set those concerns aside and went ahead to use 50% amaranth flour…which, if I wanted to taste it, I figured was a good place to start.

Hmm. Well, I certainly tasted it.

So after trying the cake, I turned to everyone’s dear old friend in times of trouble, Google, master of The Interwebs. Likely succumbing to phenomenon of confirmation bias, I directed my search to carefully look only for sources which confirmed what I had experienced: maybe amaranth doesn’t taste so good.

I found an interesting blog post from someone who had a similar experience. The flour smelled quite musty, and an unfortunate flavour lingered in baked goods. She also did her reading: 15% amaranth content in bread was as high as this paper recommended without taste deficits. I quite admire her idea to turn to the literature (one must use that institutional subscription for something, no?).

Poking around myself though, I found that amaranth could be used quite effectively at 25% in cookies, providing a golden brown colour, crisper texture and slightly superior flavour ratings–described as “malty and sweet”.

Oh my. So what is the consensus?

It seems that amaranths pleasantly earthy character comes out best in lower doses. Though depending on the source, the dosage varies. I’ll be sure to apprehensively give amaranth another try. I did notice the cake had a very tender and soft crumb, credit which probably goes to the amaranth flour.

plum, amaranth and perilla seed cake

Adapted from the 1:1:1:1 ratio of a Victoria sponge cake. 

100 g butter

60 g brown sugar

2 eggs

50 g amaranth flour

50 g all purpose flour

scant 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

pinch baking soda

10 g roasted and ground perilla seed

45 g milk

6 small plums, cut in half

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8″ square pan and line with a parchment sling.

Cream the butter with the sugar, and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Separately, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda and perilla seeds. Mix the flour into the butter, and then beat in the milk. Spread into the prepared pan and top with the plum halves.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer removes only with a few crumbs clinging.


lilac shortbread

I have a goal.

100 posts by tentimestea’s second birthday. Doable?

AHAHA maybe not. I just realized how soon it’s coming up.

So, instead: 90 posts?

Perhaps. Just expect a lot of strange, unedited, half written/half rambled/half pounded-out-while-mostly-asleep blog posts. Business as per usual.

This is the last instalment to the (very short) lilac saga, which began with this cake posted last week.

It’s a quick one…and unfortunately not too successful. The sugar is very perfumey but not much was translated into the shortbread.My mother, who has a much better palate and considerably more insightful sense of taste than me, suggested that rather than the floral taste, a bit of the pungency of the lilacs came out, and the cookies tasted a bit as though they were made with cultured butter. I even thought they smelled a bit like cheese while they were baking. But in a very good way, if this does not already sound too strange.Anyways, they’re not at all appalling. The 1:2:3 ratio produces a very fine cookie–buttery and a bit crumbly.

It’s just that they’re not noticeably lilac shortbread. I wonder whether more lilacs with the sugar would have helped…So, what can be done with this lilac sugar? I came across this brilliant lilac sugar doughnut recipe on Hummingbird High, which I think would be especially nice if filled with a rich pastry cream. In a similar vein, perhaps something like scones (the tops brushed with milk and generously sprinkled with sugar) would also be able to preserve a bit of the fragrance of the sugar. Snickerdoodles are rolled in sugar? Any other ideas?

I also have a cake coming up with a lilac sugar and crème fraÎche whipped cream (spoiler: it worked! you can taste something!). 

lilac sugar

Fill a jar with lilac flowers (if washed, dried completely) and granulated sugar. Screw tight and allow to sit for a few days before use.

lilac cookies

Follow the 3 flour:2 butter:1 sugar (by mass) ratio, using lilac sugar and half spelt flour. Press into a square log, roll the outside in additional lilac sugar, and chill completely.

Slice thinly and bake at 375F for 7 to 10 minutes or until they appear dry and just firm, but not browned.

slightly unlucky fatt gou

I wanted to write a very beautiful post. I wanted to write about how my great-grandmother would make these cakes, a thin batter sweetened with brown sugar and steamed in tea cups. I wanted to write about how the four peaks spoke to prosperity in the new year.

Instead, my first draft was not any of this. It was all standard tentimestea, about the actual making. I wrote about the trial and error. I made 7 batches in a dogged attempt to end up with a gift for my grandparents, a cake whose top split into four. I explained the details of each batch—how too much gluten made the cake too strong to split open properly, but the wheat starch helped make the top of the cake smoother. I wrote about how the true secret to these cakes was me turning to the Internet and finding a recipe to work from.I wrote about how I kept on trying until I ended up with one (and only one) perfect cake.

When I brought that one and a few other failures to my grandparents, my grandpa laughed. He told me that when Ah Ma made them and they didn’t turn out, she would cut the cakes into pieces right away and say “eat!”

Hearing that story made me feel embarrassed. I had become a bit obsessed with trying to replicate the image of the cake that I had in my head, enough to make a quantity of steamed cakes to last me for a couple weeks. I thought that was the way to go about it. And it is. It is one approach, and a relatively effective one, but this time, for this cake, it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be.It should have been about a tradition that hasn’t really been maintained and should have been about my family and listening carefully to my grandparents’ stories about the past. I wasn’t honouring my great-grandmother’s resilience or her care for tradition. I wasn’t sharing much luck with my grandparents either. I was just trying to make a pretty cake.

The recipe that follows is completely un-double-tested. I’ll return to it next year, and maybe then I’ll make it perfectly. And hopefully this strange drive for perfection will carry forwards to some other things I make…now that would be useful.Above is a representative sampling of the cakes that were made. The final batch had a splitting success of 75% (i.e. 3 out of the 4), and just one split into 4 peaks.

So it’s a bit late for the new year, but here they are. These are being brought to Angie’s Fiesta Friday! This week is cohosted by the marvellous Margy of La Petite Casserole and the splendid Su of Su’s Healthy Living.


fatt gou

Adapted from this video. Makes 4 small cakes. I read about the vinegar tip in the comments–it’s really great (thanks MODgal81!). The cakes are best eaten at room temperature (not chilled) and are definitely nicest fresh. Re-steaming old cakes helps. The photos above are remarkably false in two ways: 1) I used a metal steamer, not the bamboo steamer (it wasn’t tall enough) and 2) I used brown sugar, not rock sugar…I just happened to find the rock sugar in the cupboard after the fact and thought that might have been nice to use. 

92 g rice flour

8 g wheat starch

pinch salt

6 g baking powder

120 mL water

30 g brown sugar

Fill a steamer with water, tie a towel as tautly as possible around the cover if metal, to prevent dripping, and set it over high heat.

Whisk together flour, starch, salt and baking powder. Separately, mix together the brown sugar and water. Combine the two mixtures.

Evenly divide the batter between four buttered and sturdy teacups. Using a chopstick dipped in vinegar, trace a cross over each cake to encourage splitting into 4 peaks. Steam for around 15 minutes. Check if the cakes are done by inserting a skewer.

Let cool at least five minutes or so and allow the tops of the cakes to firm up before loosening the edges and removing from the tea cups.

goat cheese cake with inedible onion greens and figs

“They’ll be like leeks,” my mom assured, handing me a handful of fist-sized onions. They dangled, like insignificant baubles, on the end of two-foot tapered lengths of green. “Just look at them…they look just like leeks.”Sawing off a piece of was, I imagined, only slightly easier than slicing a thin piece of plywood in half with a paring knife. (Okay, with a serrated paring knife.)

A cross-section of this onion green looked nothing like a leek. It was hollow, rigid and fibrous. But I thought that it might cook down and soften…like a leek.I tossed the slices generously with olive oil and gently roasted them for 20 minutes. They came out dried and even tougher than before.I then took these same half-roasted slices of onion green and started to pan fry them for a few minutes, and then simmered them for another half hour. It started to smell quite nice, of slowly cooked onions and oil and salt and pepper.

But it was still like eating a twig.“Well,” I told my younger cousin, who was watching the whole debacle with wide eyes and an air of well-justified skepticism, “maybe it will soften once I bake it again on the cheesecake.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Maybe.”

I think she was just being nice.I piled it on top of the cake (embedding it in the middle would make it impossible to remove were I to need to backtrack) and proceeded to bake the cake.

I let it cool, topped it with figs and dressing, and cut myself a slice. It went as you might expect.

goat cheese cake with inedible onion greens and figs

While I’m sure what I’ve written above is an effective disclaimer, to reiterate, apparently neither I nor my mom have too much experience with mature onion greens…

hazelnut crust

I would add some more oil to this crust. It was a bit dry and a bit too powdery. Edit Sept 27: Hilda suggested adding a bit of applesauce to the crust instead of more oil, which sounds marvellous.  

35 g red fife flour

15 g all purpose flour

15 hazelnuts, toasted and finely ground

pinch salt

15 g olive oil

10 g milk

Mix together all ingredients except for the milk and oil. Drizzle in the oil and toss to form a clumpy sort of dough, then add the milk and combine until just mixed.


cheesecake filling

15 cm length of onion green

80 g soft unripened goat cheese

 2 spoonful yoghurt

1 egg yolk



few leaves sage and parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

Slice the onion green into thin rounds (or really, please just substitute a green onion–there is quite a difference–or skip it all together). Put some olive oil in a pan and cook gently until you can begin to smell the onion. Add a whole generous cupful of water and gently simmer until the water is gone. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cream the goat cheese until smooth, add the yoghurt, then the egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the handful of herbs.

Press the crust into the bottom of a 12-cm springform pan; you will use only around 2/3 of it. Add the cheesecake filling.

Arrange (or do not) the onion greens overtop.



2 green figs

1 tbsp light-tasting oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

dash dijon, Worcestershire, honey

salt, pepper

Whisk together everything except the figs. Slice the figs into sixths or quarters. Arrange the figs on top of the cake and drizzle with the vinaigrette.


Edit Sept 27: And some additional onion green wisdom that I thought might be useful to share… Johanne mentioned that leaving the greens in water for a while can help with the toughness. Angie circumvented the whole how-do-I-eat-this issue by suggesting that the onion greens be used to infuse and flavour broth.

pistachio, cardamom, and rose mille crepe (& Liebster questions)

I’ve been thinking of baklava a lot recently. I’m not really sure why, apart from that I recently saw the GBBO baklava episode. But regardless, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and so then I decided to make a mille crepe. (Typical.)I went with the triumvirate of cardamom, rose and pistachio as the main flavouring, flavouring the pastry cream with cardamom, rose (and a bit of rosewater) as well as a small bit of orange blossom water. Ground pistachio was added between the layers, and I glazed the top with a syrup of honey, lemon and orange juice.

In the end it still wasn’t what I wanted–so I guess I really did want to have some baklava after all.

Also, (ack–it’s been over a month–I’m afraid I didn’t see it at first!) but Angie from Angie’s Kitchen Shenanigans nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you! Angie blogs about her kitchen shenanigans, which, far from shenanigans, are actually marvellously delicious food adventures. They range from searching for the elusive bluefish to make the perfect sancocho de pescado (I’ll leave it to you to read more to find out whether she locates one!) or sharing incredible recipes such as this mofongo which sounds incredibly appealing with those pork cracklings!

The Liebster award process is a bit exhausting, so while I won’t give nominations again (you can see my previous nominations here), I thought I’d answer the questions because that’s always plenty of fun!

1. What is the best time of day for you?

I like mid-morning. By then I’m usually cognizant and I feel like I have a lot of the day ahead of me still.

2. Of everything on this planet, what drives you bonkers?

That’s a difficult question! All I can think of at the moment is myself. I do irritate and confound myself a lot.

3. What is your favourite past time?

Oh, that should be obvious…taxidermy! (No, I was just trying to be a bit exciting. It’s baking. Baking.)

4. Are you living your dream, what is it?

One of my dreams was to have a food blog. So yes, I suppose I am living it! Another aspect of this was to have a fantastic food blog. Hopefully I’ll get there some day.

5. Make a list of inspiration moments.

Other food blogs are constantly inspiring me. Otherwise, it’s everyday acts of kindness from the people around me. It does sound a bit cliche, but I’m afraid it’s very very true.

6. Are you city, country, or a suburbs kind of person?

Without a doubt, city. Though small-ish city.

7. Indoors or outdoors?

I like both.

8. If you were an animal, what would you be, and why?

If not human, maybe a sloth. It would be comfortable and leisurely, although also a bit dull.

9. Tell me one thing you love about yourself?

Hmm. I like that I like to bake.

10. Why do you blog?

To keep an organized and easily navigable record of what I bake. And it’s fun to be able to connect with others, so I’m very glad I started!

Recipe notes:

I also had some issues with the mille-crepe itself. It was rather pasty or floury–I think this resulted from two contributing factors. First, I need to cook my crepes more. I get a bit impatient and remove them as soon as they’ve firmed up, but really some colour and more thorough cooking would leave a less pallid and flabby impression.

Second, while I liked the flavour of the pastry cream, with the crepes, the flour taste came out. I thought I managed to cook most of the flour taste out, but apparently not, so perhaps next time I’d try using a cornstarch-based pastry cream.

Finally, while I liked how the glaze gave it some shine and finish, and it reminded me of baklava, I found it unnecessarily sweet. I also found the lemon and orange flavour overly concentrated and too sour–in retrospect, I would leave it off. It did, however, make it seem more like baklava. But really, I should just try to make baklava instead of all of this roundabout nonsense.


Pistachio, rose and cardamom mille crepe


I made 15 serviceable crepes that were around 8″. Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

1 1/2 c flour

2 c milk

3 eggs

pinch salt

spoon sugar

2 tbsp melted and cooled butter or neutral oil

Whisk together flour, sugar and salt; beat in the milk and eggs. Finally whisk in the butter or oil. Strain the batter through a fine sieve.

Proceed to make the crepes: Brush a pan with butter or oil and heat over medium. Pour in the necessary amount of crepe batter and swirl to coat the surface of the pan. Let cook until the edges are dried; loosen with a spatula and flip over using fingertips.

Cook until both sides are lightly browned.


Pastry cream

Adapted from creme diplomat, Bouchon Bakery, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. I think stabilizing with gelatin was unnecessary, though I’m not sure. Next time I would have also added more whipped cream than I did. This made enough cream for 12 layers.   

As a note, Elizabeth suggested using 1/4 c cornstarch in place of the flour with better results.

2 c milk

6 small green cardamom pods

a few dried rose flowers

4 egg yolks

55 g sugar (or substitute honey, using a bit less)

80 g flour

20 g butter

1/4 tsp rose water (or to taste; you’ll likely have sufficient rose flavour from the infusion)

1/2 tsp orange blossom water

1.5 g gelatin

15 mL cold water

15 mL hot water

150 g whipping cream

Heat milk, cardamom and rose flowers until steaming. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes or so to infuse.

Whisk eggs and sugar until light; add in flour and beat until pale and thick.

Pull out cardamom pods and rose flowers, return milk to the heat. Once steaming, gradually pour into egg mixture, whisking. Return to the saucepan. Cook, whisking, until the pastry cream has started to thicken. Switch to a wooden spoon and beat thoroughly as the pastry cream thickens thoroughly. Taste to ensure that flour is cooked.

Remove from heat, beat to let cool a bit, and then beat in the butter, rosewater and orange blossom water. Cover and let pastry cream cool completely.

Meanwhile, bloom gelatin in cold water, then dissolve in hot water (heat additionally if necessary).

Whip cream until stiff.

Add a dollop of cooled pastry cream to gelatin mixture, whisking until incorporated. Add this back into the remaining pastry cream, beating thoroughly to loosen.

Lighten the pastry cream by folding in 1 scoop of whipped cream, then fold in remainder. Chill until ready to use.



1/2 c finely ground pistachios

a couple tablespoons honey



long curls lemon, orange zest

chopped pistachios

dried rose petals

Start with a crepe and spread a thin layer of pastry cream overtop. Sprinkle some ground pistachios over top and repeat until either the filling or crepes are used up (for me it was the filling–12 crepes worth).

Let cake sit overnight in the refrigerator to set.

Before serving, heat the honey and some orange and lemon juice in a small saucepan to a slightly thick consistency. Use this to glaze the top of the mille crepe.

Finish by sprinkling with lemon zest, orange zest, chopped pistachios, and dried rose petals. The ground pistachio also looks nice, but it’s best to do that only right before serving; otherwise it does get a bit soggy and messy.

orange and chestnut cream rolled cake

I’m hesitant to call this a recipe; I think perhaps a “cautionary tale” is the more appropriate description.

(This poor lighting fits the sinister mood…!)

This is an incredibly ugly cake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually incredibly proud I managed to end up with anything in a vaguely cake-like form at all, but that doesn’t detract from the simple truth of it’s poor showing in the aesthetics department.

I didn’t realize it until I was done, but the appeal of roll cakes comes from a colour contrast between the cake and the filling. What other reason would it be sliced so as to show off the its whimsical spiral? However both my cake (due to the chestnut flour) and my filling (due to the poorly incorporated chestnut puree) turned out a mottled beige sort of colour, which is hardly pleasant on its own and even less so in two slightly different shades.

Had I been thinking more, I would have made either a chocolate sponge or added some chocolate to filling, which would have made some improvement in colour contrast.

In retrospect, I think I may have also rolled the cake the wrong way. I never actually thought about this until I actually got to the point where I had to roll cake. Since this cake had fairly low gluten and was a weak and flimsy disaster, I should have put the top crust on the outside—that probably had a bit more tensile strength that the crustless bottom (or at least in my case with such a fragile cake).

I wrapped the cake in a towel and then put it in a bag overnight; it would have been better to make the filling and completed the cake all in the same day–most of my top crust peeled off with the tea towel.

I also spread my cake batter unevenly, resulting it a cake with a wide middle and thin edges. I did have a fix for that however—once my cake was wrapped in plastic wrap, I squished the wider part, moving the filling to the thinner edges. It was not, all in all, the best!

Finally, happy Fiesta Friday! Hosted by the hospitable Angie, the Novice Gardener, and cohosted by the lovely Ginger from Ginger & Bread and the wonderful Loretta from Safari of the Mind. Last week was an unusual (for me) success, so I thought this week I should post one of my failures – after all, things rarely turn out well the first time for me! I’ve had it sitting in my drafts for a couple months now. It’s certainly a bit drab but I always find I have more to say and learn about a failure than anything else!

Recipe notes:

Not really a recipe worth taking note of, really. But as my first rolled cake, we all must start somewhere!

Orange and chestnut cream rolled cake

Orange chestnut sponge cake

Along the same lines as this chestnut sponge I made previously. This is what I did. I think it was somewhat disastrous. The cake itself was very weak-perhaps less chestnut flour (no gluten) would have helped. I also rolled it such that the top of the cake was on the inside of the roll (i.e. it was compressed) and the bottom of the cake was on the outside of the roll (i.e. it was stretched). I’m not sure if that was the right way to do it as the bottom of the cake cracked horrendously—perhaps I should have stretched the top of the cake with the crust instead.

3 eggs

90 g flour

30 g chestnut flour

80 g sugar

zest of ½ orange

Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13” pan. Line the bottom with parchment.

Beat the eggs until foamy, slowly add the sugar whisking. Whisk in the orange zest. Continue to beat until well tripled, light and fluffy.

Sift the chestnut flour over top and fold.

Fold in the flour in two additions.

Scrape into the pan, tilt to level.

Bake around 15 minutes or until the cake is only very lightly browned on top.

Let cool for 10 or so minutes before loosening the edges with a butter knife and then tipping over onto a piece of parchment paper on a tray. Peel the parchment off. Place a tea towel over top of the cake. Place another tray or cutting board overtop that and invert everything. The top of the cake should be face up.

Roll the cake up inside the tea towel – i.e make a jelly roll with the tea towel as the filling. Let cool completely.

Chestnut cream filling

Adapted from chestnut cake filling in Robert Peterson’s Baking. Because it was going into a roll cake I decided to add gelatin in hopes that it would help it stabilize.

105 g chestnut puree

capful rum

sugar, to taste

150 g cream, divided

2 g powdered gelatin

6 g cold water

12 g hot water

Beat the chestnut puree in a bowl with the rum until smooth and loosened. Add sugar to desired sweetness.

Whip 130 g of the cream to stiff peaks.

Bloom the powdered gelatin with 6 g cold water. Add 12 g hot water and stir to dissolve.

Gradually whisk the remaining 20 g of cream into the dissolved gelatin mixture. Beat this into the whipped cream.

Fold one scoop of the whipped cream into the chestnut puree to lighten.

Then fold in the remaining cream.

Chill until ready to assemble.


I used the chestnut cream immediately without letting the gelatin set. This resulted in a rather sloppy cake rolling, but it firmed up nicely after being chilled. Perhaps it would have been easier to use the chestnut cream when it was cold.

1 bag roasted and peeled chestnuts.

Gently unroll the cake and trim the shorter (9”) ends. Spread the filling over the cake, leaving a small border on one 9” end (the end of the roll). Make a higher pile of filling right on the other 9” end (the beginning of the roll)

In the “piled” filling on one end, nestle a line of chestnuts, ensuring they are level with the filling.

Starting from that end with the chestnuts, roll up the cake, using the tea towel as necessary to help.

Wrap the rolled cake tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling has firmed.

Trim each end off before serving. Or don’t. It didn’t really look any better in my case.

grapefruit rose madeleines (& dear reader)

Maybe I’m putting too much in one place. This post should cover blogging 101 assignments 3&4, as well as a recipe to submit to Fiesta Friday chez Novice Gardener!

Dear Ideal Reader, or so states assignment #4.

Yes, I blog for myself. But I also like the idea of blogging with someone else in mind.

However, when I heard the term ideal reader, nobody in particular came up, not even any defining characteristics. I realize this is because, quite simply, my ideal reader is probably you.

What I really want is for you to be interested (even only mildly) in what it is that I’ve baked, or even in what I’m writing (as unlikely as that may be).

It doesn’t matter whether or not baking is something you do at all just so long as perhaps I make you somewhat hungry or moderately inspired to bake something yourself. Or buy something. Or something like that. (Or nothing really at all; I do have low standards).

(Besides, if you’re reading this I think you’re quite a nice person already, so I’m rather fond of you!)

Assignment #3 was to follow five other bloggers. Here are some people that I’ve recently begun following, who I’m particularly excited about (though there are so many more!)

  1. From-the-ground-up blog: Boonie Adjacent – The tagline is “turning home into a homestead, one day at a time.” Well written posts on a number of interesting projects, including small scale agriculture and fermentation (!) such as miso.
  2. Science-y blog: Picture It – Somehow affiliated with the chemistry department at the University of Bristol, there’s quite a bit on food chemistry–really interesting and fun to read!
  3. Baking blog(s) (How could I choose just 1??):
    1. Beslington of Baker St – A bit of a newer blog, I’m excited to see what other “classic” baked goods he turns out, such as his Victoria sponge…
    2. Morning Brew and Tea – So many delicious things that I’d like to try to make! A lovely baking blog with nice photos and interesting recipes.
    3. foodlikecake – I love cake. So, enough said. But this blog is also simple and sweet and straightforwards.
  4. Photo blog: Chemistry – While there are only a couple posts at the moment, this looks to be very clearly and conscientiously designed, and the photos, beautiful.
  5. Culture blog: Hallyu Stranger – Again, only a couple posts so far, however this blog on her exploration of Korean culture has so far shown itself to be very thoughtful, not at all culturally insensitive, and, I think, a good read.

And now, onto the recipe…

I’ve still yet to make successful madeleines.

Or at least I think so…I’ve never had a madeleine made by anyone other than myself (there may be a deficit of good and affordable bakeries where I live), and from what I’ve heard, madeleines are terribly divine.

These are not quite.

They are not bad, but they are not spectacular in the way I hoped they would be.

Recipe notes

I think the flavour inspiration came from a soap–at least that’s what it sounds like to me, but all I ended up with was the bitterness of the grapefruit instead of its floral notes. Perhaps rubbing the zest in sugar would have helped a bit?

It’s likely just our oven, but I found a higher temperature was better as I prefer more browning.

Lastly, these madeleines did not take on the distinctive shape with the hump in the middle and sharp edges. Instead they rose in a sort of sloppy, non-committal manner, giving them the atmosphere of a cake forced into a madeleine’s clothes. Part of the blame could possibly be attributed to the leavener in the original recipe. Keller/Rouxel add some baking powder, 1/2 tsp, which I, perhaps not very wisely, had decided to eliminate.

A final note: the recipe was intended for 12 madeleines. I made 16 slightly smaller ones due to the pan I have.

Grapefruit rose madeleines

Adapted slightly from Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery. Expect to see more of them in the future, including their infuriatingly precise quantities. My condolences if you don’t have a scale.  Potentially makes 12-16 madeleines. 

80 g whole eggs (which is approximately 1 and then some)

55 g or 1/4 c + 1 1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 small capful rosewater

zest of 1/2 grapefruit

66 g butter

9 g honey

68 g or 1/4 c + 3 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour

Whisk the eggs, salt and sugar together in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Continue to whisk until eggs are warmed and sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat continue beating away until pale, thickened, and the volume has doubled. Beat in the rosewater and grapefruit zest.

While this is happening, gently heat the butter and honey together in a pan until melted. Set aside to cool until only just warm.

Sift half the flour overtop of the eggs and gently fold in. Repeat with the remaining half. Slowly pour the melted butter overtop and fold until combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter and lightly flour a madeleine pan OR brush the pan with melted butter and chill to allow the butter to set.

Using two spoons, scoop a generous tablespoon of batter into each mold.


Bake for 7-8 minutes until the tops are lightly golden and spring back when touched.

Immediately unmold by turning pan upside down over a wire rack, and rapping the bottom of the pan.

Turn the madeleines over if needed so that the “shell pattern” side faces down, and align the grooves with the wire rack – I started doing this after finding that the wire rack left “grill marks” in the top of the madeleines.