This is not the traditional method for making madeleines, which is more like a genoise sponge. But I adore these, baked as little cakes to enjoy any time of the day (or night, with coffee after dinner), and the shell-shaped pan is just the right size. The keen tippler will recognise the flavours here – ginger, lime and vodka – are reminiscent of the Moscow mule cocktail, one of my favourites. I usually leave a few unglazed, with a light dusting of icing sugar, for the kids.
3 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp ginger powder
3 tbsp boiling water
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
65g plain flour, plus extra for dusting the mould
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
120g castor sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the mould
finely grated zest of 2 limes
70g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
For the glaze
120g icing sugar
1 tbsp vodka
2-4 tsp lime juice
1. Prepare the madeleine mould by brushing the shell-shaped cavities with the extra butter – assuming you have only one madeleine pan with 12 holes, you will have butter left over for the next half-batch. Dust the pan with flour, ensuring it covers the scalloped surfaces, then remove the excess. Place the tray in the fridge or freezer until needed.
2. Combine the cocoa and ginger powder in a medium bowl and add boiling water. Whisk together to form a paste, then add the eggs and vanilla essence. Whisk again until smooth, then set aside.
3. Sift flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a cake mixer, then add the sugar. Attach the paddle beater and mix on low speed for 15 seconds to combine, then add the softened butter, lime zest and half the cocoa mix. Beat on low speed for 15 seconds to moisten all the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute.
4. Scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining cocoa mix in 2 batches, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the cake mixer and fold in the chopped crystallised ginger. Press some cling film on top of the batter (to prevent a "skin" forming on top) and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional). Remove the pan from the fridge and drop a scant tablespoon of batter into the centre of each mould – it will spread in the oven, so there is no need to smooth the batter out. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a madeleine comes out clean.
6. While the madeleines are in the oven, prepare the glaze. Sift icing sugar into a small bowl and add vodka and 2 tsp lime juice. Stir until smooth, adding more lime juice as necessary to form a thick but runny glaze.
7. When the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for a minute before easing them out onto a cooling rack. While still warm, gently brush the scalloped side of each cake with some glaze and allow to set for a few minutes. Wash the madeleine pan and wipe dry before buttering and flouring 6 more holes for the remaining batter.