Or something oceanic. The scalloped edges against the irregular glints in the green-blue marble countertop recall rock pools and trips to beaches. Though seaside picnics don't normally require such delicate pastries (and nor should they!).
I made these because, tucked away in the treasure chest of James' parents' kitchen, I found a madeleine tray. And it was so nice and so underused and has such function-specificity that I wanted to give it a spin. I trusted Dan Lepard as my baking guru to guide me through these pernickety cakes because a) his book appears very confident and filled me with reassurance, and b) his surname sounds like 'Leopard'. And leopards are my favourite animals.
And so to begin.
See, it's a fairly simple collection of ingredients. Eggs, butter, flour, sugar, rising agent. All the classic components for cake goodness. And that sneaky madeleine tin. Don't worry! You can use ramekins and just shape them like pop-overs.
(Weirdly, James' house has a madeleine tin - the most obtuse of kitchen gadgets - as well as a cherry-stone-picker, a garlic grinder, a variety of chopsticks, and a tomato knife... but no ramekins. What is that? Who in this household is witholding the creme brulée possibilities that only ramekins offer, and why?)
We have two things to do next.
Number 1: Beat the eggs and sugar together until they're thick, doubled in volume, and have a lathered-shampoo look of frothiness. Add the vanilla. Next the flour.
Number 2: Melt some butter in a small pot.
Note the well-buttered madeleine tray.
This recipe is an ode to butter.
I wasn't kidding.
Dan the Leopard (indulge me) very teasingly suggests adding a dollop of butter to the mix before baking, so of course I did.
This is butter three ways. Coating the exterior of the shells, melted and folded into the batter, and with a delicate morsel on top which will melt and OHMYGOD let's stop talking about butter and just look at the finished photos.