Recipe: Hot chocolate chilli Madeleines

Chocolate madeleines by Charlotte Smith- Jarvis. SARAH LUCY BROWN

Chocolate madeleines by Charlotte Smith- Jarvis. SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Show your other half you love them with these mischievous little Madeleine cakes.

I'm not one for flowers. I mean, I won't reel in horror if someone gives me a bunch, but my hubby has put me right off floral gifts. For years, as colleagues received bunches on birthdays and anniversaries in the office, I'd get the green-eyed monster and the right hump – and he'd get an earful. 'Why don't you ever buy ME flowers for birthdays or Valentine's Day?'

'Well, they just die, don't they,' he'd say, very matter of factly. To begin with I thought he was a right miser, not wanting to release the moths from his wallet to get me anything – but I do see his point nowadays. If you're rubbish at keeping plants alive (as I am), flowers that could have cost £50 may well end up on the compost heap after a day or too.

I hate the red and white roses and lillies usually churned out at this time of year anyway. I'd much rather have a tall bunch of dahlias, delphiniums and foxgloves, plucked from a garden or allotment in summer. Or the cheery remembrance of summer that is a vase of sunflowers in early autumn.

The one thing I do request from husband each Valentine's though is a baked present – preferably of the chocolate variety. He's made Nigella's triple chocolate loaf cake, babka loaves, truffle cakes and this year he'll be making my chocolate Madeleines, with a pinch of chilli.

They are easy enough for him to get his non-cooking brain around, and he and the kids actually quite like making fondant decorations (they eat half the icing while they do it) so will have great fun making the heart and kiss toppings.

You might want to make them for your significant other too. I highly recommend using a silicone Madeleine baking mould if you can get one. Lakeland sell them, and they're easy to find on Amazon too. The cakes pop right out without any fuss, keeping their delicate shell-like appearance.

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These are best eaten on the day of or day after baking, so make sure you cook them just before you want to give them away – because stale cake is not romantic!

Hot chocolate Madeleine kisses

(makes 12)


95g unsalted butter, melted

65g plain flour, sifted

20g 100% cocoa, sifted

1/2tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

80g caster sugar

Decent pinch chilli powder (optional)

1/2tsp ground cinnamon


200g dark chocolate, melted

Fondant icing, red gel food colouring (I used Christmas Red), edible red glitter


Set the oven to 220C. Place the sugar in a glass bowl and crack in the eggs. Heat a pan half filled with water and place the bowl over the top. Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk until doubled in volume. Remove from the heat.

Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and spices and fold in. Finally, fold in the butter. Spoon into your moulds, filling up around ¾ of the way. A silicone mould usually has nine spaces, so there will be mixture left over. If you don't have a Madeleine tin, a cupcake tin will do fine.

Bake the Madeleines for eight to 10 minutes until firm. Allow to cool in the mould then release, wash and dry the mould and use up the rest of the mixture, cooking for the same length of time.

While the cakes are cooling, try and fashion tiny hearts and lips (or even crosses) out of pieces of fondant icing. Mix a little red gel food colouring with a touch of water and edible glitter and paint onto the fondant decorations. Leave to dry a little – they will remain slightly tacky. A gentle blast with a hairdryer on the cool setting should help.

Now half dip the cakes into your melted chocolate, allow to set for 10 minutes at room temperature and add your decorations, allow them to fully set before boxing up to give to your lover.

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