If at first you don't succeed, make a tiny cake
Updated: Aug 4
Once upon a time, Queer Martha said to herself, "I'm going to make some damn madeleines." Because madeleines are delicious. They also remind me of that time when I was going through a really terrible break up and I was broke and I curled up in my bed and only ate bags of madeleines and tea for about 5 months. Madeleines are fucking Proustian for me. One bite and I'm immediately, like, in search of lost time and accessing this deep darkness and sometimes you just really want to access that darkness and maybe reclaim it, you know? Indeed - madeleines are delicious and sad.
Anyway! I was like, "LET'S MAKE MADELEINES!" So I got my melted butter, my sugar, my flour, my eggs, and baking powder, and my fleur d'orange extract. Here is the proof.
I hear you saying, "I don't really want to read on the internet about the sad cakes you baked unless you give me the recipe, Lizzie."
But this isn't about baking. No, not at all. This is about life lessons. This is real life. Because sometimes, no matter how badly you want to access that deep darkness to which only cake can take you, your cakes just don't work out.
Madeleines are supposed to be spongy and soft and they are supposed to have this adorable little bump on the back and they are supposed to remind you of pretty seashells. The monstrosities that I pulled out of the oven that fateful day were less like seashells and more like sand from the sea. Or like gentle sandpaper. Or like barely-formed sandstone. Whatever, they were sandy. It was weird.
Troubleshooting revealed that I should have let the dough sit in the fridge before baking them? I don't know but they came out of the oven like a bunch of little fuckers. So I randomly added a sick piece of stale candy corn to some of them just to be vindictive. You thought you were madeleines - now you are just sad candy cornbread.
So what do you do when your madeleines just don't work? You put the rest of the dough in a tiny square cake pan and call it a success anyway. Because what is better than a tiny cake? Nothing! Nothing is better than a tiny cake.
Except, I suppose madeleines that came out correctly. And pie in general. I actually don't like cake very much. But I was really proud of this little guy! And isn't that what life is about? It's not having your cake and eating it, too. No, no, no. It's about making a bunch of cake, feeling disappointed in most of it, but really damn happy with a little, beautiful piece of it, and throwing the rest of the batter away.