Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spanish Magdalenas

On this day six years ago, I was a junior in college studying abroad in beautiful Cordoba, Spain! It was my first time in Europe and I absolutely loved every minute of my 5 months there. The memories are still as fresh in my mind as they were the day I got back from the semester. :)

Each afternoon after my classes were finished and I got back from school, my host mother used to serve me magdalenas with hot chocolate and we watched telenovelas together. (My favorite one was always Amar en tiempos revueltos - I'm a sucker for historic romance!) Magdalenas are very simple Spanish cakes with just a hint of lemon flavor - there's really nothing special or out of this world about them. But sitting down next to her in my rocking chair with my two little cakes and my big mug of rich chocolate caliente, I felt totally comfortable, relaxed and at home despite being thousands of miles away from Massachusetts. I think that's what I really loved about the magdalenas!

I decided to try my hand at making homemade magdalenas and I have to say, they turned out pretty great and tasted exactly as I had remembered. I added a lemon glaze on top to give them something extra, but they are fabulous without it. I don't often bake for myself - normally I bake things with flavors that my friends, coworkers and family members want - but these magdalenas were all for me and I loved every minute of making and eating them. :)

Spanish Magdalenas
makes 12 cakes

For the cakes...
  • 1/2 stick (4 oz) of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • zest from one lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a muffin tin with 12 liners.
  2. In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add the milk and lemon zest.
  4. Add each egg one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
  6. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of your standing mixer, mixing until just incorporated and totally scraped down the sides.
  7. Fill each liner a bit more than halfway - don't fill as high as you normally would with cupcakes. These will get much bigger than a regular cupcake.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out totally clean.
  9. Immediately dump the cupcakes out onto the counter and place on a wire rack to cool.
For the lemon glaze...
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 cups confectioner's sugar
  1. Put one cup of confectioner's sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice and stir (or mix on low speed with a hand mixer) until fully incorporated. The glaze should be thick and not lumpy. 
  3. If the glaze isn't thick enough, add another cup of confectioner's sugar slowly until it reaches the right consistency.
  4. Dip the top of each cooled cupcake into the glaze and put back onto the wire rack until the glaze hardens. (You will have way too much glaze left over, but better more than not enough!)


  1. I'm a big fan of anything lemon, so I'll have to try these :) What a fun way to remember your study abroad!

  2. Ooh those look yummy :) It's nice to have something that brings back warm memories like that.

    <3 Salem Style
    Crocheted With Love in Salem Massachusetts

  3. Beautifullll! The city and the magdalenas, and they sound delicious!
    xx, Emily

  4. This looks delicious! Does it taste as good as it looks? I need to start baking more.


  5. These look amazing!! I need to make these, I love all things spanish. So jealous you got to live there!! Lovely post :)

  6. thanks for the awesome magdalena recipe! Such an interesting foodthat I never knew about! Glad I found this blog!

  7. What an amazing experience studying abroad! I never had the opportunity to do so but if I did I definitely would have jumped at the chance! The photo you posted is so beautiful those magdalenas look delicious!

    xo jen