SMiLes by Meg


I’m not really sure why the weather went from full Summer to deep Fall in the last couple of days, but it has definitely helped ease the transition into my last year of law school. Today, with the rainy coldness that is the outdoors, baking warm cupcakes indoors has been an ideal activity. It would have been a great day to make some sourdough bread, but that would have required much more foresight than I had this week.

These come at my boyfriend’s request. At some point last year, I made a pound cake that used oil instead of butter, and since then he’s mentioned these cupcakes multiple times as something very similar. So when I asked him yesterday what I should bake and he again brought up Magdalenas, I decided to give them a go.

Magdalenas are the Spanish version of French Madeleines, those cool shell-shaped cakey things that Proust was so fond of. The differences are largely that Magdalenas are made with olive oil, not butter, and that you don’t need to use a special shell pan to make them – cupcake tins work great.

Other than that, these are surprisingly simple. I didn’t even have to leave the apartment to get groceries. Although, full disclosure, I would have had to go get a lemon if I used the first recipe I found, so I kept up my search until one didn’t require any ingredients other than what was currently in my kitchen.

First, in a large bowl, beat together the sugar and egg until pale. In a small separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and oil, and beating after each addition. Pour the batter into 18 muffin tins lined with paper, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minute or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.If you’re looking to get a little fancy, sprinkle the tops with sifted confectioners sugar. Then they seem more impressive than just some plain cupcakes.

Other note: I’ve included the metric measurements for this recipe in parentheses. It’s slightly more accurate to use those if you can.




  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups (330 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 1 cup (250 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups (450 g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • confectioners sugar


  1. In a large bowl, beat egg and sugar on medium speed using a hand mixer until pale yellow.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
  3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and oil, beating after each addition to incorporate.
  4. Spoon batter into 18 muffin tins lined with paper to fill 2/3 to 3/4 full.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  6. Top with sifted confectioners sugar when completely cool.