Magdalenas Moments

tasty magdalena, homemade sweet with lemon and sugar

“For Spanish, I need to make magdalenas. And it’s for Friday.”

I read this text from my 16-year-old son this week and mentally added this activity to the family schedule, hoping to help him avoid a midnight culinary session in our kitchen. Also, I had to ask him what magdalenas are, as I had never made them. He had a recipe and a shopping list ready to go. It was just another thing to add to the to-do list at the moment. It turned out to be a huge encouragement for me.

Moments to Treasure

This one is for my fellow moms of teen sons: I wish we could share a conversation over magdalenas and tea! I’d give you ten hugs and let you know that you are not alone! It goes without saying that you can feel quite isolated during this stretch of parenting, especially without the built-in support of MOPS groups or playdates that may have accompanied our sons’ early years. Even in the best of times, it can naturally be tough to transition from parenting boys to parenting independent young men. My son is going three different directions on any given evening, he no longer needs me to drive him everywhere, his calendar is full, and when he is home, of course, he retreats to the refuge of his room. And that just covers his physical whereabouts. I like my son. I miss him. Time is moving fast. I treasure up these brief, bright “Magdalenas Moments” to ponder the next time life feels cold and harsh for us.

Gratitude for the Journey

Our local winter season felt bitter and drawn out, but our family has also endured a relentless, wintry season of life, and we are ready for spring. So I’m grateful for a son who gives me four days’ notice for an upcoming baking activity, March weather so beautiful that the kitchen windows were open while he worked, a pocket of time to catch up with an episode of a favorite show we never have time to watch together anymore, and a simple cake recipe that turned out great on his first attempt. I’m thankful he did not have to navigate a flan recipe! Plus I simply enjoy my son and rarely have time to do just that. And my son felt equally grateful for the time.

I learned this week that magdalenas are fluffy, lemony cakes, popular across Spain, and usually enjoyed at breakfast. It feels as if they would be a perfect addition to a springtime brunch menu. My son used a recipe from his Spanish class textbook, but The Spruce Eats provides a nearly identical recipe to the one he used.

Be on the lookout for an unexpected Magdalenas Moment with your teen.



  • 1 cup granulated sugar (divided)
  • 4 large eggs (room-temperature)
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter (room-temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Position oven rack on the middle shelf and heat to 375 F. Place 18 liners into the wells of cupcake pans and set aside.
  3. Measure 1/4 cup sugar, place it in a small bowl, and set aside.
  4. In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining 3/4 cup sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. In a small saucepan on the stovetop, melt the butter over medium heat. Alternatively, you can melt it in the microwave. Before adding it to the egg mixture, make sure the butter cools slightly and is not bubbling.
  6. While you continue to beat the egg mixture, slowly add the melted butter, making sure to mix thoroughly.
  7. Stir in the lemon zest and milk.
  8. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined.
  9. While stirring the egg mixture, add the flour mixture with your other hand. Continue to stir until all ingredients are mixed well. The batter will be very thick.
  10. Using a large serving spoon or cookie scoop, place batter into the pan, filling each cupcake liner halfway. The batter will more than double in size when baked.
  11. Use a teaspoon to sprinkle each magdalena with a bit of the reserved sugar.
  12. Place pans in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the magdalenas have turned a golden color and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack before removing cupcakes from the pan to cool completely.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

, ,

One Response to Magdalenas Moments

  1. Mary
    Mary April 9, 2019 at 11:55 pm #

    Love this – those moments rush by all too quickly!!

Leave a Reply