Pronunciation: [mahg-dah-LAY-nah]

Thought by some to be Spain's answer to the French madeleine, magdalenas are small sponge cakes made with eggs, flour and olive oil—although many modern versions use sunflower oil instead. Although these small cakes have been made for special holidays since the Middle Ages, they are now so popular that they're an everyday pleasure for most Spaniards. Magdalenas have an invitingly tender, moist texture and shiny, golden brown tops. They come in three basic shapes—the classic, high-domed round, a flat-topped round and an oblong shape.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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