I first had homemade madeleines when a friend invited me into her home in a beautiful, rustic area of France. Her father was a French Pâtissier (Pastry Chef), so she had some insight into making madeleines. Madeleines are so obviously and quintessentially French, plus they have a beautiful name. I adore these little cakes so much that I initially wanted to name my business “Madeleines and Macarons,” and sell madeleines of course.
Madeleines are scrumptious petits gâteaux (little cakes) that originated in the Lorraine region of France. These light and airy muffin-like tea cakes are baked in a special pan. The pan is shallow, and has a shell pattern that is imprinted on one side of the madeleines. Madeleines are excellent with a boisson chaud (hot drink) such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
Madeleines are known for their distinctive hump, making them look like a hat. The main character–a vivacious French girl–from the classic children’s book “Madeline” wears a hat that looks similar to these little cakes!
Unlike other French pastries, these authentically-French teacakes are simple to make. If you can make a muffin, you can make a madeleine… All you need is the special Madeleine pan. Try this recipe out! It is from the internationally-renowned French bakery, Ladurée, that I had the pleasure to visit several times while I lived in Paris. (In 2011, Ladurée opened a boutique in New York City.)
Tip for purchasing a madeleine pan: Buy non-stick–not silicone! A silicone pan would not get you the nice browning that you want on the shell-side of the madeleine.
This recipe is adapted from Ladurée–the world famous pastry shop of Paris.
- 2 lemons (organic)*
- 160g granulated sugar (3/4c. + 1T)
- 175 g cake flour (1⅓c. + 1T), additional cake flour needed for moulds
- 10g baking powder (2 tsp.)
- 180g butter (12½T), additional butter needed for moulds
- 4 eggs
- 35g honey (1T + 2tsp)
- Using a grater, remove the zest from the lemons. In a large bowl, mix the grated zest with the sugar. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Melt the butter.
- In another large bowl, place the eggs, sugar-lemon zest, and the honey. Whip until pale and frothy. Fold in the flour and baking powder mixture. Add the melted butter and combine. Refrigerate batter for a minimum of 12 hours in a closed container.
- The following day, melt additional butter, and using a pastry brush, butter the moulds. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow the butter to harden. Lightly dust with flour, turn upside down and tap any excess. If you do not fill the moulds right away, keep them in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 390. Fill the moulds ¾ to the top with batter. Place in oven and bake mini-madeleines for 5-6 minutes, original madeleines for 8-10 minutes. When golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the moulds. Serve warm! (If not serving warm, allow to cool completely, and then store in an airtight container -- just like muffins or cupcakes).
- *Tip: If you ever have a recipe where you need lemon zest, use organic lemons. Non-organic lemons are waxed, so be sure to use un-waxed organic lemons--otherwise you will be eating wax instead of lemon zest :)