Looking for a traditional dessert? Or a pastry snack to couple with your morning coffee? Sweet and simple madeleine cakes are just a thing!
These easy-to-make pastries are delicious when paired with other, sweeter treats, and can be enjoyed on their own as well.
Here’s everything you need to know about whipping up your own madeleine cakes.
What Are French Madeleines?
Madeleine cakes, as you may have guessed from the name, were originally a French-made pastry.
The first cakes were baked and sold in the Lorraine region in the 18th century. Because of their tiny size, French madeleines are also sometimes called petite madeleines.
Since its debut, the recipe for French madeleines hasn’t changed much. These lovely sponge cakes, also known as butter cakes, have a unique shell-like form that makes them ideal for snacking or dipping in coffee and tea.
Madeleine cakes by themselves aren’t too sweet, which lends them being well-paired with sweeter drinks or sugary treats.
Here’s how to make your own version of these versatile pastries!
How to Make Madeleine Cakes
The ingredients are surprisingly straightforward, requiring only a unique pan – one that provides a shell-like mold for the pastries.
Of course, these can be found online or in any store that offers kitchen supplies, so getting your madeleines into the right shape is easy as pie.
Gather Your Ingredients
- ½ cup (plus an additional 2 tablespoons) of unsalted butter.
- 3 medium- to large-sized eggs.
- 2/3 cup of granulated sugar.
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
For a fluffier texture in your madeleine cakes, add:
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder.
- ¼ teaspoon of salt.
For a little extra flavor, you can also add any combination of:
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- 1 lemon zested and/or juiced.
- 1 ½ tablespoon of honey.
- ½ cup of finely chopped nuts.
Bake Your Madeleine Cakes
First, melt your ½ cup of butter in a small saucepan. Make sure not to burn the butter or your madeleine cakes will come out tasting bitter! Let the butter cool to room temperature.
Next, beat your eggs and sugar together in a bowl until they form a light-colored, fluffy mixture.
Mix in your vanilla, lemon zest and juice, or honey. Using a whisk or electric mixer for this step will help keep your mixture light and your madeleine cakes spongey.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nuts. Fold this mixture into the wet ingredients. Make sure that you don’t overmix on this step, unless you’re looking for heavier, thicker madeleine cakes.
Next, prepare your French madeleine baking tray. To ensure the cakes don’t stick to the pan while baking, use your extra butter and a little flower to lightly cover each indentation.
Pour your batter carefully into each madeleine cake mold, just enough to be level with the pan. The cakes will rise, and depending upon the consistency of your batter, will have a rounded top or a bit of a hump!
Bake your madeleine cakes at 357 F degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. The color should still be lighter in the middle, and a toothpick stuck through the highest point should come out clean.
Remove your madeleines and let cool for several minutes before removing them from the pan.
What to Eat with your French Madeleines
This madeleines recipe is perfect for a batch of simple snacking cakes. However, if you’re looking to take your treats to the next level, here are a few different ways you can serve and enjoy your madeleine cakes!
Tried and True: Chocolate
Most madeleine cakes you can buy in the store will come plain, but some will include an extra topping: chocolate!
Add a little flavor to your recipe by melting 1 cup of semisweet chocolate in a double-boiler.
You can then drizzle the chocolate over your cakes, dip just one side, or completely cover them in a sweet chocolate coating! Add nuts to this coating for extra crunch.
A Coating of a Different Color
While the madeleines are still warm, spread a layer of sugar, cinnamon, or both onto a plate and lightly roll the cakes across it.
You can also dust the cakes with cinnamon or confectioner’s sugar for a sweet, decorative addition!
Filled to the Brim
It’s one thing to have a sweet coating, but what about a sweet filling?
Fluffy madeleine cakes can have jam or crème piped right into the middle. You can also cut your cakes in half and make sweet icing sandwiches.
Some madeleines are also served with honey or a caramel sauce on the side, so you can decide just how much flavor you want for yourself.
Cake on Cake
Another way to use your madeleine cakes is by adding them as decoration to a full-sized cake.
Simply use icing or jam to stand your madeleines up around the sides of a larger cake to create a beautiful dessert presentation.
Here’s a video showing an example of how to make French Madeleines.
Have you tried baking a French Madeleine?