Baking fresh madeleines took me on a trip down memory lane. These soft airy yellow cakes are the favorite sweets of our childhood.Jump to Recipe
Every single breakfast with our grandparents in France we dipped the shell-shaped cakes in our coffee or tea. This is how the French eat madeleines and how you should do too. With a strong determination, I made my first batch by the recipe of my grandmother’s cookbook. Despite their famous glamorous name, these cakes are made with just a few basic ingredients: sugar, butter, flour, eggs, salt, and lemon zest. It’s not difficult to make but if you don’t pay attention you end up baking madeleine cookies or dry cakes. We don’t want dry cakes, so I have been testing and tasting until I found the right recipe for you. I’ll explain to you step by step how to bake the perfect madeleines.
How to bake the perfect traditional madeleines?
First of all, you need to understand preparation is everything and second, you have to put some love into this recipe and treat it delicately. We’ll explain to you why. First of all, before you even start making these delicious cakes, take two eggs out of the fridge. They need to be at room temperature. Why? Because the most important part is beating the eggs with a whisk for 8 minutes together with the sugar and salt. When eggs are cool beating them won’t create the airy fluffiness you need to get those madeleines airy. It’s really important to stick to the eight minutes. You will see the mixture will become white.
Start with melting the butter on low heat and let it cool down. Whisk the eggs for 8 minutes with sugar and salt. You will see the mixture will become white. After 8 minutes of whisking, you add the lemon zest and mix. Now mix the flour with the baking powder and sieve the flour into another bowl. Gently fold in the flour to the egg mixture. It becomes a sticky batter.
The last step in making the batter is about adding the butter. This we do in two steps. Mix half of the batter with the butter and then mix the other half. Your batter is now almost ready, but it needs to chill a bit in the fridge first. Also, this is a crucial step, we will tell you why below.
Why you should chill the batter in the fridge
Like mentioned before this recipe has been tested multiple times to hand you the perfect step-by-step guide making the perfect traditional madeleines. In my first batch, I didn’t have time to give the batter some chill time in the fridge so I just skipped that step. Honestly, the madeleines still tasted amazing, but they came out pretty small. I am talking about the round bump in the middle that we want to see sticking out more. Actually, it’s a common strict rule in making pastry to give the batter some time before baking it. Leaving the batter in the fridge for a little bit will help the belly rise up more. This doesn’t only make them look more appealing, it also means they will taste airier. But be precise again about time. Some recipes say the batter should stay in the fridge for two hours. Well, I tried that as well but then the butter will become solid again and this will stop the rising of the belly. That’s the whole point of leaving the batter in the fridge right? So here is my advice, let the batter chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Use a madeleine pan
If you want to eat madeleines then buy yourself a madeleine pan. They are not expensive (like 12 euro max). Preferably choose a nonstick pan. First, prepare the pan with a brush that you can dip in (some leftover) melted butter. Brush each madeleine shape with butter and sieve a little bit of flour above the greased shapes. The next step is to spoon the batter into shell-like shapes. I use 1 tablespoon per madeleine. all you need to do is scoop them one by one. The pan will do its work in the oven.
Bake the madeleines in a preheated oven of 180°C (356F). Keep an eye on them, you want them to come out yellow, not brown. If you leave them too long in the oven they might into crispy cookies.
For more traditional French recipes please go to Recettes de Mamie, a page dedicated to the recipes from my French grandmother’s cookbook (cahier de recettes).
Les Madeleines Traditionelle de Mamie
- Madeleines mould
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 100 gram flour
- 100 gram powedered sugar
- 100 gram butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 lemon (zest)
- Melt the butter in a pan on los heat. Let it cool down.
- Zest the lemon.
- Mix the two eggs, sugar and salt with a whisk for 8 minutes and until the mixture turns white.
- Mix the flour with the baking powder. Sieve it above another bowl. Fold in the flour to the egg mixture gently over the mixture with a spatula without over-mixing.
- Pour the butter into another bowl. Add half of the batter to the butter and mix. Add the other half and mix well.
- Leave the mixture in the fridge for 1 hour covering it with cling film.
- Pre-heat the oven for 180 °C. Grease the madeleine mould with butter and sprinkle with just a little bit of flour. Put a spoonful of dough in each madeleine shape. Bake in the hot oven for 12 minutes.
- Let the madelienes cool down for 30 minutes before eating. They tasted best when freshly baked the same day.