Madeleines are small sponge cakes with a characteristic shell-like shape, which are made by baking them in a special pan with shell-shaped cavities. Also the taste is similar to sponge cake, but a little lighter and the addition of grated lemon and orange zests adds a wonderful freshness to the Madeleines.
They should be eaten as soon as they come out of the oven. Once they are cold, the texture changes, they become hard and simply do not taste as good.
Tools & Equipment
- Madeleine pan
- Medium bowl
- Medium saucepan
- Nonstick spray
- Piping bag
- Small sieve
- Silicone spatula
Eggs: use eggs at room temperature to avoid cooling down your batter. If your batter is too cold, the butter may congeal when added.
Refrigerate Overnight: this step helps with rising, which is important for madeleines as they puff up in the center during baking.
Convection: if your oven has this function, you should use it for baking madeleines. The heat flows evenly, which helps to bake them equally on all sides.
Upside down baking sheet: this allows the heat of the oven to circulate more evenly around the pan and the madeleines are baked more efficiently.
How to Make Madeleines
Make the batter
Prepare all your ingredients.
Start by melting butter, brown sugar and honey in a saucepan on low heat. Stir constantly to make sure nothing burns. Keep it warm on very low heat.
Whisk sugar, salt, flour and baking powder together in a large bowl and make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Then whisk in the eggs one at a time and incorporate them before adding the next egg.
Slowly add the butter mixture as soon as the eggs are fully incorporated. Add lemon and orange zests and mix.
Pour the batter into a piping bag or zip-lock plastic bag, press it down to the tip of the bag and seal the bag. Make sure to release the air, because this will prevent the batter from developing a skin. Let it rest in the fridge overnight.
Pipe & Bake
Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F for convection (190°C / 375°F for conventional). Take your batter out of the fridge and cut an opening of about 1.25 cm / 0,5-inch across the tip of the bag. Grease your madeleine pan and pipe the batter into the cavities. Fill each of them about three quarters to the top.
Put a rimmed baking sheet upside down into the oven and place the madeleine pan on top. Bake for about 5 minutes, then rotate the pan by 180 degrees. Continue baking for another 4-5 minutes until the sides are golden and the center has set.
Take the pan out of the oven and unmold immediately by tapping the corner or sides of the pan against your kitchen counter until the fresh madeleines drop out.
Spread the powdered sugar over the fresh madeleines by using a small sieve. Serve immediately.
Storage: enjoy the madeleines only freshly baked. Do not store them. You can store the batter in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed on the surface or in a sealed piping bag in the fridge for up to 3 days.
My Summary for Madeleines
Taste: they are buttery, with a light hint of orange and lemon.
Texture: madeleines have an airy, light and fluffy texture.
PROS: the recipe is easy to follow and they taste simply fantastic. You can keep the batter in the fridge for up to 3 days, so you can bake fresh madeleines at any time…as long as you have any batter left.
CONS: you have to plan ahead, as the batter has to rest in the fridge overnight. You should also serve them immediately after baking, which means you can’t prepare them in advance.
- 115g butter
- 15g dark brown sugar
- 15g honey
- 100g granulated sugar
- 1g salt
- 120g flour (550), sifted
- 4g baking powder
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1⁄2 lemon, grated lemon zest
- 1⁄2 orange, grated orange zest
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Melt butter, brown sugar and honey in a medium saucepan on low heat. Stir with a silicone spatula to make sure nothing burns. Keep the mixture warm on very low heat.
- Put sugar, salt, flour and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well with a whisk.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs one at a time, using the whisk to combine before adding the next one.
- Once the eggs are completely incorporated and the batter is smooth, slowly whisk in the butter mixture.
- Add the lemon and orange zests and whisk.
- Pour the batter into a piping bag (zip-lock plastic bag) with a silicone spatula and press it down to the tip of the bag. Seal the bag and make sure to release the air. This will prevent the batter from developing a skin.
- Allow to rest overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F for convection (190°C / 375°F for conventional).
- Cut an opening of about 1.25 cm / 0,5-inch across the tip of the bag.
- Grease your madeleine pan with non-stick spray.
- Pipe the madeleine batter into the cavities to fill each of them about three quarters to the top.
- Place a rimmed baking sheet upside down on the center rack of the oven, place the Madeleine pan on top and bake for about 5 minutes. As soon as you see how the batter puffs up in the center, rotate the pan by 180 degrees. Continue baking the madeleines for another 4-5 minutes until the sides are golden and the center has set.
- Remove the pan from the oven and unmold straight away. Tap the corner or sides of the madeleine pan against your kitchen counter until the fresh madeleines drop out.
- Spread some powdered sugar evenly over the freshly baked madeleines by using a small sieve.
- Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Dominique Ansel.