There’s something so lady-like about these sweet little scallop shaped French cakes. Up until a few years ago, I’d never heard of Madeleines let alone made them. But as soon as I did, I hot-footed it to the nearest bake-ware shop and bought my first Madeleine pan and promptly made Double Chocolate Madeleines.
If you’re new to making Madeleines, you’ll be happy to know that they’re actually very easy to make. There are a couple of baking tips though – firstly, don’t over-whisk the mixture and, secondly, chill the mixture before you bake – which hopefully gives you the signature ‘bump’ they’re known for. Other than that, it’s all pretty simple though it may take you a couple of goes before you are completely happy with them.
I found this nice little recipe (complete with helpful video) from Guillaume Brahimi on SBS.com.au. I recommend you watch the video to get a sense for how the batter should look, as personally I found the recipe made a much thicker batter which I had to thin down with a little extra milk.
I particularly liked the use of the beurre noisette (browned butter) which gives a more rounded and nutty flavour. The cake is also flavoured with vanilla bean and lemon zest, though it’s all quite subtle – perfect, I think, paired with a cup of your favourite tea or coffee.
These Madeleines can be served as they are straight out of the oven, or you can get a bit fancy and brush over some melted butter and dip them in caster sugar. The second time I made these I actually made up some lemon sugar and dipped them in that, just for added tang. If you like the idea, you’ll find a recipe for lemon sugar here. Enjoy!
- 40g (1.4 oz) unsalted butter, chopped
- 100g (3.5 oz) plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 100g (3.5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 tablespoons milk (you may need a little more)
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Optional: Melted butter and caster (superfine) sugar (or lemon sugar)
- Melt the chopped butter in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until nut brown (this will happen quickly, so don't take your eye off it!). Take it immediately off the heat and set aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a medium sized bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg with the milk (you may find as I did that it needs a touch more milk in order to make the batter less thick and gluggy). Pour this into the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (you'll want a large whisk as the mixture easily clogs), then add the vanilla seeds and whisk just to combine (try not to over-whisk).
- Gradually pour in the browned butter and whisk well, then finally whisk in the lemon zest.
- Allow the mixture to rest for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
- Brush softened butter into the madeleine moulds, coating well (if you're worried that your cakes will stick, you can also sprinkle over flour and shake out the excess).
- Spoon level tablespoons of mixture and place the mound of mixture into the middle of the madeleine moulds (don't spread or level out the mixture) and bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden (they should just be turning slightly browned at the edges).
- Tap the madeleines out of the moulds (you may need to use a palette knife to loosen the edges) onto a rack to cool briefly.
- You can brush over some melted butter and dip in caster sugar (or lemon sugar) if desired.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting