Thursday, 15 November 2012

French Madeleines

Perfect little cakes for afternoon tea, with friends or for little fingers!

It seems that I have introduced a new favourite cake with my son - French Madeleines.  They are little shell-shaped cakes that are buttery and very delicious!  They usually have a characteristic 'bump' too - like a fat belly!  I struggle to achieve the bump on my cakes but they taste nice all the same!  Oh, and to my son, these shell-shaped cakes are "little boats" :)

The recipe I have used is adapted from BBC website "Madeleines with lemon curd" - but there are many around on the 'net.  Use whichever one you like the sound of :)

The closest I can get to achieving a "bump"

Orange Scented Madeleines

3 free range eggs
100g caster sugar
200g plain flour
10g baking powder
1 orange (grated zest)
20g honey (I used a set honey but otherwise a runny one will be fine)
60ml milk
200g butter (melted, cooled)

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until pale and thickened.

Add the milk and honey to the melted butter and mix.

Pour the melted butter mix into the egg batter but down side of bowl.  Be delicate with the whipped egg & air mixture! Add the grated orange zest.

Sift in half the flour and baking powder and fold gently.  Sift in remaining flour and baking powder and fold.

Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for an hour or overnight.  (Not sure why - but different sites say it helps achieve the "bump" on the madeleines.)

If you are like me, you cannot wait to bake your little nuggets of buttery delights. ;)
So turn on oven to Gas 5/190C/375F.  While oven is heating up, butter and flour your madeleine tin.  I have a silicone ones in different sizes.  I also use a mini-teddy bear tin.  The flour is very important as it makes it easier for the cakes to fall out from the tin after baking.  Trust me on that one!  I made the mistake of only greasing the teddy bears one morning and YUP! Half the teddies stuck to the tin DESPITE it being "non-stick".

For my larger madeleine shells, I put about a dessertspoon of mix in each shell.  You are aiming for 80% full and not too worry about making it even as the baking levels it out.  For mini-madeleines or mini-teddies, then I go for a teaspoon of mix.

Bake for 7 minutes, then turn oven off for 5 minutes (apparently, this creates the "signature bumps" - mine do get a small bump not a great big one).  Turn oven back on but this time at Gas 3/160C/325F.  Bake for a further 7 minutes.  The shells should just be tinged brown on the outsides.  For my mini-sized moulds I bake 5 minutes, rest 5 minutes then continue with a final 5 minutes.  Cool the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.  The silicone madeleines should fall out easily but a prod from the underneath helps any disobedient cakes.  For my teddy tin (as it's metal) a sharp tap on the cooling rack sends any teddies tumbling out of their beds!  (Provided I greased and floured the tin!)

Baking these little cakes in a metal tin gives a more evenly brown colour than in silicone

You can just make out the little bear's face 
A fat belly appearing on the bear!
I usually bake a batch of madeleines so my son can munch on them.  The remaining mixture is placed in a bowl, covered with cling film and is baked the following morning.  The tin should be washed and dried before re-greasing and flouring when baking another batch.

* Greasing and flouring.  I rub butter using fingers or a piece of buttery paper in the nooks and crannies of the tin.  I sprinkle flour in each indentation and shake the tin in every direction to coast the buttery surface with flour.  Finally tap any loose flour away.
With a silicone mould, I do the same buttering process but to distribute the flour I fold the silicone mould in half and shake/clap the mould to get the flour coated inside.  Shake any excess flour off before filling.

I have made these with lemon zest before and with green tea powder (I added about 1 teaspoon of ground green tea with the flour).  I haven't tried chocolate as yet but I would substitute 25g flour for 25g cocoa powder.


  1. Lovely bears! :)
    I am trying my luck to drop you a comment here, cos the last time I commented 2 days ago, the message bounced back due to mailbox full; I had wanted to ask you to participate in my steaming hot cakes baking event. :p

    1. Bounced back? Sorry - but I DID get the TigerBread comment - apologies - I didn't check in to this blog account for a while :(
      Steaming Hot Cakes? I have to make a Steamed Cake and enter? Intrigued :)

    2. Oh, but I always encountered this message whenever I commented on your blog, has been happening since last year. The same thing happened when I tried to email you directly.

      "Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

      Technical details of permanent failure:
      Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. "