Madeleine is essentially a sponge cake (mostly lemon or citrus flavoured) that get baked in special shell shaped pans! They look so pretty, don’t they?
Madeleine is such a super pretty and petite cakes from France which taste so delicious!
From the first time I ever saw these shell shaped cakes, I have been fascinated by them, actually this might be a good time to accept that I love individual portioned desserts, the bite sized ones, one doesn’t need to worry to share besides if you control and have only one piece there is not much to feel guilty about.
Madeleine’s are essentially sponge cakes (mostly lemon or citrus flavoured) that are baked in special shell shaped pans, they are said to be originated in France but are extremely popular in Britain now to an extent that they are now popularly considered English. They get their name from the 19th century pastry chef Madeleine Paulmier.
The Madeleine pan gives them the distinctive striped pattern on one side and the hump they are known for on the other, these are best eaten the day they are baked as they do not taste very good stale.
When I was reading up on this dessert, I found that these were made popular Marcel Proust in his novel ‘Remembrance of Things Past’, where he describes the these as petite, squat little cakes which looked as if they had been molded in a fluted valve of a scallop shell. Now that is a pretty description, isn’t it?
Another story I read was that Louis XV gave the name to these cakes to honour his father in law’s cook Madeleine Paulmier. Another theory that is around in the internet is that in the 18th century Madeleine was associated with the French town of Commercy in the Lorraine region of France, where there was a little convent under the auspices of St.Mary Magdelen. When the convent was attacked, the nuns gave the recipe to the bakers. Another story goes around is that there was a young lady named Madeleine who made this for the king of Poland when he was exiled and these grew extremely popular. Honestly, whatever the history, I am glad I discovered these!
Some other citrus flavored desserts on the blog:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113 grams)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (130 grams)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs large
- 1/2 cup sugar (100 grams) (caster)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest freshly grated
For the lemon syrup coating
- 2 tsps lemon juice
- 3 tbsps caster sugar
- In a small pan, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Keep aside/
- Melt the butter in the microwave or on stovetop, I like to brown my butter for Madeleine, as it adds a slight nutty flavour to it, but you can stop just when melted. We don't want the butter to go cold, so keep it warm in the microwave. Adding the warm butter gives the Madeleine a nice hump.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar till thick, pale and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and the lemon zest.
- Now gently, while taking care not to deflate the air in the egg mixture, add the flour mixture in three parts using a spatula.
- Take 1 cup of this batter and fold into the melted butter, again very gently so not to deflate the batter. Fold in the rest of the batter.
- Cover this mixture and refrigerate for an hour, chilling the batter helps Madeleine to keep shape and have a better hump and pronounced lines
- Pre heat the oven to 190 C and grease and dust the Madeleine pan. Drop a heaped tbsp of batter in the center of each mould, do not spread the batter as the dropping will again help in the creation of the hump.
- Bake for 8- 11mins, until the edges are golden brown and the middle springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and tap the pan a couple of times on the counter when hot to release the Madeleines.
- Let it cool for 15 mins, in the meanwhile whisk together lemon juice and caster sugar together till the sugar is dissolved. Once the Madeleines are warm, dip them in the lemon syrup and serve immediately. You can also coat them with cinnamon sugar if you want.