French Madeleines are light, buttery little cakes traditionally baked in scallop-
What is a French Madeleine?
French Madeleines are little semi-sweet cakes made using a Genoese Sponge recipe, where the eggs and sugar are whisked together until they are light and thick. Melted butter and flour are carefully combined with the mixture, keeping the air in the whisked eggs – which is what makes the cakes light.
This is the only cake from this year’s Great British Bake-Off that I have thought about making. The rest are too elaborate and time-consuming for me. Of course, French Madeleines have a reputation for being tricky to make, but a couple of pieces of equipment make a big difference and put them in the category of Everyday Cakes, and using them is the only way I would contemplate making a Genoese sponge, or Madeleines, these days.
- Non-stick Madeleine tray – A heavy-duty non-stick tin makes all the difference. I experimented with not greasing for the second and third batches I cooked, and they were fine. This tray is made by Lakeland and will last for years.
- Stand mixer – This means you can start the eggs and sugar whisking while you get on with the rest of the recipe. As the whisking can take 10 minutes, this is a real labour-saver. I love my Kenwood Chef, similar to the model used on Bake-Off.
These two items make the difference between hard work (or not bothering at all) and making the recipe manageable.
There is another factor that makes a difference between successful French Madeleines and not-quite-so-good:
Do you have to chill the batter for French Madeleines?
Yes. And no. I made a large batch and cooked the Madeleines in three batches. The first batch had no chill time, the second had 15 minutes and the third had 30 minutes. I have to report that more chilling gave better results. The batter was stiffer and gave a better rise – in particular, the trademark ‘camel’s hump’ on the top of the Madeleine.
You can get away without chilling, but you will definitely get a better result if you can put the batter in the fridge for half an hour before cooking. Given that the rest of it is so easy, just put aside an extra half-hour to make the Madeleines.
Don’t forget to eat them quickly. These are not cakes that keep for long – but mine don’t usually need to. They were gone in a couple of days!
If you like this…
…Why don’t you try:
- 2 large eggs
- 100 g caster sugar
- 100 g butter + extra for greasing the tray
- 100 g self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder (2ml)
- 1 lemon, zested
- Lightly grease the Madeleine tray with melted butter, dust with flour and shake off any excess
- Pay particular attention if your tray is not non-stick
- Zest the lemon
For the French Madeleines:
- Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and paleEasiest in a stand mixer – it will take about 10 minutes
- Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly
- Sift the flour and baking powder together
- When the egg mixture is ready, lightly whisk in the other ingredients, using the lowest setting for a few seconds. You may need to use a spoon to carefully stir in any butter that isn't incorporated(Flour and baking powder, melted butter, lemon zest)
- Put the bowl in the fridge for 20-30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 185°C fan/ gas mark 6/ 400°F
- Spoon the mixture into the moulds so that it is almost at the top, but not quite
- Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine took 9 minutes) until beginning to turn golden brown. Check after 8 minutes, then after 9 minutes
- Ease out of the tins with a knife (use a nylon knife in a non-stick pan) and cool on a wire rack
- Repeat with the rest of the mixture
- Eat as soon as you can.
Everyday Cooks Tips:Storage:
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, but preferably eat within 2-3 days of making