Simplest Madeleines

12:27 PM

Don't be intimidated by madeleines. These French butter cakes come together really quickly and easily and they are so delicious. You can even prepare the batter the day before, and then pop them in the oven just before you want to eat them.

Little bite-sized cakes... could anything be cuter? They go perfectly with tea in the afternoon, but I will eat these any time of day. They are certainly at their best within an hour or so after baking, so either prepare, bake, and then eat them right away, or cover your batter tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake them (within the next 24 hours).

The only special equipment that you need is, of course, a madeleine pan, which gives the cakes their shell shape. I recommend this nonstick version which makes baking these a snap. This recipe was adapted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. Claire weighs all of her ingredients which is the most precise way to bake, but not the way I normally do it. However, I recently acquired a little scale (small, stainless, and so easy to store) and used it for this recipe. I am also including Claire's cup measurements below.

Simplest Madeleines

Makes about 20

  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) unsalted butter, melted, plus a little more for greasing the madeleine pan
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 3/4 cup (100 g) all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting the madeleine pan
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • powdered sugar, for sprinkling

1. First, brush some melted butter onto your madeleine pan and dust with flour, shaking it about to cover evenly and letting the excess fall away. Pop the pan into your freezer.

2. Preheat your oven to 325 F.

3. Melt the rest of your butter in a small pan, and then remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the (now cooled) melted butter and the extracts. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Whisk this mixture into the egg and butter mixture until smooth.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared madeleine pan. You only want to fill each mold about 2/3 full. The batter will expand and fill the mold, so better to do too little than too much and have it overflow. For me, it was less than a tablespoon per mold. You should have enough batter to make one full pan, and then about 8-10 more cakes.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The tops should spring back to the touch and be golden around the edges. Let cool for a minute or two, and turn out onto a baking rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy as soon as possible for maximum deliciousness.

* Prepare in advance: You can make the batter up to a day in advance. Press plastic wrap tightly over the batter, and store in the fridge until ready to bake. 


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