Learn to make madeleines, these adorable French, shell-shaped cakes that perfectly balance French elegance with fluffy texture and light flavor. Follow the step-by-step Madeleines recipe and baking tips for flawless results every time.
I want to start with a story. I took these to a luncheon, and my friend asked me if it was cornbread, because she has a cornbread pan where you can make little corn shaped breads. What?! How cute is that? I said they were madeleines, and she didn’t know what that was.
I think it might be another Japanese heritage thing coming through. Sometimes I think, wait, why don’t you know this? Isn’t it common knowledge? Then I realize it’s totally a Japanese thing, not American. So yes, madeleines are popular in Japan. Not *quite* as well known in America.
So, if you don’t know. Madeleines, also known as Madeleine cakes, are delicate, shell-shaped cakes that are popular all over the world. They are a fusion of French elegance and irresistible flavors, making them a standout in the world of baked goods.
My mom recently sent me a bunch of kids books from Japan, and one of them was a story of a girl who makes some madeleines for a pirate princess named Madeleine. The story is totally weird (my kids loved it), but there is a recipe for madeleines in the back. Of course, my oldest INSISTED on making them.
Shell Shaped Cake Pan
You need a special pan to make these French shell shaped cakes, and I haven’t had one since moving to Kansas. Luckily, they are relatively easy to find. I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, but you can also find them on Amazon.
Since it came from a kids book, I thought it should be easy enough for the kids to help make. And it was! The addition of baking powder, while non-traditional (and maybe looked down upon by purists!), makes this recipe a great gateway into madeleine baking!
I used weight measurements for this recipe, but I added in approximate volumes. Weight is more accurate, but if you don’t have a scale, use the volume. I just ran it through a conversion calculator, and put the exact amount it said. So there you go.
Baking Tips for Perfect Madeleines
- Ensure that all ingredients are at room temperature before starting. This helps in achieving a smooth and well-incorporated batter.
- Do not overmix the batter. Gentle folding is key to maintaining the delicate texture of the Madeleines.
- Chilling the batter is essential. It allows the flavors to meld and develops the classic hump on the back of the Madeleines.
- Grease the Madeleine molds generously to prevent the cookies from sticking. This ensures easy release once they are baked.
- Keep a close eye on the baking time. Madeleines bake quickly, and overbaking can result in dry cookies.
- For an extra touch of elegance, dust the cooled Madeleines with powdered sugar just before serving.