Madeleines are a classic French butter cake cookie. They are delicate, spongey, with that incredibly crisp outer edge and fluffy middle. Madeleines are sophisticated and one of my favorite tea and coffee accompaniments ever made. They are perfect for any occasion and sure to delight all Foodies!
When I was a little girl I treasured a good Madeleine as much as my mother treasured Great Grandma Sophia’s Butter Cake. My mother would make us these special cakes, which are perfect for tiny fingers to hold. With their distinctive mold, Madeleines are now a sweet wonder that my own two girls clasp their hands in delight for. On the afternoons I make Madeleines the house is silent, as my two sneaky children have their hands in the cookie jar and their mouths filled with sponge cake!
And these Madeleines are so easy to eat on the go. Just look at Tilly! She was moving so fast with her Madeleine that this was the best shot I could get! She was off to a tea party with Mickey and Minnie, you see, and her Madeleine needed to get there ASAP!
Madeleines take some extra care. In order to have Madeleines you first need to have a Madeleine Pan. I like this one I linked for a few reasons: it is nonstick, has a lift to it, which I find gives me even cooking, and it has given me perfect results every time I have used it.
Perfect results of a Madeleine include that humped middle on one side, the scalloped back on the other side, the crisped edges, and of course, that spongy middle. Since this has such a delicate base you can choose many flavor enhancements. My favorite is the use of orange zest, vanilla bean paste, and ground coriander. This distinct combination of flavors gives these small beauties a heightened flavor and lively aroma. Coriander is a spice (sometimes considered an herb), which has a sweet, citrusy boost of warmth.
In this recipe you will also find a combination of cake and all purpose flour. This will give you that delicate, fluffy cake rather than one that is too dense. This recipe is an adaptation to the one my Mom used to make. I am not sure where she originally got it, however I am sure Julia Child was an influence.
An important first step is preparing your Madeleine pan. See all the grooves? Generously butter then lightly dust with flour. This will have your cakes sliding out in perfect form. Skye from the Paw Patrol helped me out for this part!
Madeleines are a genoise type of sponge cake, which means that the eggs and sugar are whipped until pale, airy, and thick. The melted butter is actually added at the very end, even after the flour mixture. This is different from creaming, which is probably the method you are used when making cakes and cookies. You can whisk or use a hand or stand mixer for this process.
Once the eggs and sugar are thickened and whipped, add in your orange zest and vanilla bean paste. To zest citrus, I use this Stainless Steel Grater. I find it easier than a box grater, however, if you already have a box grater, use the grating section of it.
In a separate bowl mix your flours, pinch of salt, and coriander.
Incorporate the dry ingredients gently!
Use afolding technique to gently incorporate the flour.
You can see how thick and fluffy this is, almost mousse-like. And see all the vanilla bean and zest! It smells so fresh!
This is what your final batter will look like. I want to show you how thick and mousse-like the batter is, so just take a look below.
You will need a Tablespoon. You do not want to overfill your pan. Put one tablespoon of batter into each shell. It will look like you do not have enough at first, but watch how they puff up! And they will puff and grow even more as they bake. Bea did the honors of scooping.
Se how they grow! By the time you are finished putting a tablespoon in each shell, this is what they will look like! Glossy and gorgeous and puffed.
When I bake these I start in a higher temperature oven, then reduce the heat after a couple of minutes. This will give them that crisp outer edge and help them get their hump in the middle.
It only take a couple of minutes before you can slide these right out. Another feature I love about this particular pan is that it makes exactly 30 Madeleines (2 batches of 15).
So delicate and darling! Perfectly sized and shaped for my little darlings! All these need is a little dusting of powdered sugar and then they are ready to enjoy
Since it is the holidays I made you a little something special for this post. A powdered sugar dusted wreath!
Orange and Coriander Madeleines
- 10 Tablespoons melted then cooled butter plus 1 softened tablespoon for pan.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 eggs
- 1 heaping teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3/8 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a Madeleine pan then lightly dust with flour. With a mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy and pale. Then add orange zest and vanilla bean paste. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, and coriander. Then incorporate using a folding method with a spatula. Then drizzle in butter and fold in. Drop by Tablespoon into prepared pan. Bake for 3 minutes on 375 then reduce to 350 for another 6-8 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 2 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve alone or with a cup of tea or coffee.
- Use the base recipe and change out the flavors with these options!
- For more intense flavor you can brown this butter. See Video: How to Brown Butter for instructions on how to brown butter).
- For a simple “good butter cake” taste just omit zest and coriander and vanilla bean. Instead, opt for a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp of almond extract.
- Have questions about this recipe or want more flavor options? Contact me!