The first recipe that we went through at Tea Time Treats was for madeleines, which are small spongy cakes. According to Wikipedia they originated a looong time ago in France, but there is some controversy in regards to the exact circumstances of their inception. No word on why we bake madeleines in sea shell shaped pans, yet!
Preparing the madeleines was very simple; it was a matter of whisking our ingredients together. In fact, it seems that the key to making a good madeleine is to stick the batter in the fridge and to do nothing at all! The resting period is essential though, as it gives the flour time to absorb the moisture and lets the gluten relax. This is the step that makes madeleines so light (it says so here). I’m sure that the resting/thickening of the batter also contributes to a nice bump forming on the back of the madeleines during baking. A nice bump is a sign of a good madeleine!
Reading on the internet I also found that traditional madeleine recipes don’t use baking powder as a rising agent, relying on egg whites instead (touched on briefly here). Part of me does feel like more modern adaptations of traditional recipes let you cheat, because the changes in ingredients seem to compensate for the techniques that characterize the baked good. I’ll definitely give a madeleine recipe without baking powder a try in the future.
Having so much fun! I thought that this was us making madeleines, but I’m having second thoughts…
The last thing I would like to comment on is just how delicious madeleines are fresh! The majority, if not all, of the madeleines I’ve eaten have been from Duchess. They were delicious, but I have to say that freshly baked madeleines are much better. Ideally they are consumed within a few hours of them being baked, which is great because the batter can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a day or two (so much resting!) That being said, you can increase their shelf life by dipping fresh madeleines in a simple syrup. The syrup helps hold moisture in, preventing them from drying out.
Source Duchess Bake Book
- 160 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 150 g (¾ cup) granulated sugar
- 150 g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- Whisk the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Make a well and set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the butter and vanilla, and whisk again until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient well, and whisk until the batter is smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap, and rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Prepare your pan with butter and flour/non-stick spray, and put that in the fridge as well. If you plan on making a simple syrup, put ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool.
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. When the oven is ready, spoon the batter into the pan. The cavities should be 2/3 to ¾ full.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden around the edges and the bump springs back to touch.
- Remove from oven and immediately remove madeleines from the pan by tapping it against the counter.
- Dip in your simple syrup and/or enjoy with a cup of tea.