I’ve always wanted to learn to make classic madeleines, but they intimidated me. Far-more-experienced bakers than me always made them seem advanced and difficult. So one day, with the brilliant expertise of Sally’s Baking Addiction, I decided to try! I am now here to tell you, as an amateur baker, that madeleines are another case of “It’s not hard, it just requires paying attention and following instructions.” I think anyone can make these delicious French sponge cakes; just plan accordingly!
I always thought madeleines were cookies. They’re not; they’re small butter cakes. Specifically what is known as a genoise sponge in classic European baking. These cakes lose their moisture relatively quickly. So if you’ve only had a mass-produced madeleine that is (at least) several days old, it is likely going to be drier and crunchier than it was when it was fresh, making it seem less like a cake and more like a cookie. This is just another reason to try a fresh madeleine, because they are absolutely delicious!
There are two vital steps not to skip in this recipe. The first is beating the eggs sufficiently, since that is the primary way these cakes get their rise. This recipe recommends 8 full minutes of beating in a stand mixer, followed by using a gentle hand with it once it is light and fluffy.
The second important step is chilling the batter. 30-60 minutes of fridge time before baking will help you get that classic hump on the back of each cake. But do not chill longer than 60 minutes or it’ll actually re-solidify the butter and impede the rise. Ironically.
This recipe is for classic vanilla Madeleines dipped in a simple chocolate ganache, but these cakes are incredibly versatile! You can add flavors in the form of extracts, zests, fruits, powders, and dips. I’ve also included the option of sprinkling crushed freeze-dried strawberries to add an extra fruity zing!
Because of the specificity of this classic recipe, I’ve retained the weight measurements. (I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale for your baking. It eliminates all the guesswork and inaccuracy of “spooning and leveling”, only to have a recipe not work in the end.) However, if you prefer/need the cup measurements, click on the link of the original recipe (link below). Sally provides everything you’ll need!
If you run into any difficulties making these cakes, I highly recommend reading over the Sally’s Baking Addiction post that I followed (link below). She tested the best and easiest way to make these fantastic treats, and her tips and troubleshooting are incredibly valuable!
Classic Chocolate-Dipped French Madeleines
(Original recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction)
115g butter (plus extra to grease your pan)
2 large eggs, room temperature
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
115g all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Melt the butter and set aside to slightly cool as you prepare the rest of the batter. You can melt it in the microwave or melt it/brown it on the stovetop.
Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together on high speed for at least 8 minutes. The mixture will be thick, pale, and form ribbons when you lift the beater. Beat in the vanilla extract until combined.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold half of the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then fold in the other half. Make sure you’re handling this delicate batter with care.
Stir 1/4 cup of the batter into the melted butter. It will take a minute or two to fully incorporate. Then stir it all into the rest of the batter. The batter will be thick, silky, and shiny.
Cover the batter and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Do not chill longer than this as the butter in the batter will begin to solidify.
During the last few minutes of chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the pan with melted butter. Don’t skip this step; it’s important!
The batter will be quite airy and spongey after resting. This is good! Do not try to deflate it. Spoon a heaping TBSP of batter into the center of each scalloped well. No need to spread it to the edges. Cover and refrigerate remaining batter if you do not have 2 madeleine pans to bake the batter all at once.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. The madeleines are done when the tops spring back after lightly pressed with your finger. Invert the pan onto the counter. Transfer the warm madeleines to a wire rack to lightly cool.
To make these chocolate-dipped, whip up a recipe of Chocolate Ganache (recipe here). Once the cakes are cool, dip the scalloped end in the chocolate and set on a piece of wax paper on the counter to dry until chocolate is firm. If you wish, sprinkle crushed chocolate, nuts, or even freeze-dried berries on the chocolate before it dries to add even more flavor!