Classic Madeleines are one of the easiest, most delicious soft mini cake you can serve to your guests and impress everyone! A Classic French recipe taken to the next level with rosemary infused in the cake batter and Valrhona Passion fruit chocolate used in glazing. My Madeleine recipe will take you through step by step on the process of making this fancy yet easy French teacake, or cookie as some people might refer to them, and includes tons of tips about how to achieve the perfect shell like shape and signature bump.
Madeleines are super versatile and can be flavoured with a great variety of spices, eg. orange zest, cardamon, vanilla bean, earl grey tea. This Madeleine recipe made with rosemary and Passion fruit chocolate is my new favourite flavour combination, you absolutely have to try it!
What is Madeleine?
The term madeleine, used to describe a small cake, seems to appear for the first time in France in the middle of the 18th century.
Classic Madeleines are very small shell like shape sponge cakes (even though some refer to them as cookies) that are baked in a special baking pan called Madeleines tin. A genoise cake batter is used to make these iconic French tea cakes therefor they have light texture and slightly crispy edge. As the Madeleines rise during baking, a so called belly or bump is formed giving the Madeleines their signature look.
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking this Classic Madeleines recipe
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using ingredients not on the right temperature etc. will all definitely have an impact on baking Madeleines
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking Madeleines
Some important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of this Classic Madeleines recipe
- Flour: All purpose or Pastry flour work absolutely good to make Madeleines, remember this is a sponge cake so you want to avoid high gluten content flour. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Baking powder: Has two functions: increase the volume and lighten the texture
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
- Sugar: Simple granulated sugar is used in this Madeleine recipe. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Egg as always need to be on room temperature
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be on room temperature, this is an exception as butter needs to be melted
- Rosemary: It might sounds unusal but worth to give it a try. Use a handful of fresh rosemary leaves and cut it into the cake batter with a scissor. Alternatively, you can use orange zest, vanilla bean etc to flavour the Madeleines
- Chocolate: The chocolate coating for the Madeleine recipe is totally optional. I am using Passion fruit inspiration from Valrhona that has an amazing taste and works super well with rosemary. Remember, when it comes to chocolate, the quality goes way beyond taste, it can actually make or break any recipe. To achieve that beautiful definition on the chocolate you will need to temper it first so use high quality couverture chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than the average supermarket chocolate. The additional cocoa butter, combined with proper tempering technique gives the chocolate a more shiny look, a firmer “snap” when broken, and a creamier, more smooth texture. Couverture type of chocolate is used by professionals and by home bakers who want to take their chocolate work to the next level. It is usually sold online in a bigger pack, I order mine from Amazon
My top 5 tips regarding the TECHNIQUE of making Classic Madeleins
1. How to prepare the Madeleines
Every Madeleine recipe starts with melting butter so while whipping eggs with sugar, melted butter can cool down slightly. You can also make brown butter to achieve an even more complex flavour profile, in that case worth to infuse the rosemary in the brown butter early on.
As mentioned this is a genoise type of cake batter so key thing is to whip egg and sugar for a good couple of minutes (minimum 5 min) until foamy then gently fold in the rest of the ingredients. There is baking powder in the batter however the "bump" and light texture is mainly encouraged by the proper sponge making technique, the baking powder alone won´t do that for us. You’ll know that you whipped the egg and sugar long enough when the mixture is thick and pale, it is important that you use room temperature eggs for this.
Sift the dry ingredients as we want to avoid any lumps that make it difficult to fold dry ingredients with wet. Then melted butter needs to be folded in carefully, again paying attention not to totally deflate the batter. And finally, cut rosemary into the cake batter with a scissor.
Most difficult part of the Madeleine recipe? Being patient as you will need to chill the batter for minimum 5 hours or overnight is even better. Letting the batter rest in the fridge will ultimately helps the Madeleines to rise taller meaning more beautiful "bumps". You absolutely can not skip this step.
2. What pan to use to make Madeleines
You will need a Madeleines tin to make this Madeleine recipe and similarly to most sponge cake recipes, the baking tin requires some preparation whether it is non stick or not. Brush the Madeleines tin with melted butter then dust with some flour. Make sure you apply the butter + flour lightly, in order to do so, hold the pan upside down and tap it a few times, in this way you can easily get rid of any excess flour.
I recommend that you pipe Madeleines batter into the baking pan, simply it is neater than trying to spoon the batter. For this Madeleine recipe I find filing the tin till ⅔ is enough so do not try to fill the entire hole. If you pipe the batter evenly into the tin, during baking the batter will spread and rise evenly.
3. How to bake Classic Madeleines?
The Madeleines are baked only for 10 minutes! While baking Madeleines we want to achieve that signature "belly" rise therefore I found it is better starting on high oven temperature then decrease it slightly. Bake for 5 min in 200 C / 392 F then for another 5 min in 160 C / 345 F. The high temperature will help to achieve the classic "dome" style then the temperature need to be reduced for an even golden colour.
Feel free to experiment with your own oven for the best results. Honestly, every oven is different, the most important is that you get to know your oven well. Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer especially if you are experiencing that your oven does not always work as it should.
4. How to make coat Classic Madeleines with chocolate
This is totally optional but the chocolate coating really takes the Madeleines to the next level both in terms texture, but also the passion fruit flavour.
2. Melt and temper chocolate (see tips at the next section)
3. If chocolate is at the right working temperature (in my case 30-31C), pour a small amount (one tablespoon) of chocolate into each of hole and brush chocolate all around the surface
4. Place one Madeleine into each hole and gently press it down into the chocolate then place the Madeleines tin into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. The chocolate will contract and after 10 minutes the Madeleines with the chocolate on them will easily pop out from Madeleines tin. If chocolate is tempered correctly, the decoration will be shiny and firm with great definition of the iconic shell shape
5. How and why temper chocolate
For this Madeleine recipe I really recommend that you try this easy tempered chocolate decoration.
As mentioned above it is highly recommended to temper your chocolate if you want the chocolate decoration to look shiny, firm with definition. There are various methods to temper chocolate, for home bakers and with small batch of chocolate, I recommend the “seeding method” that is super easy and can be achieved with a microwave and thermometer, eg. Infrared thermometer gun. It might sound complicated and too scientific, but in fact it is really easy. All you need to do is melt chocolate to a certain temperature then add more chocolate chips (that is called callet, it is already tempered and it is NOT the same as supermarket chocolate chip!!) into the melted chocolate – that will bring down your chocolate temperature to the so called working temperature. That´s it! If you can access couverture chocolate, the required temperatures are stated on the bag. In my case using Valrhona Passion fruit chocolate, I have to warm up the chocolate to 40-45C / 104-113F then cool it down to 30-31C / 86-88F by adding more chocolate. Easy peasy.
Melt chocolate to 40-45C / 104-113F in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds
Once chocolate reached 40-45C / 104-113F, immediately add 5% callets – so in case of 150 g chocolate add 7.5 g callets (callet=chocolate chips of the same chocolate you melted)
Stir the chocolate well to mix callets thoroughly and evenly. Do the callets melt too quickly? That means your chocolate is still too hot. Add more callets to lower its temperature and continue stirring
Stir until you’ll obtain a slightly thickened chocolate, in my case I have to reach 30-31C / 86-88F that is the working temperature of my Valrhona Passion fruit chocolate. Last is the quality check: pour a small amount of chocolate onto a piece of parchment and put it into the fridge for a minute or two. If it looks shiny and snaps when you break it into half, your chocolate has been tempered properly! If not, start again… Been there before, don´t get disappointed, practise practise practise is the “secret”!
Some other Mini cake recipe ideas for you
Orange Early Grey Madeleines - My recipe for Orange Earl Grey Madeleines is as classy as it can get! Airy, classy Madeleines loaded with orange zest and Earl grey tea is the ultimate teacake you must try!
Raspberry Mini bundt cake - This Raspberry Mini Bundt cake recipe is the perfect teacake for any occasion with literally zero effort! Mini Bundt cakes are extremely versatile, can be made with almost any berries, citrus, nuts or chocolate according to your taste! These Mini Bundt cakes have the perfect individual serving sizes and the most amazing soft, melt in your mouth texture with lovely fruity and citrus flavour.
Fig Polenta mini cake - This fig polenta mini cake is a the easiest, quickest, most delicious gluten-free dessert recipe to try! I adore the texture that polenta gives to cakes and the freshness provided by my favourite fall fruit; fig! The mini cakes are loaded with orange zest, drizzled with the most delicious home made orange rosewater syrup, a dream come true really!
Financiers - French Financiers are the best teacakes, and in this recipe, you will learn how to make them in 3 different flavors; almond, hazelnut, pistachio! They are delicate, super moist, and full of natural nutty flavors due to the nut flour and browned butter used in the cake batter.
STAY UPDATEDSubscribe to my recipes, sweet tips & latest travel news.
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat then set aside
- Using a Electric hand mixer or your stand mixer whisk together eggs and sugar until pale and foamy, this will take about 5 minutes
- Sift in flour, salt and baking powder then gently fold it with a Rubber spatula
- Fold in melted butter
- Last, fold in rosemary cut into small pieces. Then cover the surface of the cake batter and leave it in the fridge for min 5 hours or even better if overnight
- Next day, take the madeleine batter out of the fridge and Pre-heating oven to 200 C / 392°F
- Gently grease your Madeleines tin first with melted butter then dust with flour
- Ideally using a piping bag on fill the Madeleines tin till ⅔
- Bake for 5 min in 200 C / 392 F then for another 5 min in 160 C / 345 F. The high temperature will help to achieve the classic "dome" style then the temperature need to be reduced for an even golden colour. Feel free to experiment with your own oven for the best results.
- Once baked, immediately remove the madeleines from the tin and let them come to room temp
- Melt and temper chocolate according to instructions on the chocolate pack if you are using couverture chocolate. For Valrhona Passion Fruit chocolate melt chocolate to 40-45C in microwave stirring every 30 seconds then bring temperature down to 30-31C by adding the chocolate cut into small pieces (that is tempering). Use a thermometer to measure exact temp, eg. Infrared thermometer gun
- Brush a layer of chocolate into the Madeleines tin then place one Madeleine into each hole and press them down into the chocolate carefully
- Place the Madeleines tin into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. After set, Madeleine with the chocolate on them should pop out from the tin easily. If chocolate tempered correctly, you will see a shiny, firm chocolate layer on the Madeleines with great defintion of the iconic seashell shape