If you've never had a Madeleine dessert, it's time you experience this French cuisine. This is what you need to know about these sweet treats.
Did you know that you no longer have to struggle with the decision between having a cookie and having cake? That’s because of the one…the only…Madeleine dessert.
We adore Madeleine’s. And not just because their name reminds us of an adorable little french orphan who heroically saves her boarding school from closing. No, we love them because they’re delicious.
If you’re here, you’re on your way to a better life because we’re about to educate you on all things related to the Madeleine dessert. Continue reading to see what you’ve been missing.
Madeleine Dessert Origin
Can we take a moment to appreciate all that is French cuisine? It’s truly on its own level of amazingness, especially where its yummy desserts are concerned.
Unsurprisingly, the tasty treats originated in France in the 17th or 18th century. They came from the Lorraine region, which is in the Northeastern part of France.
Like any worthwhile dessert, no one can seem to agree on who made them first.
Some think it was a mysterious woman named Madeleine while others insist it was Jean Avice, a 19th-century pastry chef (yes, these dates are all over the place because no one really knows where they started).
Madeleine Dessert - A History
Just like its origin, the Madeleine dessert’s history is a little uncertain. One of our favorite stories involves a royal courtier falling in love with the little treats, giving some to his wife, and then spreading the recipe all over France in 1755.
The first written dessert recipe to mention the Madeleine cake is from 1758. It was around this time that the use of molds in baking (the kind of molds to shape things, not the fungus) was growing in popularity.
Some say that Madeleine’s weren’t famous until they were mentioned by Marcel Proust in the novel Swann’s Way in 1923.
The novel was unfinished at the time of his death in 1922. However, his brothers published the book and made sure the legacy of the Madeleine dessert lived on.
If we jump forward several decades to 2006, we’ll see Madeleines representing France in the Cafe Europe initiative. This initiative was a political initiative where the Austrian president went around tempting people with tasty treats.
Making the Madeleine Dessert
Madeleine’s are truly yummy desserts and incredibly versatile flavor-wise. They have the lovely texture of sponge cake, but a flavor all their own. You can mix any flavor into a Madeleine and it would be delectable. Ok, not any flavor, but a lot.
This dessert recipe is sticking to the classic because…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
However, keep in mind that you can add flavors like orange or chocolate to take this wonderful gift from french cuisine to the next level. Others like to add jam on top once baked.
Another dirty secret? You can buy these at many grocery stores, but the very best ones are either homemade or from a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop in France.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Extra butter for greasing or cooking spray
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- jam or chocolate to spread on top (optional)
You will also need at least one madeleine pan, though two pans are ideal to make this recipe in one batch as opposed to two.
- Melt butter in the microwave at 15-second intervals then set aside
- Depending on how fancy your baking equipment is, use either a stand mixer or a hand mixer (or if you’re really trying to punish yourself, you can use a whisk and your wrist) to beat the eggs and sugar together for 8 to 10 minutes until combined
- Mix in the lemon zest and vanilla extra with a mixing spoon
- In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt, then add in the egg mixture
- Incorporate 1/4 cup of the batter into the melted butter before adding the remaining batter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes, but do not get distracted and forget about the batter or you will come back to a pile of sad solidified dreams
- Put a light coating of cooking spray or butter over your madeleine pan
- When pulling the batter from the fridge, it will be spongey, which means you didn’t screw it up (yay!) — pour 1 tbsp of batter into each slot in the mold (if you only have room for 1 batch at a time, place the remaining batter in the refrigerator until the first batch is finished)
- Bake for 10-12 minutes; the center of the cake should spring back into place after your press it gently with your finger
- Allow them to cool on a wire rack (or don’t) before adding jam or chocolate spread to the top
After they’ve cooled you can either serve to your friends and family or keep them all for yourself. Store whatever you don’t immediately eat (as if that were possible) in the freezer for optimal freshness.
Get Your Madeline Dessert Baking
We hope you’ve learned something here today. First, that your life is forever changed by these lovely and tasty treats, and second, that no one really knows who made the first Madeleine dessert.
If you’re feeling motivated, you need to trot your enlightened self to the store to get these ingredients and start baking ASAP. Otherwise, you still need to go to the store to buy some prepackaged madeleines.
Want to find out what other desserts you’ve been missing out on? Head to our website to find another tasty dessert guide.