I’ve been making madeleines for a while now and think they’re a very much underappreciated bakery item so it’s about time I shared these honey and lemon madeleines with you. Madeleines, for those of you who don’t know, are essentially buttery, light, fluffy little sponge cakes, usually shell-shaped, offering a little morsel of sweetness to enjoy along with a cup of coffee. Originating in France (like all the best patisserie), madeleines are seemingly very plain and simple, but served up fresh and warm they are a pure buttery expression of love. They can be flavoured or filled in all sorts of ways, and are pretty quick to whip up. In fact, you can make up the batter the night before, settle them in the fridge for a few hours and quickly bake them off in the morning for a quick, delicious and downright impressive petit dejeuner or morning snack. In fact, I think there’s a pretty strong case for the madeleine being the new cupcake. Or macaron.
Although madeleines are traditionally baked in a shell-shaped tin (which have recently become fairly readily available in the UK), they would taste just as good baked in a shallow muffin tin or similar – essentially anything that will let you bake little cakes in a uniform shape. Whilst they are pretty easy to make, it is essential to chill the batter for around an hour and then bake it at a high heat, so prepare ahead!
This honey and lemon madeleine recipe is the one I return to most frequently, as it gives you that classic moreish hit of lemon as well as a sticky madeira cake-esque coating which raises these seemingly one-dimensional little pillows into something so much more complex.
- 150g salted butter
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 3 eggs
- 150g caster sugar
- zest of half a lemon
- 150g plain flour
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- Melt the butter and honey together gently in a saucepan then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the combination is light and moussey in texture. Get lots of air in!
- Add the flour, baking powder and lemon zest and gently fold together. Finally, add the butter and honey mixture (when cool) and fold this in.
- Put the batter in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 210c. Prepare your madeleine tin by buttering and lightly flouring each little shell shape.
- Put a tablespoon of mixture into each shell-shaped hollow and slide the tin into the middle of the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 200c.
- Bake for around 10 minutes, until the centres have risen and the sponges are springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and remove from the tin - this should be achievable after only a couple of minutes of cooling with a gentle push sideways with your finger or a knife. Leave to cool and then dust with icing sugar. Repeat until all the batter has been used - you should get around 30 little cakes, depending how full you fill the tin each time.
- Enjoy warm, or cold for a couple of days, although they start to turn stale after the first day, so you may wish to keep some of the batter unbaked in the fridge to enjoy again.