Honey Madeleines

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honey madeleines

Summer holidays usually mean catching up with my husband’s family in Brittany, France, and this year was no exception. We opted to take the train this summer, a long 12 hour journey but which gives us an excuse to stopover in Paris for a bit of family fun (and shopping for moi). This time around, we got to visit some new cafés and restaurants (see my updated list of where to eat and shop in Paris), as well as discovering new places to take the children.

Much to my delight, our hotel was right next door to a Pierre Hermé store, and our children were just as excited as I was to nibble on some exquisite macarons for afternoon tea. There was also an award-winning ice-cream shop nearby, called Une Glace à Paris, with lots of interesting flavour combinations to try, such as orange, carrot & ginger sorbet or caramel & lychee ice-cream. Despite the many choices on offer, our son opted for plain vanilla!

marais paris

{Strolling around the Marais in Paris.}

carette paris

{Carette, one of our favourite places for brunch in Paris.}

carette paris

{Scrambled Eggs at Carette.}

carette paris

{Brunch at Carette.}

place des vosges

{Place des Vosges}

place des vosges

{Place des Vosges}

boot cafe paris

{Boot Café in the Marais district of Paris}

boot cafe paris

boot cafe paris

boot cafe paris

The waters in the far north-west coast of Brittany can be bitingly chilly, even in the height of summer, but our children seem to love nothing more than spending hours playing in the sand and occasionally entering the water for a bit of a splash. But what is most important about our summer holidays is that they get to spend time and bond with other members of the family with whom they, unfortunately, see too little of during the year. One person who plays a special role in their lives at the moment is their 92 year old great-great-aunt; she is currently the oldest member in the family but she still has the spirit of a child. And despite her age, she still does most of the cooking when we visit, and one can always find her in the kitchen baking some treats for the children. I have entered the kitchen on many mornings to find her baking a batch of madeleines, not intended to be eaten at breakfast but made in preparation for afternoon tea, called goûter. Not that that has stopped me from pinching a few to eat alongside my morning coffee!

madeleines

{Madeleines baked by our children’s great-great-aunt}

I have loved eating madeleines since I was a wee child, and even though I bake them quite regularly at home, my son seems to associate madeleines with his great-great-aunt, someone he sees only once or twice a year. They are the perfect little cakes for little hands and, lately, I have even found myself serving them for dessert alongside a bowl of strawberries steeped in balsamic vinegar or even a chocolate mousse.

Madeleines are best when the batter can be made several days ahead and left to rest in the fridge. This resting period allows the gluten in the flour to develop, which helps to give you light and fluffy cakes. The batter also needs to be fridge-cold before you fill the madeleine moulds and bake them, because it is the combination of cold batter and the shock of the hot oven which helps the madeleines to achieve their characteristic bumps. In my husband’s family, the success of a batch of madeleines depends mostly on how large the bumps are!

honey madeleines

Given how I often I make these cakes, I recently thought about buying a second mould. The problem with having one mould is that, after the first batch, I have to wait for the tray to cool before I can wash it, and then I have to grease and flour it again. I have one large aluminium mould which produces 12 large madeleines, plus an assortment of vintage moulds with a similar capacity. I also have a non-stick mini madeleine mould but, despite it being non-stick, I find I still have to grease and flour it like I would for my aluminium mould. That said, it is much easier to remove the cakes from a non-stick mould than an aluminium mould.

I recently purchased a silicone madeleine mould as I was curious to see if they were easier and better to use than aluminium. Whilst they were certainly easier to clean and the cakes popped out of the moulds very easily, I found the colouring on the cakes to be uneven. Moreover, the cakes didn’t have the same caramelisation that you can achieve with a normal mould. Even my son complained that the cakes were too pale and soft for his liking.

honey madeleines

I have now resorted to using a baking spray on my aluminium madeleine mould, and I also flour the moulds for extra assurance.

My recent batch of madeleines were these honey madeleines. We frequently receive jars of honey as gifts, and I love the subtle sweetness they add to cakes and desserts. I also like to drink my tea with honey and I thought these madeleines would complement them perfectly.

honey madeleines

Honey Madeleines
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: Makes about 12-16 cakes
Ingredients
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) caster sugar
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)
  • butter and flour (or baking spray) to grease the madeleine mould
Method
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale and thick.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, honey, orange blossom water and melted butter. Mix until everything is well incorporated and the batter has a thick consistency.
  4. Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 270°C (518°F).
  6. Generously grease the madeleine mould with butter and flour, even if it is non-stick. Another option is to use a special baking spray.
  7. Place a generous teaspoon of batter in the hole of each mould, or use a piping bag.
  8. Place the tray in the oven, and immediately turn down the temperature to 210°C (410°F). Bake until the madeleines have risen and are lightly golden on top. For large madeleine moulds similar to that pictured, this should take about 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven.
  9. Once the madeleines are cooked to your liking, remove the tray from the oven, and wait a few minutes before carefully removing the cakes from the moulds. Leave them to cool on a wire rack (the ridge-side facing down), and eat them warm or cold.

Cook’s Notes

The batter can be made several days ahead of time and left in the fridge to rest. I have kept batter in the fridge for up to 5 days with no problems.

The madeleines are best eaten on the same day they are baked, and preferably when they are still warm.

Share your photos!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird

 

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46 Comments

  1. Faye 19 September 2016

    I love Madeleine’s but have never made them myself, this is partly due to the fact that I don’t actually own a Madeleine tin!
    Your Madeleines look beautiful and has given me the push to buy a tin and get baking : )
    Thank you for the extra tips on the batter, it’s information like that that gives us ameature bakers a fighting chance lol : )

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 26 September 2016

      A madeleine tin is definitely worth owning if you plan to make these cakes often 😊 If you can manage to make the batter ahead of time, this recipe is pretty foolproof. Please let me know how you get on!

      Reply
  2. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four 20 September 2016

    Absolutely stunning, Thanh! I will be sharing this post with my FB followers as I am sure they will love it as much as I did! <3

    Reply
  3. Bryonna 1 October 2016

    Yum … I just bought a little madeleine pan and now I have the perfect recipe to try! Thank you for another great post and recipe

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 October 2016

      Thanks, Bryonna! Enjoy using your new madeleine pan and I hope you will also enjoy this recipe 🙂

      Reply
  4. Marie Oyegun 1 October 2016

    Your photos are stunning, as always! I bake madeleines all the time and have to agree with your son that those made in a silicone mould are really not as good 😉

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 October 2016

      Thank you for your lovely words 🙂 My son will be happy to know that he is not alone with his thoughts! I made madeleines again the other day and he reminded me that he liked them “a bit crunchy on the outside”, LOL!

      Reply
  5. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie 3 February 2017

    Beautiful photos! I’ve only ever made madeleines once. I really need to make better use of that pan!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 4 February 2017

      It’s easy to forget the madeleine pan but these cakes are really easy to make 🙂

      Reply
  6. Stephanie@ApplesforCJ 3 February 2017

    I really enjoyed looking at the beautiful photos. Believe it or not I’ve never had madeleines but they sound wonderful 🙂

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 4 February 2017

      Thanks, Stephanie! I hope you will get a chance to try madeleines one day. They are lovely dainty cakes!

      Reply
  7. Sharon Rigsby 3 February 2017

    I have a madeleine pan that I have used only once and I have been wanting to make them again. I am so glad I saw your recipe because I am definitely going to try it. They look delicious and like everything a madeleine should be! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 4 February 2017

      You’re welcome! Hope you will soon get more use from your madeleine pan 🙂 I use mine about once a week or once a fortnight!

      Reply
  8. Sarah @ Champagne Tastes 3 February 2017

    I’ve got 2 madeleine pans that were wedding gifts, but the only time I tried to make them I did a terrible job! I’ll try again- thanks for the reminder and tips! I love your Paris photos- I want to go back and eat my way through Paris again 😀 Oh and I’ve wondered about silicon molds too.. I’ve got a muffin pan one but I don’t love it.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 4 February 2017

      Hope you will give baking madeleines another try! And yes, I’m not the biggest fan of silicone moulds. For some cakes, they work great. But overall, I prefer the conventional cake pans.

      Reply
  9. Dene' V. Alexander 3 February 2017

    I always see these pans when I’m looking for other things in the baking aisles at many stores! It’s nice to finally have a recipe to go with those pans and it gives me an excuse to pick one up next time I see one!!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 4 February 2017

      Another cake tin to add to your collection 😉 But in my view, it’s one worth having.

      Reply
  10. Wendy 4 February 2017

    Your photos are so beautiful and full of emotion, I feel like I just took a short trip to France! There are a number of European cookies, cakes, and pastries on my “to do” list. Madeleines are one of them. I have yet to purchase a Madeleine pan, not because I think I won’t use it. Exactly the opposite. I think I will use it too much! These lovely little cakes would be so wonderful with a cup of tea!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 February 2017

      Thank you, Wendy! I always have my camera with me wherever I go, so it’s hard not to take a few snaps here and there. I highly recommend a madeleine pan – there are so many different ways to flavour these cakes. You will love them 🙂

      Reply
  11. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way 4 February 2017

    Beautiful photos — thank you for sharing your trip. I love collecting kitchen items. I don’t have a Madeleine pan it would be nice to have. Your Madeleines are gorgeous and I bet they taste even better. I’d love to share one or two with you.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 February 2017

      Thanks, Marisa! My madeleine tin is nearly 20 years old and it’s still going strong. When I first bought it, I thought it would be one of those pans I would use only once or twice a year. But I’m happy to have proven myself wrong 🙂

      Reply
  12. Kathryn @ FoodieGirlChicago 4 February 2017

    Such wonderful photos of Paris – thanks for sharing! The Madeleines look lovely – I definitely need to try making them!!

    Reply
  13. Byron Thomas 4 February 2017

    Such a beautifully written post! France is on my bucket list, but to be quite honest, I don’t see it happening any time soon. 🙂 I keep telling myself that as soon as my daughter’s education is finished, it will be my time. Until then, I’ll settle for these gorgeous Honey Madeeines – beautiful!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 February 2017

      Thanks, Byron! You will have a lot to look forward to when your daughter finishes studying then 🙂 In the meantime, we can always travel via the foods we eat and make at home 🙂

      Reply
  14. Wow, photos are just beautiful, and these madeleines sound like a dream.. sweet, buttery and just delicious. My mom makes fantastic madeleines, but I’ve never tried make them. Maybe I will borrow her madeleine pan and surprise her 😉

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 February 2017

      Thanks, Natalie! My father-in-law claims to make *the best* madeleines, so it was with some trepidation that I started to bake them for my husband. But then I found out that my father-in-law had only ever made them once (some many decades ago!), and they rose so beautifully and looked so perfect that he decided that that would be his one and only attempt!

      Reply
  15. Manila Spoon 4 February 2017

    Your delicious Madeleines made me want to go back and stroll around the streets of Paris again! Well, we won’t be back until summer of 2017, Lord-willing, so in the meantime I will enjoy eating these yummy cakes with a cup of tea!! Totally fabulous!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 February 2017

      Summer is not to far away! We pass through Paris once or twice a year, and I always look forward to it. I’m also always looking for new places to see and visit, so if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear from you!

      Reply
  16. Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy 4 February 2017

    I have yet to get a madeline pan. These look delicious. I had some sent to me one Christmas, and have had them on my “to make” list ever since. I will have to go and get the pans!!

    Reply
  17. Megan Marlowe 5 February 2017

    I have loved madelines ever since my days of working as a barista. They’re so light and perfectly delicious with a cup of coffee or tea. I recently purchased a madeleine pan but am yet to use it! These honey madeleines are my perfect excuse to break it in!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 February 2017

      I hope you will enjoy this recipe! You won’t regret buying the madeleine tin 🙂

      Reply
  18. swathi 6 February 2017

    Beautiful photographs, Love to visit pairs once at least. These honey Madeleine are perfect I need to get madeleine pan to make it.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 6 February 2017

      Thank you! Hope you will get a chance to visit Paris one day. It’s such a beautiful city, especially for foodies 🙂

      Reply
  19. Sandhya Ramakrishnan 6 February 2017

    I have only seen the Madeleines in pictures and I am excited to see how simple they are to make. I am clipping off some coupon to local craft stores and buying a madeleine pan soon. I was mesmerized by the gorgeous pictures you have and this is one place I really want to travel in my life time.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 6 February 2017

      I hope you will have a chance to visit Paris one day soon! I pinch myself everytime we go 🙂 And we are lucky to go often because we have family living in the area. Madeleines are one of my favourite cakes and you won’t regret buying a madeleine pan!

      Reply
  20. Leah 6 February 2017

    These Madeleines look fantastic and such a treat! I love the pictures of your trip as well, so lovely!

    Reply
  21. We are thinking about taking a bit of a last minute trip to Paris in March, and your post made me so excited! I can’t wait to sample everything from all the bakeries. I love that the size of the ridges is how your husband’s family determines the success of a batch of madelines – these are the little things your son will remember and strive for when he is an adult!

    Reply
  22. Kylee from Kylee Cooks 6 February 2017

    OMG, your pictures are absolutely stunning! I’ve spent time in France, but never long enough to develop a favorite place to eat brunch! The icecream shop sounds fantastic, and despite your son choosing plain vanilla, I bet it was the best vanilla icecream POSSIBLE!

    I love your madeleine pans – I have a pan, but haven’t used it yet – looks like I’ll be starting right here!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 6 February 2017

      Thank you, Kylee! I know some people think vanilla is boring, but when made well, it’s also one of the first flavours I choose. So it makes me smile when my son chooses vanilla 🙂 I hope you will get a chance to christen your madeleine pan soon!

      Reply
  23. Giselle Rochford 7 February 2017

    First off, your photos are seriously stunning! Also, I’ve always wanted to give madelines a try but never got around to buying a pan. Definitely gonna rectify that ASAP.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 10 February 2017

      Thank you, Giselle 🙂 These cakes are not hard to bake at all. Hope you will try them soon!

      Reply

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