The madeleine is a tiny French sponge cake. It gets its shape from special cooking pans with ridged indentations. Often it’s flavored with butter and vanilla, but as with many traditional recipes, there are many ways to put a twist on it with different flavors and additions. I’ve also seen them be lightly iced before. They’re what I would think is a perfect ‘tea time’ style treat.
I’ve know about madeleines for a while, but it wasn’t until a few months ago when I knew that they were called madeleines. I’d seen the sea oblong shell thingys in pictures and I remember one of my niece’s playmates shared one with her once, I just didn’t know what they were specifically.
I’ve already talked about how Amazon is one of my minor addictions and sources of temptation. I have a wishlist that just seems to grow week by week (and sometimes day by day). For several months, I had a madeleine pan sitting in it. I kept eyeing it and weighing the pros and cons of whether or not it would be ‘worthwhile’ to buy one.
On one hand, it wasn’t like I could have multiple ‘uses’ for it–it’s a madeleine pan and to my knowledge there’s not much else it can be used for except to make madeleines. That would definitely make it a splurge buy.
On the other hand…I didn’t have a madeleine pan, I really wanted to try to make madeleines, and it wasn’t that pricey. And I cooooould rationalize it by just resolving to make madeleines on a regular basis, right?
Well right or wrong, that’s what I ended up telling myself, because I totally got that pan.
I knew that when I bought the pan I was going to make madeleines and that if I liked how they turned out, I would share them for this years 12 Days of Christmas series. Since it was a Christmas themed series, I wanted to try and make the madeleines a break little bit out of the traditional flavor profile and make them taste…’Christmast-y’. This recipe does just that. The batter is flavored with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and a touch of pepper for added spice. There’s also some orange zest in there as well. The batter does need to rest overnight, as it improves the overall texture of the sponge.
From what I understand, the metal baking pans work better than the silicone or dark plated ones because it causes the madeleines to bake more evenly. I greased mine with cooking spray and when the cakes were done, they slid right out, no problem. I did decide to leave mine plain but if you like, you can dust yours with some powdered sugar. Like I said, these are a perfect for tea time: they taste so moist and delicate. Those spices really come through and would pair perfectly with coffee or tea.
If y’all are interested, here is the madeleine pan I bought. It gave me no trouble whatsoever and I was very happy with how it made my cakes turn out. Here’s for making madeleines a regular sight on the blog, both at Christmas time and year round, eh?
Honey Spice Madeleines
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves (or a little less, if you prefer)
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1/2 orange
- 2 large eggs, at room temp
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Powdered sugar, optional
Special equipment: 12 cup madeleine pan
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking power, salt, spices & pepper and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or another bowl, pour in the sugar with the citrus zest. Rub it together with your fingers until the sugar is fragrant.
Add the eggs to the bowl and use the whisk attachment (or a handheld mixer) to beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is pale and thick, about 2-3 minutes.
Beat in the honey and vanilla extract. Use a spatula to GENTLY fold in the dry ingredients, and then the melted butter.
Cover the batter with a piece of plastic wrap pressed up against the batter. Refrigerate overnight,
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter and flour the madeleine pan molds and place the pan on a bigger sheet pan. Fill the batter into the molds about half-way (don’t overfill). Bake for 11-13 minutes until the tops spring back when touched. They should come out easily. You may have to bake in batches. Sprinkle the madeleines with powdered sugar and serve immediately.