Madeleines are classic French small cakes that have to be slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with a wonderful aroma of either vanilla, citrus zest, or, as in this case, almonds. They are not difficult to make, but you do need to have a special pan to give them their characteristic shape. The best part is that you can prepare everything in advance and then put them in the oven 10 minutes before you want to serve them, to serve them absolutely fresh and still warm with lovely crispy edges. The only difficult part about madeleines can be that they are supposed to have a ‘bump’. It doesn’t do anything for the flavor, and I don’t even think they look better that way. Perhaps it is because I like the make them with 50% almond flour that mine never get a bump. But I assure you that even if I did get the bumps, I still wouldn’t advocate them 😉
The other difficult part is photographing them before eating them, I was lucky to catch this one after having started to eat it already! Which gives us the opportunity to look inside and notice how fluffy it is on the inside.
For 16 pieces
45 grams (1/3 cup) cake flour, plus more for dusting the pan
45 grams (1/3 cup) almond flour
3 eggs, separated
90 grams (6 1/2 Tbsp) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
90 grams (7 Tbsp) sugar (preferably vanilla-scented by storing vanilla beans in the sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
Variations: use more cake flour instead of almond flour and replace the almond extract with vanilla extract and/or grated lemon or orange zest
Put 3 eggs yolks in a large bowl with 90 grams of sugar.
Whisk until pale and creamy. The change of color should be quite clear, but you can also check whether the mixture drops from the whisk ‘in ribbons’ when you lift the whisk.
Sieve 45 grams almond flour, 45 grams cake flour, and 1 teaspoon baking powder into the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
Fold in the flours.
Add 90 grams of melted butter. (The butter shouldn’t be hot to avoid prematurely cooking the egg yolks.)
Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the butter.
Add a teaspoon of almond extract and stir to incorporate.
Whisk 3 egg whites with a pinch of salt until the ‘soft peaks’ stage (it will look like snow).
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in three or four additions, working from the bottom to keep the mixture as airy as possible.
You can now cover and refrigerate the batter until later.
Prepare the madeleine pan by greasing with melted butter and dusting with flour.
When it is time to bake, preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 10 minutes at 200C/400F or until golden brown (and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the thickest part of a madeleine).
Serve at once while they are still warm. If your pan is non-stick and you greased it properly, they should fall right out when you shake the pan a little.
If you like chocolate, you will love these flourless chocolate muffins. You could even serve them warm as a dessert as ‘lava’ muffins.