Delicate and delectable Madeleines


book Proust


Personally, I blame Marcel Proust.


Were it not for his 2000 (give a take a few) words long description of Madeleines in Remembrance of Things Past (also known as In Search of Lost Time), I would have never fallen in love with these unbelievably delicate, melt-in-the-mouth little bites.


However, Proust left out one important detail: the recipe.


So, here I come to supply it for your benefit. Read on to find what you need to make Madeleines and how to make them.










  • Small saucepan
  • 2 small bowls
  • Baking pan with oval shell-shaped moulds with ribbed indentations; you can use small tarts pans or mini muffin pans.







  • 1/2 cup warm melted butter (warm is important)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional)




  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and keep it warm.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugars (white and brown) with a mixer at high for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes thick and pale. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest (if using).
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture into the egg mixture, one third at a time, gently folding it in with a rubber spatula. Take care not to over-mix, because that will cause the batter to deflate.
  5. Take 1 cup (240 ml) of the flour-and-egg batter, put it into the saucepan containing the warm melted butter and fold in with a spatula. Then pour the contents of the sauce pan into the remaining flour-and-egg batter mixture and fold in gently.
  6. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least one hour; overnight is best. (You may keep the batter in the fridge for up to three days.)
  7. When you are ready to bake the Madeleines, grease the moulds with melted butter and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Refrigerate the pans until the butter hardens (about 10 minutes).
  8. Drop a heaped tablespoon of the batter into the centre of each prepared mould, leaving the batter mounded in the centre.
  9. Bake the Madeleines for about 8 to 11 minutes in the oven preheated to 190°C. The edges should be golden brown and the centres should spring back when lightly touched. Take care not to over bake, as this will make them dry.
  10. Take the Madeleines out of the moulds with the help of the tip of a knife. You may brush the still warm cakes with a lemon glaze, made by stirring fresh lemon juice into about half a cup of powdered sugar little by little, until the glaze is thick, yet pourable. However, all these delicious little cakes really need is a bit of dusting with powdered sugar.

Madeleines are best eaten the same day; leftover Madeleines are wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea (which is how Proust consumed them).