Madeleine cakes are an extremely distinctive small sponge cake recognizable by their shell shape, which they get from the shell design of the baking pan. These bite-sized treats taste similar to pound cake, but Madeleine’s have a noticeable lemon flavor. Aside from the mold, the ingredients for Madeleine’s are easy to find and the dessert itself is fairly easy to make. The ingredients in a Madeleine cake are very simple: milk, sugar, flour eggs, vanilla and a hint of lemon or orange zest. The key to making a good-looking Madeleine is to make sure the batter rests and cools for the right amount of time. Once cool, it is easiest to pour the batter into the shell-shaped molds by using the same type of bag used to decorate pastries. Squirt a little in each mold and set to bake in the oven.
It is important not to wobble your pan once filled with batter to make it even. One of the trademark characteristics of a Madeleine cake is the bump that forms on the top once the cake rises. If you see this, know that it is completely normal, in fact, it is desirable. Once cooked, you may remove the cakes from the pan immediately. Madeleine biscuits are best eaten soon after cooking.