I love madeleines. I find this petite, buttery, French cake almost cookie-like with its crisp outer edges and soft, cakey middles. It fulfills all of my fancy coffee break daydreams–you know, the sort where you leisurely sit down to a perfect latte and a sweet nibble on a picturesque patio? Or is that just me?
To be honest, while perfectly tasty, I think madeleines can be a little blah by themselves and are best as a side-car next to a cup of coffee or tea. While these bebe cakes are already buttery, I wanted to bump up the flavor even more, so I browned the butter until nearly burnt (this is how I always brown butter) and added the seeds from a split vanilla bean. It makes for a fragrant, almost nutty, cake with speckles of browned butter and vanilla throughout. We can do even better than that, though! Since we’re fancy, we can make these cakelettes even more delicious with some sweet and tangy smashed raspberry swirled créme fraîche to the equation.
A few baker’s notes:
The batter for these madeleines is rested twice, after reading several recipes a good rest seems to be the key to getting the signature “hump” on each cake. It makes for a longer prep time, but most of that time is hands-off. So while it might seem fussy at first glance, it’s really just down time.
Also, the recipe calls for buttering the madeleine pan between each batch. I have also tested this using cooking spray, and while the spray works it doesn’t result in the same deeply golden crust on the decorative side of each cake. I prefer both the taste and finish of the butter for these.
- 6 large room temperature eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup créme fraîche
- Add the eggs and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, add the seeds to the eggs and sugar. Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla bean together on medium-high speed until foamy, pale yellow, and doubled in volume--8 to 10 minutes. While the eggs and sugar are beating, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Once the egg mixture is finished, fold in the flour mixture using a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes.
- While the batter is resting, brown the butter. Place the butter in a saucepan or deep skillet and heat over medium to melt. Continue to cook the butter, stirring occasionally until the solid bits in the butter turn deeply brown and the butter smells fragrant like toasted nuts. Before it begins to brown the butter will foam, keep a close eye on it at this point as it will begin to brown pretty quickly. Remove the butter from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl to cool. Whisk in the honey while the butter is still warm.
- Once the batter has rested and the brown butter and honey mixture has cooled a bit (it can still be slightly warm, but not hot), fold the brown butter mixture into the rested batter until completely combined. Cover and rest the batter another 30 minutes at room temperature. Alternatively, you could rest the batter in the refrigerator up to 24 hours, just be sure to let the batter come to room temperature before baking.
- Once the batter has rested, preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a madeleine pan (or multiple pans if you have them) well with melted butter. Spoon or pipe the batter into the molds, filling each about ¾ full. Bake each batch for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cakes have a pronounced hump and are dry to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and let the madeleines rest in the pan for 2 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Clean the pan if needed, butter, and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve just warm or cooled madeleines with the Smashed Raspberry Créme Fraîche.
- To make the Smashed Raspberry Créme Fraîche:
- Place the raspberries in a shallow bowl and sprinkle half of the sugar over the top. Smash with raspberries with a fork. In another bowl, stir the remaining sugar with the créme fraîche, fold in the smashed raspberry mixture. Serve with the madeleines.