These orange madeleines are almost as much cake as they are cookie. They’re infused with citrus and can easily be baked in a mini-muffin pan instead of a traditional madeleine pan.
What Exactly Did Proust Say About Madeleines?
Ever tell yourself you’re going to peruse the madeleines passage from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time so you knew firsthand what the heck the big deal is…and then never, ever get around to it? Look no further.
“And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the interval, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry cooks’ windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the forms of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 2 H
- Makes 12 large or 24 small
Special Equipment: Metal madeleine tins (silicone madeleine molds will prevent your little cakes from turning a lovely shade of golden brown) a or mini muffin pans
- For the orange madeleines
- For the orange glaze
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar to combine. (You want to actually whisk the batter by hand, rather than with an electric mixer, to ensure tender madeleines.)
Whisk in half the orange zest, 1 teaspoon orange juice, and the vanilla. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir just until combined. Pour in the butter and whisk just until thoroughly incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter and flour madeleine tins or mini muffin pans, tapping out any excess flour. Place the tins or pans in the freezer until ready to use.
Pour the batter into the madeleine tins or mini muffin pans until each indentation is just barely completely filled, trying to make a mound in the center. Bake until puffed and golden brown on top, 8 to 10 minutes if you’re using small madeleine tins and 14 to 16 minutes if using large madeleine tins or mini muffin pans.
Let the madeleines cool in the tins for 2 minutes before turning them onto wire racks to cool for at least 20 minutes before glazing.
Mix the confectioner’s sugar with just enough orange juice to make an opaque, thick, yet spreadable glaze.
Spread some glaze over each madeleine with a pastry brush, immediately sprinkle the remaining orange zest over the tops, and let rest for about 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This orange madeleines recipe is a brilliant addition to my sweets repertoire! The madeleines are beautiful with their shiny glaze sprinkled with fresh orange zest. The flavor is rich with butter and bright with citrus flavor. You will not be able to stop at just one! Simple, elegant, and quick—what more could you ask for?
I love madeleines so I was immediately drawn to this orange madeleines recipe. The taste and crumb of the cakes is great and the amount of orange flavoring is perfect—not too subtle but not over the top. I like that they're not overly sweet. Without the glaze, the madeleines didn't have much sweetness, but with the glaze they had just the right amount. I baked my large madeleines for 14 minutes and they were slightly golden brown around the edges. After letting the madeleines cool for 2 minutes, they easily came out of the mold and the shell side of the cake was a lovely golden color. After they were on the cooling rack, I made the glaze and iced them while still warm and sprinkled them with the remaining orange zest. The zest, while pretty, did not really sprinkle evenly (I think because it was freshly zested and still wet) which resulted in clumps. They were slightly dry tasting after resting for 20 minutes, but after being in a closed container overnight, they were very moist the next morning. The glaze never fully dried, so the cakes were slightly sticky to handle, but this wasn't a problem because the glaze is important to these cakes. Despite having made madeleines at least a dozen times in the past, I was pleased to learn the trick about putting the buttered and floured pan in the freezer before filling with batter. I will use this method for all future madeleines.