Sylvia’s Chocolate Madeleines

Sylvia's Chocolate Madeleines

I have tested many Madeleine recipes over the years and none have given me the  results I desired. So, I went back to my own recipe drawing board and developed this one. Tirelessly I slaved away in the kitchen, testing one batch after the other. Not so tiresome really as the kitchen is my favourite room in the house! The guinea pig taster was undoubtedly my husband, who finally reported delight in the result, exclaiming in the highest applaud, “Yyyyyesss!” I hope they produce the same reaction as they did for my spouse and the same sensation as they did for Marcel Proust (refer story below). Anyway, this is my Chocolate Madeleine recipe. I hope you enjoy it! Sylvia xx

A few secrets to creating deliciously light Madeleines:

  1. Sift the flour, salt, cocoa and baking powder.
  2. Whisk the egg and sugar until thick, light and fluffy.
  3. Gently fold in the melted butter so not to lose its lightness is also crucial.
  4. If you have time, refrigerate the batter for about 20 minutes until firm. This allows the batter to rest before baking. A reasonably important step if you are able and have the time and patience to do it. But not overly necessary as I find I can’t wait to bake and bite into them. 🙂

Happy Cooking!

40g unsalted butter, melted
35g plain flour and a pinch of salt
(35g fine almond meal and a pinch of salt for Gluten Free)
10g cocoa powder with high cacao content
2g baking powder
50g caster sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon orange flower water (optional)
Preheat conventional oven to 175˚C. Preheat convection oven to 160˚C fan force.
Brush a 12 mould Madeleine tray with melted butter and dust with flour, shaking off excess flour.
If you don’t have a Madeleine tray stored in the back of the cupboard (doesn’t everyone?) you can use a mini muffin tray.


  • Sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.
  • Place the sugar, egg and orange flower water, if using, into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until very smooth, thick and pale. This step is very important.
  • Lightly whisk in the sifted flour mixture a little at a time until smooth.
  • Then fold in the melted butter until amalgamated. Do not over mix. Very important, or you will let the lightness/air out of the mixture. Rest the batter in the fridge if you wish (as per secret 3. above).
  • Spoon the batter evenly into the Madeleine moulds to just below the top. Then place in the preheated oven to bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffed up and springy to the touch.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Leave the tray to cool for a minute or two.
  • Then tap Madeleines out of their moulds and onto the cooling rack. Turn them decorated side up to cool for a few minutes.
  • Dust them with icing sugar and enjoy while still warm. Or dip in tisane the Marcel Proust way!

Yyyyyesss! Yum! Yum! Yum!

Madeleines, the petite génoise sponge cakes baked in shell-shaped moulds, originated in the Lorraine region of north-eastern France. Marcel Proust’s experience of dipping a madeleine in tisane (herbal tea) immortalised them in literature in his celebrated reference to them as the “episode of the madeleine” published in his famous voluminous novel In Search of Lost Time (Remembrance of Things Past). These tiny cakes have become ‘a madeleine of Proust.’

The madeleine episode reads: “No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory—this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. … Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? … 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 or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.”

Updated 31 August 2021

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