Not the Real Thing

Before I begin talking about this week’s TwD recipe, I must make this disclaimer. I have not been to France and, except for what I read and eat here, I know very little about French food. Any assertions I make here must be taken for what I am, an amateur baker and not an authority on anything French.

Alright, now that I have that disclaimer out there, I can go on and talk about the madeleine recipe from Baking with Julia. First of all, the recipe uses the same genoise cake base that we made last summer for the strawberry cake (which was very good, by the way). Right away, I had a sort of bias against it. I think that there are very few cases in which you can use the same recipe to create different things. It’s terribly convenient, yes, but not always accurate. There is almost always some change that needs to be made. I mean, could I just add some red pepper powder to a jar of pickles and call it kimchi? Well, I really don’t think it would be the same thing.


In the same way, I really don’t think a genoise batter baked in madeleine pans can be called true madeleines. In my experience, madeleines are denser, more like a little vanilla infused pound cake. They are a little crusty around the edges and moist. Plus, they have a little hump on the back.


The ones I made yesterday were dry, airy, flat on the back, and frankly, not real madeleines. Don’t get me wrong, they were tasty little things, and everyone who tried them liked them. However, I spent the whole evening last night telling people they were madeleines, but not really.


Now, I think I may have to go and make some real madeleines to make up for this slight disappointment. On a positive note, I feel as if I am getting better at the genoise batter making. There were no lumpy bits of flour in my batter. I think using a large balloon whisk for folding instead of a spatula has helped.

If you’d like a really good vanilla genoise recipe, you can find it here. I advise you to make it as a cake, though, not as madeleines.


Posted on April 16, 2013, in Baking, Tuesdays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I like your “not Madeleines” 🙂

  2. I was largely unimpressed with these.I might have to give Dorie’s recipe a try!

  3. But it is nice that everyone liked them even if you think they are not really authentic Madeleines – although to me they certainly look the part – and there are so many different recipes for this traditional French tea cake, I am sure you will find one that is more to your liking!

  4. I think I’m getting better at making the genoise batter too…it remained airier than the last time. Yours look delicious.

  5. Your comments and other TWD needn’t comments are telling me to try other recipes… It would be great if you can post about real madeleines! Yours still look perfectly baked, give or take a hump. 🙂

  6. Simply beautiful looking madeleines!! I agree there are better recipes out there. I’ve been making madeleines for years…this was one of the driest recipe I’ve ever made.

  7. I used a different recipe, not because I knew better but I did want more than the flavor I got with the cake (although I loved it as Strawberry cake!) Thanks for sharing, Blessings, Catherine

  8. I didn’t have time this week, but it looks like I didn’t miss out.

  9. Mine actually had humps but fell short…as they were a bit dry. Could have been baker error, though!

  10. You are too funny. I had some humps, but they collapsed. Same with you, everyone said “ooh, aah” but I wanted to apologize. =)

  11. I found these dry, so I think they’d be better suited as ladyfingers.

  12. I got the bumps going on maybe half of the batch. I am with you on the whole genoise experience. These tasted more like lady fingers than madeleines to me 🙂

  13. I’m not fond of these. Too bad too, they were easy to make.

  14. These weren’t my fav either. Dry and dense. Made Greenspan’s last year – much better.

  15. have you ever tried ina garten’s recipe? i think hers might be coconut, but i’ve often thought of trying it. would be interested to know what others think.

    also, carie, can i have the recipe for the lovely blueberry cake you posted a pic of the other day? i’m blueberry obsessed! 🙂

  16. I’m starting to think of this version as ‘another way to use madeleine pans’ rather than a madeleine recipe.

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