Lemon and Honey Madeleines

Who can resist French madeleine cakes? This recipe for madeleines from food writer Lindsey Bareham is so simple and the cakes are light and fluffy, flavoured delicately with lemon and honey. A perfect sweet treat.

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I love these pretty little cakes warm from the oven. If you don’t own a special madeleine baking tray, use a tart tray. They erupt, Vesuvius-like, as they bake but it is the ridged underside that gives them their distinctive puppy paw look. Eat them as they are, or dusted with icing sugar. These madeleines look very pretty smeared with a lemon glaze, made by mixing 75g of icing sugar with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a smidgin of water. Another idea is to dip one end in melted chocolate. Delicious with a cuppa or a cappuccino, they also go with jelly, milk puddings and ice cream.

Makes 12-18, depending on the size of the mould


75g butter, plus an extra knob
1 unwaxed lemon
2 eggs
50g caster sugar
3 tbsp runny honey
100g plain flour, plus a little extra
1/2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt

Essential kit

You will need an electric mixer, and a madeleine or tart tray.


Melt the butter. Finely grate 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. Stir the zest into the melted butter and leave for 10 minutes.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and caster sugar until pale, thick and fluffy. Add the honey and beat for a further couple of minutes.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones, followed by the lemon butter, to make a thick, smooth batter.

Stretch a sheet of clingfilm over the bowl, sagging to skim the batter, and chill for an hour, after which the mixture will have thickened and turned spongy.

Heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

If using a metal mould, butter 12 indentations, dust with flour and shake out the excess. If using a silicone mould, this shouldn’t be necessary. Put a spoonful of mix into each mould so they are three-quarters full. Place on a middle shelf of the oven and bake for 10–14 minutes, until golden, swollen in the middle and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.

If using a tin mould, tap on the side to loosen the cakes before turning out on to a cake rack to cool. A silicone mould should peel away.

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