Cabinet of Curiosities Little cakes

Colour-block madeleines – recipe

Hello all!
It’s been so cold and gloomy here in Paris over the last few days that I’ve enjoyed hibernating. I’ve also been working on this recipe for some colour-block madeleines as part of my Cabinet of Curiosities theme.

You might think the link between madeleines and cabinets of curiosities is fairly tenuous but these little shell-shaped cakes remind me of the seashells often displayed in such cabinets…
According to some stories, the madeleine shape is linked to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (for which the scallop shell is the emblem). Others suggest that a cook named Madeleine from Lorraine gave her name to the cakes. There are plenty more hypotheses around, all fun and interesting to read.

‘Madeleine’ was my great grand-mother’s name, not that she ever baked a madeleine for me, let alone a cake! So I don’t really have a ‘Madeleine de Proust’ story to tell about madeleines. Growing up, they weren’t my favourite cakes anyway, because the ones I used to eat where shop-bought and therefore usually a bit dry.

But when I made my first batch, a few years ago, I realised how lovely and melt-in-mouth they can be… And with this foolproof recipe, I swear you’ll never buy a supermarket madeleine ever again.

To make 24 madeleines, you need…

Colour-block madeleines – recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Serves: 24 madeleines

This recipe is a twist on Rachel Khoo's delicious madeleines with lemon curd


  • 3 eggs
  • 130g sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 7g baking powder
  • Zest of one orange
  • 20g honey
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 200g butter
  • 100g white chocolate
  • Food colouring of your choice


  1. Beat the eggs together with the sugar until pale and frothy.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and orange zest.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Let it cool before mixing it with the honey and milk. Add the mixture to the eggs. Then fold in the flour in two batches.
  4. Cover the mixture and leave to rest in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Butter a madeleine tin. Put a tablespoon of batter into each shell.
  6. Bake the madeleines for 5 minutes before turning off the oven for 1 minute. Lower the oven to 160°C and bake for another 5 minutes.
  7. Leave the madeleines to cool. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and add any colouring of your choice.
  8. Dip the madeleines in the chocolate in any funky way you want!


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