Cupcake Madeleines

Sunday 28 February 2021

Cupcake Madeleines 

Back in 2010 when I first started this food blog I baked some traditional English Madeleines, the cupcake version.  I have always wanted to re-do the photos for them as I have a much better camera now. I've always been slightly embarrassed by the poor quality of my original photos. 

These are excellent cakes and I don't think my original photography portrayed them very well, or as well as they could have been.

Cupcake Madeleines 

One mustn't confuse English Madeleines with regular madeleines. They are two completely different things.  Traditional French Madeleines (or Petite Madeleine) are a small shell shaped buttery cake which comes from the Lorraine region in the North East of France.  

You can tell a good French Madeleine by the size of the bump which develops on the top whilst baking. A good one will have a really tall bump.

English Madeleines are also small buttery cakes, but they are baked in dariole tins. Once baked they are then rolled in sieved red jam and desiccated coconut. Topped with a glace cherry, they are delightful little cakes, both to the eye and to the palate!

Cupcake Madeleines  

Traditionally the jam is pressed through a fine sieve and then slightly warmed before brushing. When I was looking for a sieve to use yesterday I came across this in the kitchen drawer.  It was the right size and shape and so I used it, only to discover later on that it was actually a sieve to put in a sink drain.

Never mind, it worked perfectly.  I might actually buy one of those to use when I get my new kitchen! They are probably cheaper than traditional sieves!

The basic batter for these is a traditional vanilla sponge. Nothing outrageous.  Simple.

The fiddly part however, is the sieving of the jam, brushing of it onto the cakes and then the rolling of the cakes in coconut. 

Not hard to do but a bit time consuming, that's all. Well worth any effort however!

Cupcake Madeleines 

The original recipe for this was adapted from one I found in the cookery book entitled, Women's Institute Cakes, by Liz Herbert.  I will now have to replace that book when I can find one. (Fingers crossed)

WI books are the best. If a cake is good enough for the WI you know it is an excellent cake!  The Women's Institute is a community based organization for women in the United Kingdom, South African, Canada and Australia.

Cupcake Madeleines  

If you are familiar with the film "Calendar Girls," then you should have a pretty good idea about the WI.  They are well known for their preserving, conserving, and baking! 

And obviously calendars, lol.

Cupcake Madeleines

One thing which I really love about this recipe is that you don't need any type of dedicated madeleine pan or the dariole molds. You can just use an ordinary medium cupcake/muffin tin. 

Baked in ordinary paper muffin cases, these are simple, and uncomplicated. No buttering or flouring of molds or tins needed. Works for me!

Cupcake Madeleines  

They are also very similar to the Feather Squares my mother used to make for us every Christmas.  They consisted of a butter cake, baked, topped with jam, meringue and coconut, then lightly toasted in the oven until the coconut was golden brown.  

What a treat those were for us every year.  The only drawback is that they pretty much need to be eaten on the day, because of the meringue. Sadly, we never actually got around to baking them this year.

Cupcake Madeleines 

There is no meringue in these. Just sieved jam and coconut. Incredibly edibly delicious I have to add.

My family has always been crazy about jam and cakes. Mom did not bake a lot of cakes from scratch. She was deathly afraid of her children overeating treats and sweets. When she did bake a cake it would be her Hot Milk Cake.

Cupcake Madeleines 

Oh how very much we loved that cake. She always split it and then filled it with strawberry or raspberry jam.

My father loved jam in the middle of cakes. I think, if I recall correctly, my mom filled all of her cakes with jam. We never minded one tiny bit!

Cupcake Madeleines 

These are baked simply in paper cases. They peel off very easily once baked and cooled.  The original recipe says it makes 14, but I only got 12 yesterday. Not sure why. 

I did make one change to the recipe. I used all butter instead of half butter and margarine. I wasn't sure if it would work alright. I was a bit worried it would be extra greasy, but not to worry. They turned out perfectly.

Cupcake Madeleines 

My sister has a phobia about using margarine and  I have to say I don't really blame her.  I do wonder about it myself at times.  My kids were brought up on Parkay though.

Five kids, tight budget. Parkay. I felt that out of all the margarines it was the best, and tasted the best, but that could just be because of their clever marketing!

Cupcake Madeleines 

I have always fallen for clever marketing. I am a typical consumer I guess. I believe what I am being told I suppose.  I trust.

Lately we have been seeing commercials on the telly for Buble water, with Michael Buble in them.  I love the water, but I would never have noticed it but for their clever marketing ploy in using one of my favourite Canadian singers!

Cupcake Madeleines

Anyways back to the cupcakes. You need to bake these.  Cupcake Madeleines.  As Martha would say, "They're a good thing!"

Mmmm, seriously tasty.  Dangerous even.  Not a traditional madeleine, but I think even better than that. But then again, I never could resist jam and cake!


Cupcake Madeleines

Cupcake Madeleines
Yield: 14
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 10 M
A variation of the traditional English Madeleines, except using paper cases instead of the tin molds normally used. Quite, quite delicious! Cook time reflects the time needed to brush the baked cakes with the jam and roll them in coconut.


  • 1 cup (230g) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (95g) fine granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large free range eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup (140g) self raising flour (see notes)
  • 1 TBS milk
You will also need:
  • 4 - 5 TBS red fruit conserve/jam, sieved
  • 7 glace cherries, halved (can use maraschino)
  • 1/2 cup (40g) desiccated coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Place 14 paper muffin cases on a baking tray. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the margarine, butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. 
  3. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, making sure each addition is thoroughly incorporated before proceeding. If the mixture begins to curdle, add a spoonful of the flour and continue. 
  4. Once the eggs are completely beaten in, fold in the flour and just enough of the milk to make a soft batter.
  5. Divide the mixture equally amongst the baking cases. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. 
  6. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once the cakes are completely cooled, remove the paper cases. 
  8. Sieve the jam and place into a small bowl. Warm it slightly in the microwave for about 20 seconds. 
  9. Place the coconut into another bowl. 
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush a thin coating of jam over the base and sides of each cake. Roll them into the coconut to coat the jammed surfaces. The top of the cakes is now the bottom. 
  11. Place on a wire rack to set. Brush the bottom of each of the cherry halves and use to garnish the middle of each cake. Enjoy!!


Make Your Own Self Raising Flour:

You can make your own self raising flour by adding 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt to every cup of plain flour.

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Cupcake Madeleines

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  1. Thansk Laurie! I realy hope that you will enjoy them! I think they are fabulous, although admittedly I am a bit biased! xoxo

  2. I'm definitely going to make these, Marie. They are so pretty. Good news! I was able to find a copy of "Women's Institute Cakes" for you. My mom was a member of the Women's Institute in Dromore, a small village in southwestern Ontario for many years. I'd like to give it to you in memory of her. Take gentle care. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. That is so kind of you Elaine. I am most humbled by your generosity! I have always wanted to join the WI. I am not sure if there is one near where I live. If so, once the pandemic is over I am going to look into it! Love, hugs and many thanks! xoxo

  3. I have that book, it's excellent and I use it a lot. I'm so glad you will be getting a new copy soon by the sound of it! I've had my eye on this recipe for ages and now you have prompted me to "get on with it!". When I was little, madeleines were one of my favourites from the baker's basket when he called at the house. Happy days!

    1. It is an excellent book and I am very excited to be getting a new copy! Love your memory of the baker's basket!! xoxo

  4. These look really good and a lot less complicated than I thought, just looking at the photos. Boy, they present well, don't they? I might have to try this one too. I need to make a cake this week or next and was all set with your lemon pound cake but maybe these...

    1. Oh Jeanie, I really hope that you will make these. They are just lovely! xoxo PS - so is the lemon pound cake, lol


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