It is believed that Madeleines date back to the 18th century and that they originate from the Lorraine district of France. They are traditionally shell shaped and could be named after Madeleine Palmier who was pastry chef Louis XV's Father-in-law, Stanislaw Leszczynski, King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine.
Watch a video of how to make this cake:
65g unsalted butter
65g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons cornflour
65g caster sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
30g glace cherries
First melt the butter in a small saucepan and leave to cool.
Then put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk the mixture using an electric whisk until the mixture is thick, pale and has tripled in volume. It should leave a thick trail as it drops off the whisk. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk for another couple of minutes until the mixture is cool.
Sift the flours twice and then a third time into the mixture and gently fold it in using a 'figure of eight' movement. When it is nearly blended pour the cooled butter down one side of the bowl and blend it into the mixture. Then gently stir in the glace cherries.
Spoon the mixture gently into the holes of the tin and fill to the top and then bake at 190 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit or Gas Mark 5) for 10 - 12 minutes. The cakes should be springy and golden.
Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Variations - rather than using glace cherries you could add a tablespoon of cocoa to make chocolate madeleines or add 20g of orange zest and a tablespoon or orange juice for orange madeleines.