As you step into the quaint little bakery deep in the regally calm streets of Maadi, you’ll find yourself immediately transported to the French countryside, where the owner and manager of Madeleine, Marthilde Cornil hails. Having turned a year old last February, Madeleine is one of the latest additions to the ever-growing list of hidden gems adorning the streets of Cairo’s leafy district.
As we walked in, we were warmly greeted with wide smiles and hospitality from Cornil and her delightful staff, mostly local students and lively individuals. We were treated to a scrumptious canelé to accent the sweet welcome. Everything is baked fresh at Madeleine, from the lotus cream millefeuille to the chocolate chip cookies, something Cornil takes special pride in as she generously shared with us her process, inspiration, and some of her struggles on the surprising journey she’s been on to reach this stage, sitting with us in her own bakery shop.
Cornil was born and raised in France where she learned her craft first from her mother, who she claims is the main inspiration and mentor for her baking, and then from the world-renowned variety of baked French delicacies she was surrounded with as she was growing up. Serving partly as a sentimental inspiration behind the name, Cornil fondly remembers the madeleines she had as a child and how it’s one of her favorite French desserts. However, that’s not the main reason it was picked.
“Madeleine is a French dessert that I really like, it’s a little cake that is quintessentially French, and I also wanted a name that anyone who could speak English, Arabic, or French can recognize and pronounce”Marthilde Cornil
As she reminisced over her first days as a professional baker, Cornil recounts that this shop wasn’t planned in Egypt nor was it in the works for her 5 years ago. She recalls how when she first moved to Egypt at that time, she found it difficult to remain dormant for too long and started baking lavish cakes and various French desserts for her friends and family, much to everyone’s delight.
Soon enough and after multiple nudges from her acquaintances to sell professionally, Cornil recounts how she started off as a small Instagram page that makes high-quality cakes and French desserts. Within three years, Madeleine would expand into a full-fledged catering business and Cornil’s brainchild.
With her background in marketing to aid her sublime baking, Cornil has been carefully organizing Madeleine’s path to become the standard of French bakeries in Egypt, according to her.
Ever the passionate dessert lover, Cornil cites her main value of good quality dessert and superior ingredients as the main reason she became popular, which she intends to sustain as she grows with her business.
Having a memorable name, perfect location, coupled with a great work ethic and most importantly, delicious baked goods, it’s easy to see why Madeleine became so popular in such a short time.
“What I’m doing that makes my desserts really good is that I make sure that I’m using the French method with no shortcuts, I refuse to add any additives, taste enhancers, powders, all that.”Marthilde Cornil
After graciously sharing some of her journey and thoughts with us, Cornil then delighted us with some of the best desserts we’ve ever had. Her insistence on high quality, imported, ingredients emanated from the deliciously fresh selection Madeleine served us.
To start, the madeleines at Madeleine (lol), were delightful, perfectly baked and with a perfect amount of authentic vanilla. The chocolate and lotus eclairs, however, were on another level. With a crust that just melts in your mouth, the cream and chocolate fillings were mouth-wateringly delectable.
Then there was the lemon meringue tart, which mixed the fluffy lightness of meringue with the crunchy sweetness of the tart perfectly to give bites of heaven in every way.
As for the croissants, which is one of the main tests of an authentic French bakery, it became no question to us that Madeleine’s is truly French. In fact, one of the few places that get the delicate art of a croissant right!
Something we’re dying to try on our next visit, however, are the various savory breakfast tarts that Madeleine recently started offering.
We could go on for days on every delicacy we enjoyed at Madeleine, but to truly experience those special creations, you need to head to Madeleine now in Maadi, or even call in on them to manage the catering of your next event.
You can pay them a visit at 23, Street 232 in Maadi, or give them a call to order on 01004472923.