from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A small rich cake, baked in a shell-shaped mold.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A small gateau or sponge cake, often shaped like an elongated scallop shell.
- n. Something which brings back a memory; a source of nostalgia or evocative memories (used with reference to its function in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time).
After Madeleine Paulmier, 19th-century French pastry cook.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French madeleine, earlier gâteau à la Madeleine, of uncertain origin; attributed in some sources to a 19th-century pastry cook Madeleine Paulmier whose existence is now considered dubious. (Compare Oxford English Dictionary, Trésor de la Langue Française) (Wiktionary)