Classic Madeleines Recipe

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Walking through a local grocery store, I was reminded of how popular madeleines (French butter cakes) really are. An authentic French madeleines recipe should produce little cakes that are light and quite spongy. While a classic madeleine recipe is made to be eaten sans fork, don’t be mistaken into thinking that this dessert should be any less fluffy and moist than a picturesque, tiered cake would be. 

While you may be tempted to pick up some Costco madeleines, I have to assure you that a homemade madeleines recipe can be whipped up just as easily. In fact, you can make French madeleines as quickly as cookie dough and they will bake just as fast.

Madeleine cakes (also known as madeleine cookies) are not very fussy, but they do require a madeleine pan to get that famous shell shape. Don’t fret, however, as a madeleine pan only costs a little more than a store-bought package of madeleines, so it’s worth the investment. 

side view of madeleine cake

One of my favorite things about a French madeleine is the delightfully tender crumb. Whether you’re making a flavored madeleine recipe, such as a honey orange or lemon madeleine recipe, or going for a classic like this Julia Child madeleine recipe, you will love how moist and fluffy the interior of these madeleines are. 

I also think this easy madeleine recipe from Julia is one of the best madeleine recipes out there. It works as the perfect foray into the world of madeleine baking. Once you realize just how easy madeleines are to make, you will feel excited to experiment with other variations like Christmas madeleines or chocolate madeleines

close up shot of madeleine edges

overhead shot of madeleine cake shell shape

Tips for Making Madeleines

If it’s your first time making madeleines, here are some tips to ensure you’re successful and accomplish these with the upmost ease:

  • Beat the sugar and eggs together well. You want the sugar and egg mixture to look pale yellow in color. A handheld mixer can help make this an effortless process. 
  • Grease your madeleine pan well. Use a nonstick pan for the best results and a nonstick baking spray or softened butter. 
  • Follow the recipe instructions and simply fill each mold with a heaping tablespoon of batter. Don’t spread the batter out to fill out the entire mold. The batter will spread and form a hump as it bakes. 
  • Let the madeleines cool in the pan for a few minutes before you try nudging them out on a wire cooling rack. 

Madeleine cookies on a plate with coffee

You can see that for this madeleines recipe, I decorated the cakes with a dusting of powdered sugar. This is a very traditional and simple method of garnishing madeleines. 

Other ways you can decorate your madeleines include dipping them in chocolate or drizzling melted chocolate onto them. Once they’ve been garnished with chocolate, they can also be adorned with sprinkles or chopped nuts for a fancy finish!

overhead shot of madeleine cake shell shape

Madeleines Recipe

Yield: 30
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tbsp orange zest, or lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a madeleine pan well with nonstick baking spray or softened butter and flour. 
  2. Add the orange zest to the sugar, and use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar granules. Then, use a handheld mixer to beat the sugar and eggs together until well-combined and pale yellow in color.
  3. Add in the flour, baking soda and vanilla extract; quickly mix to incorporate.
  4. Pour in the melted butter before giving the batter a final mix to get everything combined.
  5. Use a dinner spoon to scoop out a heaping tablespoon worth of batter into each madeleine shell (this should fill about 3/4 of each shell - do not fill the each shell completely). No need to spread out the batter to fill out the mold; the batter will spread as it bakes. 
  6. Bake the madeleines for approximately 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the centers are no longer jiggly. Cool the madeleines in the pan for a few minutes before flipping them out onto a wire cooling rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the madeleines just before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 18 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111
French Madeleines: Make these French butter cakes at home with this easy recipe! via MonPetitFour.com

12 thoughts on “Classic Madeleines Recipe”

  1. Hello. I love your article on making several varieties of madeleines.
    So my question has to do with lighter colored stainless steel baking sheets non stick vs darker baking sheets. I have two madeleine baking molds that are dark. They cook unevenly.
    I was thinking of purchasing the lighter ones. Will that make a bigger difference in baking and the color of the madeleines?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Ann! Thanks so much for your question. So in general, dark baking sheets absorb heat while light colored ones don’t; light colored ones reflect the heat. That’s why whenever you use a dark baking sheet, your baked goods will tend to cook a little quicker and brown a little more. You’ll probably get a more even bake with your light colored sheet if you’re having problems with the dark ones. In terms of actual readiness of the madeleines, if you’re using a light pan, I suggest judging it not by its color so much but by two things: 1) does the batter have a wobble when you give the pan a nudge? and 2) Does the madeleine “spring” to the touch, as in, when you gently press down on the madeleine with your finger, does it immediately spring back up to the touch vs. leaving an indentation? A ready madeleine will not have any wobble in its consistency and will immediately spring back up at the press of a finger. Hope this helps! 🙂

      Reply
    • Thank you so much, Ash! That is so nice of you to say 🙂 I got this one up for you too if you’re interested in making them. Hopefully I will have all the recipes reformatted and uploaded by the end of this week 🙂 P.S. These madeleines dipped in chocolate…to die for! :p

      Reply
      • Sorry Barbara, I’m not sure what your question is in reference to? Can you please elaborate so I can better assist? Thank you!

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