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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a madeleine pan well with nonstick baking spray or softened butter.
Use a handheld mixer to beat the sugar and eggs together until well-combined and pale yellow in color. Add in the flour and baking soda and quickly mix to incorporate.
Add in the orange zest, vanilla extract, and melted butter before giving the batter a final mix to get everything combined.
Use a large spoon to scoop out a heaping tablespoon worth of batter into each madeleine shell. No need to spread out the batter to fill out the mold; the batter will spread as it bakes.
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.