Madeleines

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Light, airy, and perfectly golden, these Madeleines take less than 30 minutes to make!

Close up of madeleines.

Madeleines are delicate, French butter cakes that are petite like a cookie. They feature crisp edges and a light, airy center. These little cakes get baked in a scallop-shaped pan and then dusted lightly with powdered sugar.

My recipe is simple and doesn’t require resting the batter or tricky techniques. It’s very easy to make this French treat at home to serve with a cup of coffee or tea.


Why This Recipe Works

  • Cake flour gives the madeleines a soft, melt-in-your-mouth crumb.
  • The batter for these Madeleines is a Genoise, it gets most of its lift from the tiny air bubbles beaten into the eggs.
  • Baking powder adds extra air to ensure the cakes stay soft and spongy.

What You Need

You don’t need fancy ingredients to make this easy recipe for Madeleines.

Ingredients for making Madeleines.

Ingredients

  • Cake flour: To achieve light and airy madeleines, you need to weigh the flour. A kitchen scale is a very inexpensive tool that will help yield perfect results when baking.
  • Sugar: I like to use regular granulated sugar.
  • Eggs: My recipe calls for two whole eggs and one egg yolk. The yolk adds extra fat and richness.
  • Vanilla: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Lemon: Adds a light lemon flavor.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter adds moisture and richness to the cakes.

Recommended Tools


How to Make Madeleines

French Madeleines require a couple of steps to achieve their signature light, airy texture but the process is very easy.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

  1. Prepare the madeleine pans: Brush each cavity with melted butter or use my homemade cake release.
  2. Melt the butter: I like to do this in the microwave in 30-second intervals until melted. Set the butter aside to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the batter.
  3. Beat the eggs, egg yolk, and sugars together: Start by beating the eggs and yolk until frothy. Then add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat until thickened. This takes about 5-6 minutes and the mixture should fall in ribbons when the beaters are lifted.
  4. Add the dry ingredients: Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into the egg mixture then use a silicone spatula to gently fold it in.
  5. Add the butter: Drizzle in the butter and gently fold it in until it’s fully incorporated.
Frothy eggs in glass bowl.
Whipped eggs and sugar in glass bowl.
Madeleine batter in glass bowl.
  1. Scoop the batter into the pan: Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each cavity. I like to use a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop for this.
  2. Bake: The madeleines need just 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. You’ll know they’re finished when the edges are golden the the cake springs back when pressed lightly.
  3. Cool before serving: Cool the madeleines in the pan for 10 minutes then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Madeleine batter in baking pan.
Baked madeleines in a baking pan.

Tips For Success

  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale.
  • Allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using. They will froth up best this way.
  • Be gentle with the delicate batter. Folding in the flour or butter too aggressively will knock out all the air you worked so hard to incorporate.
  • If your cakes are sticking in the pan after baking, run a knife around the edge and gently nudge the madeleine forward. It should release without marring the surface.
Madeleines scattered on parchment paper.

Storage & Freezing

Madeleines are not cookies, they are light and airy cakes. They’re best the day they are made but if you must leftovers, make sure to seal them in an airtight container.

Recipe FAQ’s

Can I make madeleines without a madeleine pan?

The scalloped cavity of the madeleine pan is what gives the cakes their signature appearance. However, the batter can be baked in a mini muffin pan and still taste just as delicious.

Are madeleines a cookie or cake?

While they look like a cookie, they are a cake. The recipe uses the Genoise method which uses beaten egg as leavening.

Madeleines

5 from 1 vote
Madeleines dusted with powdered sugar.
Light, airy, and perfectly golden, these Madeleines take less than 30 minutes to make!
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serving Size 24

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 g) cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease 24 madeleine cookie molds and set them aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  • Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment or handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs and yolk at medium-high speed until frothy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat until very thick, about 5 minutes. When you lift the beaters, you should see ribbons of the mixture as it’s falling back into the bowl.
  • Sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it in. Add the melted butter and gently fold it in until fully incorporated.
  • Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into the prepared molds.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the madeleines are golden and spring back when pressed lightly. Rotate the mold halfway through baking.
  • Let the madeleines cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Notes

  • Baking: If using two 12-count molds, be sure to bake them one at a time.
  • Lemon zest: You can also use orange zest if preferred. Be sure to zest only the rind (yellow/orange part) and not the pith (white part) as the pith can be bitter.
Make ahead tip
  1. Madeleines are best enjoyed the day they are made but you can store them in an airtight container for up to 1 day at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cake | Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 42mg | Sugar: 9g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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