Soft, buttery French madeleines. You don't need to make a trip to France to get perfectly baked madeleines.
Why you'll love them
Madeleines are a delicate, airy, buttery French mini cakes that are loved internationally. These are a very easy to make and go great with coffee or tea. They are the perfect canvas for experimenting with different flavors and because of that make a great weekend baking project!
The recipe is so simple, but still yields delicious results. There is no required chilling for the batter or beating eggs to a ribbon stage. It is a recipe you can put together in minutes whenever the craving comes.
There are only a few basic ingredients you need to make madeleines which makes them such a great treat to bake last-minute!
- Butter - The best part about these little cakes is how delightfully buttery they are. We use unsalted butter so we can control how much salt is in them
- Sugar - Granulated sugar is required for this recipe. I do not recommend trying other types of sugar unless you want to try a different flavor profile.
- Salt - Sea salt is the best in this recipe. I don't recommend kosher or table salt.
- Flour - We use all-purpose flour here, but I've also had luck using cake flour which gives an even lighter and more tender crumb.
- Baking powder - I recommend aluminum-free baking powder. For the best results, ensure your baking powder is fresh.
- Egg - Use large eggs, at room temperature for the best results.
- Vanilla extract - I recommend a pure vanilla extract, but this recipe is also amazing using vanilla beans, if you have them.
- Lemon zest (optional) - A light sprinkling of lemon zest brightens the treats and gives them their signature flavor, but you do not need to include it if you don't have any available.
How to make
There are a lot of different methods for making madeleines. This particular recipe is a simplified recipe that is great for someone just learning how to make madeleines.
What I like about this method is that it gives you consistent results and a finished product that tastes like you've been making them for years.
- Melt the butter and add the sugar.
- Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then make a well.
- Add the eggs to the well and beat in with the flour.
- Drizzle in the butter mixture until just combined.
- Evenly divide the batter in your prepared madeleine pan and bake until the edges are a light golden brown.
My trick for crisp edges and a clear shell pattern
The best thing to do to get the signature crisp, buttery edges and a distinct shell pattern is to freeze your prepped pan before you fill them to bake. Give the pan a thin coating of melted butter and a light dusting of flour. Keep the pan in the freezer until you are ready to drop in the batter and bake.
This is one of the great debates about this dainty and delicious little treat. They're small and often dunked in tea or coffee like cookies sometimes are, but they have the tender airiness of a cake. The truth is, they are indeed little cakes. If you want to refer to them as cookies though, that's okay.
No. These buttery bites are best fresh and warm from the oven, but they are still delicious even days after you make them.
No one really knows exactly why madeleines have its distinct shell pattern, but it is believed it has to do with its origin in Commercy in Lorraine, France. Without the pan, you don't get the buttery and crisp edges, and the overall texture just won't be right.
If you love madeleines, then yes, it is totally worth it. You just don't get the same textures and flavors using anything else. This pan is the one I use and recommend. It isn't huge, so its easy to store away.
No, they aren't any harder to make than any cake or cookie. I would say the hardest part is understanding the amount of batter to put inside each of the wells in the pan. It is easy to overflow them.
How to serve
If you're planning to serve madeleines for a special occasion, or just want to create a fun experience with them, you can get as creative as you want with your madeleines.
Serve them with different coffees and teas. It would be so much fun to dip a freshly made madeleine in whipped coffee.
You can also top them with a glaze or melted chocolate. From there you can also top them with candied citrus peels, chopped nuts, freeze-dried fruits, and more.
Get adventurous and try something new!
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour your madeleine pan and place it in the freezer.
- Melt the butter and the sugar together and stir well to combine.
- In a bowl, whisk together the salt, flour, and baking powder together.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour and beat in the eggs one by one.
- Drizzle in the butter mixture and vanilla, then stir until just combined.
- Scoop the batter into the madeleine pan until the pan is about ⅔ full.
- Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until there is a nice dome in the middle of the madeleines and the edges are a nice golden brown.
- Enjoy the madeleines while they are still fresh.