In Search of the Perfect Madeleine

With a springy, fluffy texture, madeleines are hard to categorize as either cake or cookie. Truly a one-of-a-kind sweet treat, madeleines are a classic French pastry that can’t be compared to many other morsels.

Though I’m not usually a fan of single-use kitchen equipment, I’ve successfully tried a number of variations on this recipe. In this fashion, I’ve convinced myself that the madeleine baking pan is now multi-use and definitely worth the investment. You can check out some of my flavor suggestions at the end of the recipe!

These are a super simple yet elegant baked treat that nobody can say no to. Once you realize what a walk in the park these are to make, your madeleine pan is going to start getting some major mileage. Enjoy!

Madeleine cookies in pan
Madeleine cookies fresh out of the oven

Before You Get Started

  • Take the eggs out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to bake time so that they’re at room temperature when you need them. This ensures that your batter has the right consistency so that the madeleines bake with the perfect texture.
  • Gather the rest of your ingredients and all tools or equipment before starting so that they’re on-hand for quick preparation.
  • For this recipe, you will need a madeleine baking pan. Also, you will need an electric hand mixer, a rubber spatula, a sieve, a whisk, a wire cooling rack, 1 small bowl, and 2 large mixing bowls.

Suggested Equipment/Appliances

  • Madeleine pan
  • 1 sieve
  • 2 Large mixing bowls
  • A whisk
  • Small bowl
  • Saucepan or microwave-safe bowl
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Electric hand mixer

Recipe Cook Time and Yield

  • Recipe Yield: 20 Madeleines
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Rest Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose or cake flour
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Move one of the baking racks to the middle of the oven.
  2. Either using the microwave or a saucepan on low-medium heat, melt the butter. Pour the melted butter into a small bowl and set this aside to let cool. The browned butter adds a richness of flavor to these madeleines, setting them apart from the average.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together once sifted.
  4. In a different large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar. Using an electric hand mixer on high speed, beat the ingredients until they’re creamy and silky. This should take between 6-9 minutes.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture in parts, beating the combination together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes each time until everything is mixed together.
  6. Lastly, fold in the cooled melted butter using a spatula only until fully combined. Don’t overmix or your madeleines will be dense and tough instead of fluffy.
  7. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of an hour and a maximum of 4 hours. The longer the batter chills, the more fluffy the madeleines will be.
  8. Generously grease the madeleine baking pan using butter, then scoop the batter into each of the mold spaces, dividing it evenly. You should be spooning a heaping tablespoon of batter into each mold space.
  9. Bake the madeleines for 8-14 minutes. The exact timing of this will depend on your individual oven, so keep an eye on the baked treats and remove them from the oven when they are lightly browned and starting to peel away from the mold.
  10. Take the madeleine pan out of the oven and flip it over on top of a wire cooling rack, releasing the little cakes. Allow them to rest shell-side down until they have fully cooled, then flip the madeleines onto their backs and dust with powdered sugar. Don’t dust the little cakes with powdered sugar while they’re still warm!

Tips and Tricks

  • For optimal baking and perfect light texture, keep the oven door closed during the cooking time and center the baking tin on the middle rack.
  • These sweet little treats will keep well stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Madeleines also freeze very well for up to 3 months! Defrost them overnight in the refrigerator and take them out to rest at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.
  • If using salted butter instead of unsalted, use 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt in the batter instead of the 1⁄2 listed in the recipe.

Fun Twists on This Recipe

  • For Lemon-Infused Madeleines: add the zest of 1 whole lemon (about 1 tablespoon) and 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the batter when you stir the eggs in with the sugar.
  • Honey Cinnamon Madeleines: Add 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the batter along with the eggs and sugar. Dust the madeleines with cinnamon and powdered sugar after they’ve cooled.
  • Orange Madeleines: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of orange extract to the batter along with the eggs and sugar.
  • Birthday Cake Madeleines: Add 2 tablespoons of rainbow sprinkles to your batter at the end after you’ve combined all of the other ingredients together and before chilling the batter.
  • Matcha Madeleines: Sift 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of matcha powder in with the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Earl Grey Tea Madeleines: Steep the melting butter with an earl grey tea bag before cooling it and preparing the batter.
  • Chocolate Madeleines- Sift 1⁄4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder in with the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Any of the above variations (including the standard recipe) can be dipped in your favorite melted chocolate and cooled for an elegant, delicious detail.