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Classic French madeleines are so simple to prepare — and, yet, so wonderful.

Easy to make and quick to bake, madeleines are mini butter cakes from the Lorraine region of France with a distinctive shell-like shape and hump in the center. Traditional recipes like this one include very finely ground nuts, usually almonds, and many variations are flavored with lemon or citrus. The cakes have a buttery, vanilla-almond flavor, pound cake-like texture, and crisp, toasted edges. Madeleines are best warm from the oven, so try to serve them freshly baked. The batter needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour (or overnight) in the mold before baking, so it’s easy to just pop them in the oven right before you plan to serve them. In France, madeleines are served with coffee or tea in the morning or for le goûter, the 4 o’clock snack.

The recipe is adapted from The Complete Robuchon by Joel Robuchon (Grub Street, 2008). His original recipe is made with egg whites only. It is excellent as written, but I didn’t want you to have to sacrifice 6 egg yolks! If you’d like to try it, increase the butter to 14 tablespoons and use 6 large egg whites. Finally, you’ll need madeleine pans to bake traditional shell-shaped cakes; a mini muffin pan also works beautifully (the bake time is the same).

What You’ll Need To Make Madeleines

ingredients for madeleinesThe recipe calls for super-fine almond flour, which is easy to find in most supermarkets. If you’re baking for someone with a nut allergy, or just don’t want to use nuts, the almond flour can be replaced with more all-purpose flour.

If you’d like to try a lemon variation, add 2 packed teaspoons of lemon zest to the batter.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Spray the madeleine (or mini muffin) pans with baking spray with flour. It’s best to use a light-colored metal baking pan, as the madeleines darken quickly in a dark-colored pan. (If a dark metal pan is the only option, start checking for doneness around 8 to 10 minutes.)

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, salt, and confectioners’ sugar.
almond flour, flour, confectioners sugar and salt in a bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked dry ingredients in a bowl

In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the flour-sugar mixture.
whisked eggs with dry ingredients added

Whisk until the mixture is evenly combined.

eggs and dry ingredients whisked in a bowl

Add the melted butter, honey, and vanilla.

adding melted butter, honey, and vanilla

Whisk until the batter is smooth and thickened.

madeleine batter in bowl

Fill the pan(s): Transfer the batter to a large liquid measuring cup. Carefully pour the batter into the into the hollows of the molds so that they are almost completely full. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight to firm up before baking. (If you only have one madeleine pan, the extra batter can be refrigerated in the liquid measuring cup or a separate container, and spooned into the mold once it is available; no need to refrigerate the batter in the mold again before baking.)

madeleine batter in pan ready to bake

About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Place a piece of parchment paper over a cooling rack (the parchment will prevent the rack from leaving indentation marks on the cakes).

Bake one pan at a time for 11 to 13 minutes, until the madeleines are pale and firm to the touch on top and golden around the edges. (The bottoms brown more quickly than the tops, so keep the tops pale.) Remove the pan from the oven and let the madeleines cool in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes.

 

fresh baked madeleines cooling on rack

Using a butter knife to lift up the edges, transfer the madeleines to a parchment paper-lined cooling rack, shell-side up, and cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

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Madeleines

Classic French madeleines are so simple to prepare — and, yet, so wonderful.

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup super-fine almond flour (or replace with more all-purpose flour)
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Special Equipment

  • Madeleine pan(s) or mini muffin pan
  • Baking spray with flour, such as Pam Baking or Baker’s Joy

Instructions

  1. Spray the madeleine or mini muffin pans (see note) with baking spray with flour. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, salt, and confectioners’ sugar.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the flour-sugar mixture to the eggs and whisk until the mixture is evenly combined. Add the melted butter, honey, and vanilla and whisk until the batter is smooth and thickened.
  4. Fill the pan(s): Transfer the batter to a large liquid measuring cup. Carefully pour the batter into the into the hollows of the molds so that they are almost completely full. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight to firm up before baking. (If you only have one madeleine pan, the extra batter can be refrigerated in the liquid measuring cup or a separate container, and spooned into the mold once it is available; no need to refrigerate the batter in the mold again before baking.)
  5. About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Place a piece of parchment paper over a cooling rack (the parchment will prevent the rack from leaving indentation marks on the cakes).
  6. Bake one pan at a time for 11 to 13 minutes, until the madeleines are pale and firm to the touch on top and golden around the edges. (The bottoms brown more quickly than the tops, so keep the tops pale.) Remove the pan from the oven and let the madeleines cool in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a butter knife to lift up the edges, transfer the madeleines to a cooling rack, shell-side up, and cool for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges feel crisp. Serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
  7. Madeleines are best served freshly baked, but leftover cakes can be stored on a plate in a single layer, loosely covered with foil, at room temperature for up to 1 day.
  8. Note: It’s best to use a light-colored metal baking pan, as the madeleines darken quickly in a dark-colored pan. If a dark metal pan is the only option, start checking for doneness around 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. To Make Lemon Madeleines: Add 2 packed teaspoons lemon zest to the batter when you add the melted butter, honey, and vanilla. (You’ll need two lemons.)

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (24 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 cake
  • Calories: 122
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 34 mg
  • Cholesterol: 39 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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