Cakes & Cupcakes

How To Make Classic French Madeleines

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Bonjour Y’all! This easy dessert is très Français and très chic.

An ideal summer petits fours- nothing says grace and elegance like simple classic French madeleines. They are simple in every way but so light and delicate – the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. This traditional French madeleine recipe is made with brown butter (called beurre noisette) and flavored with lemon zest.


They Have A Specific Look:

  • A lovely ribbed-shell shape, thanks to the madeleine tray. (USA) & Here (BE)
  • Cake must be golden brown.
  • Shell side should have a light crust.
  • Their characteristic bump.

Madeleines are essentially spongecakes, génoises to be specific, and the magic trick to obtaining a sublime sponge is patience and precision.


Get the batter really cold; get the oven really hot; get a big bump.

Tips To Make The Perfect French Butter Cake

  • Like all madeleines, they benefit from a rest in the fridge before they’re baked. (Good for the mads, convenient for us.)
  • The butter is essential to the flavor & the texture, so you must cook it until it is unmistakable brown and you catch the aroma of hazelnuts. It will have dark specks — they’re meant to be there, and they’re delicious.
  • Generously buttering the Madeleine pan (USA) and dusting the interior with flour gives you the crustiness!
  • If you skip the decorating part, serving your madeleines warm is key!

Here’s How To Make French Madeleines

There are many different variations on the basic madeleine recipe. This is how we’re doing it today:

  • First and foremost, beating the sugar and eggs is a crucial part. We’ll beat them for 7 minutes to really whip in enough air. I added a little flavoring to the madeleine batter: lemon zest and vanilla.
  • We then place the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • Gently mix the flour mixture into the beaten egg mixture. We don’t want to knock out all the air.
  • Last but not least, the melted butter. So as not to deflate the airy batter, use a spatula to gradually stir in the warm butter-honey mixture.
How to make French madeleines

Decorating Classic French Madeleines

This step is totally optional but I tried different styles with the chocolate and found that:

  • White chocolate (cover) + dark chocolate (stripes) doesn’t predominate the real madeleine flavor. When using it vice versa, I could only taste chocolate.
  • Covering the sides only is the way to go. When dipping the square end of the madeleine, I could only taste chocolate.
  • Go easy on the chocolate, today’s all about the flavors of the French madeleine.

Classic French Madeleine

These dainty treats are simplicity itself & so light and delicate – the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or to serve after dinner as petits fours. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Resting time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French madeleines
Servings: 18 Madeleines
Author: Yasmin


  • 12-hole madeleine tray 
  • Mixer
  • Medium saucepan
  • 2 small bowls to melt chocolate
  • Medium bowl
  • Spatula


For the sponges

  • 125 g Cake Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp Real honey (Not the commercial/adulterated one)
  • 125 g Unsalted butter
  • 80 g Caster sugar
  • 2 Whole bergamots or Meyer lemons (or 1 lemon and 1 clementine), finely zested
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 75 ml Whole milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

To decorate (Optional)

  • 50 g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces 
  • 100 g White chocolate, broken into small pieces 


For the sponge:

  • Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.
    Put the honey in a medium heatproof bowl, and place a strainer over the bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the butter to a boil. As the butter cooks, gently swirl the pan. 
    The butter will start to foam, then bubble, then turn golden. This will take 5 to 7 minutes. When the butter browns (it will get the color of hazelnuts, and have that aroma as well),  pour it through the strainer onto the honey. Some dark bits will slip through the strainer, that’s fine! Stir to blend.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or in a large bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and milk on high speeds to form a light and airy ribbon. (7 mins)
    On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in three to four additions, whisking the ingredients together gently. Once the flour disappears in the mixture, stop whisking!
    You’ll have a thick batter that will fall back on itself in a ribbon.
  • Switch to a spatula, and gradually stir in the warm butter-honey mixture. The batter will have a beautiful sheen. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface, and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/
  • Butter and flour a regular-size madeleine pan.
  • Fill each Madeleine mold with the batter until they are 2/3 full.
  • Place the Madeleines into the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, until the sponges have risen and are just golden brown at the edges.
    Unmold immediately. Serve now … or don’t.
    The madeleines stale quickly, but that just makes them better for dunking. If you’re baking more madeleines, be certain to cool the pan between batches.

To decorate:

  • Place the dark chocolate in a small glass bowl and microwave in short 20-second bursts for about 2 minutes, until melted. Or melt your chocolate on a double boiler. Then place in a small piping bag
  • Repeat the process for the white chocolate.
  • Dip the square end of each madeleine in the dark chocolate and place on a wire rack.
    Cut the end of the white-chocolate piping bag and pipe the white chocolate across the dark in 2 or 3 lines. Use a toothpick/cocktail stick to drag the lines of white first one way, then the other, to make a feather pattern.  
  • Place in fridge for 5 minutes to set before serving.


They get dry rather fast and are best eaten within a few hours after baking.

Can you freeze french madeleines?

You can freeze madeleines and they’ll keep for up to 3 to 4 weeks, or place them in a Ziplock bag and eat within 48 hours.

Make sure you enjoy some right after baking them!

Store the madeleine batter in the fridge up to 2-3 days!


If you make this classic french madeleines recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #WhatsUpDoughBakes.


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