Classic French

Recipe Expert French Madeleins Back Lemons Flour Sift Fork Teal Background

Traditional French madeleines are small, shell-shaped tea cakes that are wildly popular throughout France as an afternoon goûter or snack. Known as madeleine cookies, madeleine cakes, French tea cakes, or French butter cakes, it was this humble treat that Marcel Proust wrote about in his novel “Remembrance of Things Past”  recalling the childhood memories they evoked. To make this recipe you’ll need just a few ingredients and a madeleine pan, which you can find at most kitchenware stores.

How to Make Classic French Madeleines

The Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • powdered sugar

The Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Generously butter and flour your madeleine pan
  • Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl
  • Add vanilla, lemon peel, and salt and combine
  • Add flour; beat just until blended
  • Gradually add the cooled melted butter and beat until blended
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each shell-shaped indentation in your pan
  • Bake until puffed and brown, about 15 minutes
  • Cool 5 minutes
  • Gently remove from pan
  • Repeat process, buttering and flouring pan before each batch
  • Dust cookies with powdered sugar


Variation Suggestions for French Madeleines

  • Add French Vanilla for a less traditional option
  • Go bold and add baking cocoa to your recipe
  • Dip the cakes in chocolate
  • Glaze with your favorite flavor

Serving Suggestions for French Madeleines

These small cakes are best enjoyed as Proust once did — with a cup of freshly brewed tea for dipping

  • Best paired with an afternoon cup of Earl Grey, Ceylon black tea, or even a brewed coffee
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