Vanilla Madeleines are perfect bite-sized little cakes. They are sweet and buttery but also light and soft. They are wonderful with afternoon tea and can also be a sweet treat with your morning coffee as well!
While making madeleines can sound intimidating since they tend to have the reputation of being fussy, this vanilla madeleine recipe is anything but fussy! It has just a few major steps and I will show up exactly how to make it in just a jiff.
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This madeleine recipe is very easy to make with just 7 simple ingredients.
- They have the perfect pretty golden brown scalloped shell shape on one side and a nice hump on the other.
- They are light and moist while also rich and buttery.
Ingredients and substitutions
As always, you’ll find the complete list of ingredients and quantities in the recipe card at the end of this post. Below are some notes and substitution tips for each ingredient:
- Butter – unsalted butter is used in this recipe. Since we only need a very small amount of salt, I don’t recommend substituting salted butter here because it may make your madeleines too salty.
- Egg – I use 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks in this recipe. The additional yolks add richness and keep the madeleines moist.
- Vanilla – pure vanilla extract is used to enhance the flavor. Make sure to stay away from artificial vanilla flavoring.
- Sugar – regular granulated sugar is used here. I haven’t tried using other types of sugar so I can’t really recommend substitutions.
- Flour – all-purpose flour is all you need here.
- Baking powder – traditional madeleine recipe doesn’t use chemical leavening, all the lift is provided by the air whipped into the eggs. However, I find that a little bit of baking powder helps give it a little boost if you happen to deflate the batter while mixing it, making this recipe foolproof.
- Salt – just a little bit of salt is added to the batter.
Tools you’ll need
- You will need a specialty madeleine pan to bake these. It is a must to get the classic madeleine scalloped shell shape.
- A stand mixer or electric mixer will be needed to beat the eggs to ribbon stage.
- A pastry brush would be useful to butter the pan.
How to make madeleines
The following instructions, step by step photos and tips are here to help you visualize how to make the recipe. You can always skip straight to the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
First, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla extract together until light in color and creamy. The mixture should look thick and fall off the beater in a ribbon.
Second, sift together all the dry ingredients and fold it into the wet ingredients in two additions until just combined.
Tip: at this stage, the batter is quite thick. Don’t worry about mixing it until it is smooth or you’ll end up over mixing it.
Finally, fold the melted butter into the batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.
Tip: make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get any flour that may not have been incorporated in the previous step.
Butter and flour your madeleine pan and spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into each cavity. This recipe makes about 24 madeleines. You can bake in 2 batches, 1 pan at a time. You can keep the remaining batter refrigerated while the first batch is baking.
The basic technique
Classic madeleine recipes only rely on the air beaten into the egg mixture for volume and lift. It is crucial to beat the eggs long enough to reach ribbon stage so the madeleines can develop their signature humps when baked.
It is also important to fold the flour into the egg mixture very delicately, and the same goes for folding the melted butter into the batter, to avoid deflating the batter as this could affect the rise of the madeleines.
This technique, while simple, can create a somewhat fussy madeleine batter because it can be so easy to either underbeat the eggs or fold the batter too forcefully. I’ve experienced my fair share of flat madeleines so I’ve added just a little bit of baking powder to the batter to give these some help rising in the oven.
Getting the madeleines out of the pan
If your madeleines are underbaked, or if the batter is too wet for some reason, like the egg is larger than it should be or the weather is more humid than usual, they may stick to the pan.
Make sure the madeleines are baked properly, check that a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake is not wet, and the edges are golden brown. Also, allow them to finish baking and cool in the pan after you take them out of the oven before removing them.
To remove them, just flip the pan over and tap the back of the pan until the madeleines fall out onto a wire rack or a kitchen towel. If this doesn’t work, try to loosen the edges with a butter knife.
I don’t have a silicone madeleine mold, but from the look of it, you will be able to get perfect madeleines from the silicone mold without sticking.
- Add almond extract for a unique almondy flavor, or add other extracts of your choosing.
- Add citrus zest like lemon, orange, even grapefruit for a refreshing flavor.
- Dip these vanilla madeleines in melted chocolate.
- Add spices like chai, gingerbread spice blend, pumpkin pie spice, or apple pie spice.
Madeleines are best enjoyed the same day they are baked but can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container and will stay fresh for 3-5 days. They will last for up to a week but will start to dry out the longer you keep them, though still delicious.
You can freeze these vanilla madeleines for up to 3 months. Simply thaw at room temperature for a few hours and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
While madeleines tend to be referred to as madeleine cookies, they are actually little teacakes. These simple French pastries are known for their beautiful and distinct scalloped shell shape achieved only by using a specialty madeleine pan.
Madeleine batter is slightly runny at first like a thicker cake batter when you just finish mixing it. But once it is refrigerated, it will thicken further, though not quite like a cookie dough.
I’ve kept madeleine batter refrigerated overnight before and you can keep it refrigerated for up to 2 days if you don’t have time to bake the same day or want to make it a bit ahead of time.
Brush the madeleine pan with melted butter, get into all the creases. Then dust the pan with flour to give your madeleines an additional layer of protection, even if you have a nonstick pan.
No, you do not need to refrigerate baked madeleines. Simply store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
More madeleine recipes
- Red Velvet Madeleines
- Matcha Madeleines
- Marble Madeleines
- Olive Oil Rosemary Madeleines
- Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Madeleines
📖 Recipe card
- 6 oz unsalted butter (melted and cooled, 170 g)
- 2 large egg
- 2 large egg yolk
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (180 g)
- ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
- Melted butter and flour for pan
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Melt butter in a small saucepan (or in the microwave) and set aside to cool.
- Add the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract to a stand mixer bowl and beat together with the wire whip until light in color and creamy.
- Sift flour and baking powder into a small mixing bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a spatula in two additions until just combined.
- Fold the melted cool butter into the batter, working quickly so as not to over mix.
- Refrigerate the batter for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and brush it onto the madeleine pan, wipe off any excess pool of butter and sprinkle the pan with extra flour, shake off the excess.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter (or 28 g) in each madeleine cup. You could also use a medium cookie scoop.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Allow the madeleines to cool completely in the pan.
- Once cooled, remove madeleines from the pan and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Bake these in 2 batches or 1 pan at a time in the middle of the oven. Keep the remaining batter in the refrigerator while the first batch is baking.
- Make sure to chill the batter at least one hour before baking and up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
- Store baked madeleines at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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