Traditional French Madeleines


A madeleine is a French soft mini sponge cake made with eggs, flour, sugar and butter, based of a traditional genoise cake batter. They have a distinctive shell shape with tapered edges, smooth on one side and bumpy on the other. They are often eaten hot with a coffee in the morning or for tea.

There are a huge variety of flavors to choose from, the base is always a delicate sponge cake, but you can add chocolate, coffee, tea, spices, fruits and other types of flavorings, you can also sprinkle or add to the batter things like pistachios, almonds, chocolate sprinkles, poppy seeds, as well as versions with different flours like coconut or almond flour, although these might be a bit too different to be called real madeleine.

The name is related with the town of Commercy in Lorraine, France. Legend has it that a young girl called Madeleine in the 1700s, stood in as pastry chef to the Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leszczyński, and the only thing she knew how to make was her grandmother’s cake recipe. Everyone loved them, and the ‘madeleine’ was born, this little cake became even more popular when King Louis XV took a fancy to it and introduced them to the French court.

I absolutely love a good madeleine, but please note that you need a madeleine mold to make these, there are metal pans or silicone, with different sizes and widths but the standard size is always the recommended, let’s check the recipe.

Traditional French Madeleines

  • Servings: 26
  • Difficulty: Normal
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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The traditional French madeleine is a delicious, small cake-like treat. Its distinctive shell-like shape and delicate sweet flavor make it a favorite, with a pretty easy recipe and lots of flavorings to choose from.


  • Flour – 200gr
  • Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar – 200gr
  • Butter – 150gr (At room temperature)
  • Butter – For Greasing
  • Eggs – 3L (Room Temperature)
  • Milk – 75ml (Full fat) (Room Temperature)
  • Vanilla – 1 Tablespoon (Extract)
  • Lime – 3 (zest or from 1 large lemon)


  1. Start by beating the soft butter, sugar, and lime zest until you get a whitish mixture.
  2. While beating, combine in a bowl the eggs, milk and vanilla, mix until smooth.
  3. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the butter mixture, beat a little more until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Finally, sift the flour with the baking powder into the mixture and mix without beating, cover the mixture with cling film and refrigerate for about 8 hours.
  5. When it’s time to bake, preheat the oven to 200ºC and grease the baking sheets with butter.
  6. Pour spoonfuls of batter into each pan, note that the batter will be slightly thick, and you don’t want to pour too much, the eye rule and pour until you still have a small edge of the pan visible (because the cupcake will still be growing, you want the madeleine bump but not for the cake to overflow while baking, also i might have added a bit too much on mine, check the photo).
  7. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes until the madeleines grow a little hump and the edge starts to brown, and you’re done.
  8. Remove from the oven, let them cool a few minutes, before serving. If you still have dough left, clean the mold with some paper, grease it again, and make more madeleines! Enjoy!
Notes: Can you make madeleines with a cupcake mold? Absolutely, it’s a good fluffy sponge cake batter, but there is something to say about that form factor that does make a difference, so my recommendation is to get the mold and start with the plain (vanilla or lemon) madeleine and go from there.

Authentic french madeleines are served with their signature hump on top and shell side down, but you can bake these with less batter, and so they will bake more flat and serve them shell side up… note that a lot of people like to dust the madeleines with powdered sugar, you can, but in my opinion its unnecessary, this is supposed to be a not so sweet cake with a delicate texture and flavor, adding the sugar just hides the taste of the cake… for me at least ;D

This recipe for Traditional French Madeleines was originally created on Esta receita de Madalenas Tradicionais foi publicada em português no


Per Serving: 120 calories; 5.6 g fat; 13.5 g carbohydrates; 1.4 g protein.

Did you try this recipe?

Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below ;D


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