French Lemon Madeleines: A simple and delicious classic pastry

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There are a few words that are synonyms for
French cuisine and Lemon Madeleines are on top of that list.

Sometimes I like to channel my inner Julia Child
and bake this signature classic French pastry.

Lemon Madeleines are one of my favorites
with their soft and spongy texture,
punchy citrus flavor, elegant shell shape,
and a cute ‘hump’ that looks like perl, peaking out of the shell.

I am sharing my easy recipe for delightful French Lemon Madeleines
that are perfect for any occasion and any day of the week.

  • Apron? Check!
  • Pearls around your neck? Check!
  • French romantic music? Check!

Now say: “Bon Appetit!” like Julia used to and let’s get baking 💕!

french lemon madeleines on a plate

French lemon Madeleines recipe

These bite-sized lemon sponge cakes are a refreshing variant
of classic vanilla-flavored Madeleines.

I’ve been to France many times and each time,
this charming land imprints its soul into mine.
I love taking its magic with me into the kitchen,
exploring their recipes, and making them with my spin.
These Lemon Madeleines are taking me back to memories of
summer days, spent in sun-drenched Provence with each bite.

Preparation of these Madeleines is ‘easy peasy‘,
which makes them a perfect sweet treat when you’re baking with kids
or if your guests gave you short notice before their arrival.

There are just a few thing to keep in mind before you start baking:

  • chill the batter for 1 hour in the fridge before baking
  • don’t overmix the batter, as this can result in tough madeleines.
  • make sure you have Madeleine pan ready, which is usually made of metal

Are Madeleines French or Italian?

Madeleines are a traditional bite-sized French cake
that is baked in a shell-shaped mold.
They are made with a sponge cake batter,
which gives them a light and airy texture.

The batter is typically flavored with vanilla,
but lemon zest can be added for a refreshing citrus twist.

They are best enjoyed with a cup of freshly brewed coffee
or a cup of best-quality Early Gray black tea.
My 2 kids love eating these with a glass of milk or simply,
sneaking them from my carefully styled set 😇.

Ingredients for Lemon Madeleines

To make these delicious treats, you will need the following main ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour: This is the base ingredient for the madeleine batter.
  • White granulated sugar: Adds sweetness to the madeleines.
  • Eggs: Used to bind the ingredients together and give the madeleines a light, airy texture.
  • Lemon zest: Adds a bright, citrusy flavor to the madeleines.
  • Unsalted butter: Used to make the batter and to grease the madeleine molds.
  • Baking powder: Helps the madeleines rise and become light and fluffy.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor.

Overall, the ingredients required for lemon madeleines are
oh-so simple and easy to find at any grocery store.
With a few optional add-ons, you can customize the flavor
of your madeleines to your idea of finger-liking perfection.

Where to buy Madeleine pan

The madeleine pan is the most crucial tool
when it comes to making madeleines.
This pan has shell-shaped molds that will
give your madeleines their signature shape.

Before pouring the batter into the molds,
make sure you brush them with melted butter
and sprinkle with some flour,
to prevent sticking the Madeleines to the pan.

You can find madeleine pans made of different materials:

  • aluminum
  • silicone
  • non-stick-coated steel.

Choose the one that suits your needs and budget.

How to make Lemon Madeleines from scratch

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture in three parts, folding gently after each addition.

4. Add the lemon zest and melted butter, and fold gently until just combined. Do not overmix.

5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

6. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a madeleine pan with butter or cooking spray.

7. Spoon the batter into the madeleine pan, filling each mold about 3/4 full.

8. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers are set.

9. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

10. Decorate madeleines with lemon glaze.

Tips for making the perfect Lemon Madeleines

When making lemon madeleines, there are a few tips and tricks
to keep in mind to make these delicate mini cakes
perfectly shaped and soft like a cloud.
You know, the goal is to make them so cute and delicious,
you’d serve them to Julia Child herself.

Here are some helpful hints to consider when making this delicate French treat:

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature before beginning.
    This will help the batter come together smoothly and evenly.
  • Please do not skip this and sift the flour before adding it to the batter.
    This will help prevent lumps and ensure that the madeleines have a light and airy texture.
  • You love that naughty Madeleine hump, don’t you?
    To get it right, it is important to refrigerate the batter for an hour before baking.
    This will help the batter to puff up in the oven and create an iconic shape.
  • Be careful to not overbake these cute cakes.
    Keep a close eye on them to ensure that they are cooked through but not overdone.
    They should be lightly golden brown on the edges and puffed up in the center.

Making lemon madeleines requires a delicate touch and attention to detail,
but with these tips and tricks, anyone can achieve
perfectly puffed-up and delicious Madeleines.

How to store Madeleines

Once the Lemon Madeleines have cooled down,
they should be stored properly to maintain their freshness.

If you plan to eat them within the next day or two,
it is best to store them at room temperature in an airtight container.
This will help prevent them from drying out.

If you need to store the madeleines for a longer period,
they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can I freeze Madeleines?

Oh course you can!

To freeze the Lemon Madeleines, wrap them tightly
in plastic wrap and store them in a freezer-safe container.
They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to eat them,
allow them to thaw at room temperature before reheating.

Hot to reheat frozen madeleines?

Mmm, nothing better than craving something sweet and
realizing you have frozen sweet treats stored,
ready to be reheated, and enjoyed with a fresh glaze.

To reheat the Lemon Madeleines, preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
Place them on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven for 5-7 minutes
or until they are warmed through.

Alternatively, you can microwave them for 10-15 seconds on high power.

It is important to note that reheating the madeleines
may cause them to lose some of their texture and flavor.
For best results, it is recommended to consume them fresh.

How to serve Madeleines

Lemon Madeleines are a great addition to any dessert table or afternoon tea.

They can be served alongside other treats such as
cookies, tea cakes, and other baked goods.
The bright and tangy flavor of the Lemon Madeleines is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

To serve the Madeleines, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top
to add a touch of sweetness and a decorative finish.

You can go a step further in your pursuit of sweet pleasure
and dip them into pink glaze like I did.
I love the combination of spongy madeleine and juicy glaze, dripping down my fingers.

Ah, what a decadence!


More Lemon dessert recipes

Lemon curd pie

Lemon olive oil Bundt cake with citrus glaze

Easy Lemon Madeleines recipe

French Lemon Madeleines

These bite-sized lemon sponge cakes are a refreshing variant of classic vanilla-flavored Madeleines.
Lemon madeleines are one of my favorites with their soft fragrant spongy texture, punchy citrus flavor, elegant shell shape, and a cute 'hump' that looks like perl, peaking out of the shell.
Preparation is easy peasy, which makes them a perfect sweet treat when you're baking with kids or if your guests gave you short notice before their arrival.
Servings 12 pieces
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
batter chilling 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 Madeleines pan
  • 1 electric hand mixer
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 small mixing bowl for mixing the dry ingredients
  • 1 flour sifter
  • 1 Pastry brush
  • 1 piece of plastic wrap
  • 1 small mixing bowl for preparing the glaze
  • 1 small whisk for preparing the glaze

Ingredients

Madeleines batter

  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 g white caster sugar
  • 125 g all purpose flour sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 100 g butter melted and cooled
  • 1 psc lemon – only the zest

Pink Lemon glaze

  • 1/2 psc lemon – the juice
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 1 pinch red food coloring in powder

Instructions

Prepare the Madeleines batter

  • In a small saucepan melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture in three parts, folding gently after each addition.
  • Add the lemon zest and meltedbutter, and fold gently until just combined.
    Do not overmix.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or overnight.

Bake the Madeleines

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a madeleine pan with butter or cooking spray.
  • Spoon the batter into the Madeleine pan, filling each mold about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers are set.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Pink lemon glaze

  • In a small mixing bowl combine all the ingredients and whip the with a mini whisk until it becomes thick and smooth.
  • Decorate madeleines with the lemon glaze.

Notes

TIP:
Brushing the madeleine pan with butter and then freezing it for a few minutes can also be an effective way to prevent the dough from sticking.
Here’s how to do it:
  1. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, evenly coat the inside of each madeleine mold with softened butter. Make sure to get into all the crevices.
  2. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes, or until the butter is firm and cold.
  3. Once the butter is firm, remove the pan from the freezer and spoon the madeleine batter into the molds.
  4. Bake the madeleines according to the recipe instructions.
  5. Let the madeleines cool in the pan for a few minutes, then use a small spatula or butter knife to gently loosen the edges before removing them from the molds.
Author: Kristina Smodila
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: french dessert, french pastry, lemon cake, lemon dessert, madeleines, mini dessert
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