Experiment with the basic madeleine recipe and numerous flavors and create new variations of classic French madeleines. Adjust the recipe in any way you desire: the possibilities are endless!
Madeleines. If you have never tried to make these seemingly fussy little cakes that are not so complicated to make in reality, you should definitely give it a try.
Madeleines are one of the most popular French pastries. They are sponge tea cakes and not cookies like most (non-French) people think of these little cakes, browned on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.
I have already covered all the details regarding ingredients and step by step madeleine recipe in the post “How To Make Perfect French Madeleines”; so, I would suggest you read this guide before you start making madeleines.
Believe me, if I say that even if you are a fairly new baker, you will succeed in making these unique little cakes by following all the instructions.
Have you heard about a madeleine’s “bump” that is a sign of the authentic French madeleines? Yes, you will get it!
- Classic French madeleines
- Dust or not dust madeleines
- Flavored madeleines
- Lemon poppy seed madeleines
- Nuts sprinkled madeleines
- Pumpkin seed madeleines
- Chocolate chip French madeleines
- Spiced madeleines
- Glazed French madeleines
- Other madeleine flavors
- More delicious tea cake recipes you will love
- Vanilla French Madeleines
Classic French madeleines
It is considered that classic French madeleines are citrus-scented madeleines. Most chefs add lemon or orange zest, or orange flower water. Some chefs add the zest of lime or fingered citron or even a few drops of lemon oil.
But what to do if you do not like the citrus note in these cakes? You can make plain madeleines or flavor them with the only vanilla. I am sharing such a madeleine recipe with you below.
Dust or not dust madeleines
It seems that dusting madeleines with powdered (icing) sugar is a common final touch if you look at most madeleine recipes, but French chefs serve these cakes without powdered sugar on top. It is up to you to omit or perform this step.
If you ask me what side of madeleines – bumpy or shell-shaped – to dust, I do not really know. The flat-looking madeleines are usually dusted on top of their shell side. They are served and, by the way, photographed in this way.
The authentic French madeleines are served with the bump on top and shell side down. All the added decorations go on top of their bumpy side. I assume that French people would dust this side of madeleines.
Let’s say that you have mastered a classic madeleine recipe. What is next? Trust me: you will be eager to start experimenting with different flavors and ingredients while making madeleines.
Most flavorings are added at the stage of making the cake batter. Chopped nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits are incorporated into the dough mixture or sprinkled on top of madeleines before baking. Freshly warm cakes are sometimes covered with a glaze.
Lemon poppy seed madeleines
Lemon poppy seed madeleines are an excellent treat for the springtime. Little cakes flavored with lemon zest and evenly distributed poppy seeds will play with your taste buds and make your mouth say a big ‘WOW!”
Zesty and sweet lemon poppy seed madeleines are easy to bake. Using a zester grater, make the zest of half of the lemon. Add the zest and one teaspoon of poppy seeds to the batter at the last step (the madeleine recipe is below) and mix.
Do you not like the lemon note? Omit the lemon zest and add the only poppy seeds.
Nuts sprinkled madeleines
Imagine the variations of madeleines if you sprinkle them with different chopped nuts or seeds. One of the most popular nuts to use are pistachios and flaked almonds. Feel free to play with chopped pecans and walnuts.
Toast nuts in the oven at 300 F/150 C for 10 to 15 minutes. Chop them and sprinkled the butter that is filled in the cavities of a madeleine mold before baking.
If you use quarters of pecans or walnuts, try to arrange them in a circle, leaving the center of the batter free of nuts. Do you remember the madeleine bump? It might not rise as high as we want if “heavy” quarters of nuts are placed on top.
Pumpkin seed madeleines
Have you ever thought of adding organic pepitas (no shell pumpkin seeds) to madeleines? Since the pumpkin season comes in the fall, it becomes obvious to create pumpkin seed madeleines around the Halloween holiday.
Sprinkle the butter that is already in madeleine molds with the raw or toasted pepitas, and bake as directed. Add a few toasted unsalted sunflower seeds as well if you desire.
Chocolate chip French madeleines
Everybody loves chocolate. If you are a chocolate lover, you will surely appreciate chocolate chip madeleines.
Use chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (dark chocolate, milk, white, or mint chocolate ones) and stir them into the cake batter at the last step before refrigerating.
It is enough to add 3 1/2 oz (100 g) of chocolate, chopped into very small pieces, or 1/4 cup (40 g) of chocolate chips. The chocolate will be evenly distributed in the baked madeleines.
If you want only to sprinkle madeleines with chocolate chips (add a few toasted flaked almonds for an additional crunchiness), please, go for it.
Gently spiced madeleines are the perfect pairing with coffee, tea, and even a dessert wine. Served right from the oven, these warm little cakes bring up a festive spirit around the Christmas time.
It seems that the scent of the warm spices is mostly associated with the wintertime. But why not enjoy the spiced madeleines in summer, serving them with the hibiscus tea sorbet, basil, or orange ice creams? They are delicious this way, too!
What spices to add to the madeleine batter? The ground cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, and mix of them are used to make spicy-flavored madeleines.
While playing with spices, I found a formula that gives the most beautiful taste to madeleines. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves. Add this mixture to the sifted flour and baking powder (the recipe is below) and incorporate the dry ingredients into the batter.
I do not recommend mixing more than four spices at the same time, though. So, do not over spice your madeleines!
Glazed French madeleines
Glaze spiced madeleines with the molasses glaze that beautifully adds “a bit of depth” or use the melted honey (about three tablespoons) as a glaze.
How to glaze madeleines? Unmold and let cool the baked cakes for 5 minutes. Dip top (not shell side) of each madeleine into the glaze and place madeleines bump up for the glaze to set.
Glaze the shell-patterned side of madeleines, especially with the use of the honey as a glaze, if you prefer this way.
Other madeleine flavors
There are so many ways to flavor classic French madeleines by adding different ingredients to the batter. Here are a few flavor ideas for you:
- Earl Grey tea: melt the butter, add two tea bags, and let the butter infuse for 10 minutes. Then discard tea bags and finish making the madeleine batter as directed.
- Lavender: add one teaspoon of dried lavender to the melted butter and let steep 5 minutes. Then pour the butter into a fine sieve and incorporate the infused butter into the cake batter.
- Matcha: add one to two teaspoons of matcha powder to the mixture of sifted flour with baking powder. Make the batter as directed.
- Coconut: add 1/4 to 1/3 cup (25 to 33 g) of sweetened shredded coconut to the cake batter.
- Cranberry: add 1/3 cup (40 g) of finely chopped dried cranberries (or dried cherries) with one tablespoon of orange zest to the batter.
- Blueberry: add 1/3 cup (40 g) of dried wild blueberries to the cake batter and sprinkle with the flaked almonds before baking.
- Almond: add a few drops of the almond extract to the madeleine batter.
- Saffron: place butter and saffron threads in a small saucepan and heat over low until butter is melted. Then follow the recipe as directed.
- Chocolate: replace two tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder in the recipe.
- Maple: replace honey with the same amount of the reduced maple syrup. Cook maple syrup over medium-low heat and reduce it by half, cooking for about 15 minutes.
Madeleines are delicious when served right from the oven and slightly cooled. Keep them in an airtight container for a couple of days, but the cakes will start losing their crispiness. That is why fresh-from-the-oven madeleines are the best.
Below, I am sharing with you a recipe for Vanilla French Madeleines that is a basic recipe for a number of flavors. Play with flavors and customize these little cakes in the way you desire.
Read the post “How To Make Perfect French Madeleines” before you start. It is the best guide to succeed in making classic French madeleines.
More delicious tea cake recipes you will love
- Raspberry Madeleines Dessert Ispahan
- Brown Butter French Financiers
- Easy Blackberry Heart-Shaped Friands
- Browse all the Cake Recipes
Please, note that the recipe was primarily developed using gram measurements for the high precision and then converted to the US volume and weight measurements.
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Vanilla French Madeleines
Enjoy the basic recipe for the homemade vanilla French madeleines, which is used to experiment with numerous flavors to create new variations of madeleines.
- Total Time: 1 hour (plus chilling time)
- Yield: 36 1x
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- Follow this recipe with step by step photographed explanations, except adding the lemon zest.
- To make the batter, place eggs, sugar, honey and scraped seeds of half of the vanilla bean in a large bowl and beat with a hand whisk. Sift flour with baking powder using a flour sifter, add to the mixture and combine with a whisk. Add the cooled melted butter and whisk again.
- Cover the batter with a plastic film in contact and refrigerate overnight, or even better for 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C. Butter cavities of a madeleine mold: either it is a silicon one (it facilitates the removal of cakes), or it is a metal one. If you use the latter one, dust it with flour and tap any excess. Using a pastry bag, fill the cavities up to three fourth.
- Bake at 425 F/220 C for 3 minutes. Then switch off the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. The madeleines will get that famous bump on top. Turn the oven to 320 F/160 C for the other 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove madeleines from the oven and cool them in the mold for 5 minutes. Take them out one by one, pushing each cavity from the bottom. Place cakes on the side, still in the mold, so that they completely cool.
- if you wish.
- Do not overheat butter while melting. To avoid this, turn off the heat when half of the butter is melted and mix butter off the heat. Cool the butter before incorporating it into the main preparation.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C and let it heat for 10 minutes. This step is necessary to get the bump of madeleines.
- Leave the filled mold in the fridge while preheating/heating the oven.
- Respect the temperature regimen while baking. The ideal temperature formula is 3 + 8 + 4 where “3” is 3 minutes of baking at 425 F/220 C, “8” is 8 minutes with the oven switched off and “4” is 4 minutes of baking at 320 F/160 C. You might need to test your oven and adjust this formula, for example, as 3 + 7 + 3 or something different. To adjust the last baking minutes are essential to prevent madeleines from burning.
- Bake one batch of madeleines (one mold) at a time. After each batch clean the mold, then bake the rest. Keep the batter in the fridge between batches’ baking.
- Serving Size: 1 madeleine
- Calories: 112
- Sugar: 7.3 g
- Sodium: 50 mg
- Fat: 6.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.7 g
- Fiber: 0.2 g
- Protein: 1.7 g
- Cholesterol: 41 mg
Keywords: madeleines, French madeleines, flavored madeleines, madeleine flavors, madeleine flavours