Madeleines {Mini French Butter Cakes}

Best old fashioned French Madeleines recipe, homemade from scratch with simple ingredients. Soft, tender mini butter cakes with beautiful shell design on one side and signature bump or hump or belly on the other side. Dusted with powdered sugar.

If you want to impress your guests and family this holiday season, these pillow soft, buttery, elegant, and surprisingly easy French dessert the way to go! I have yet to meet anyone who is not impressed by them. They disappear almost as quickly as they are placed on the table. These Pizelle Cookies, Church Window Cookies, and Oatmeal Lace Cookies are all holiday showstoppers due to their unusual and unique flavors, textures, and appearances.

Lots of Madeleines in A White Plate on Gray Background

What Are Madeleines? Is It A Cookie Or Cake?

Technically, they are mini cakes or French butter cakes with a bump in the center but people perceive them as cookies because of their small size. They are often recognizable because of the signature scalloped shell shape. They tend be a little more airy than a typical sponge cake.

How To Make Madeleines Recipe From Scratch?

  1. Melt or brown butter-And let it cool.
  2. Mix ingredients in bowl- This includes eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract.
  3. Add dry ingredients– This includes baking powder and flour.
  4. Mix gently– Until combined.
  5. Stir in melted butter- Until mixture is smooth and shiny.
  6. Cover– And chill.
  7. Spoon batter into mold– But don’t spread it.
  8. Bake– Until tops are golden brown.
  9. Cool cakes– On a wire rack.
  10. Top them– With powdered sugar.

Why Are My Madeleines Dry? Why Are They Soggy?

Typically there are dry because of over-baking or improper measurement of ingredients, or letting them sit out too long after baking them.

Soggy madeleines happen because they are undercooked or there was too much butter spread in the pan, or because they were not removed from the pan quickly enough to cool and steam was trapped in the mold, making them soggy.

Can You Make Madeleines Without The Mold?

Yes, you can but it won’t have the classic appearance. Just make sure to use a pan that is capable of containing the batter such as a mini muffin pan or mini tart pan. The texture may possibly be slightly different when using an alternative mold.

Closeup Shot of Madeleine Cake/ Cookies With Powdered Sugar on Gray Background

Variations For French Madeleine Cake

Chocolate version– Mix in some cocoa powder.

Try other extracts– Such as maple, orange, lemon, or almond extract.

Try other zests– Such as orange or grapefruit zest.

Topping options-Try a drizzle of Chocolate Ganache or Powdered Sugar Glaze (Vanilla Cake Glaze), or dip in melted chocolate and top with nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios) and sprinkles, or shredded coconut.

Color dough– Use gel food coloring to match a party or holiday theme.

Brown butter– For added flavor that is deep and nutty.

Make it gingerbread- Add cinnamon and freshly grated ginger for Holiday version.

Rosemary and strawberry flavor– Add infused rosemary and freeze dried strawberries.

Add mini chocolate chips– Use mini chips so they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter.

Matcha madeleines– Infuse the batter with matcha powder.

Add coffee– Such as instant espresso for a caffeine kick.

Add fruit– I recommend using freeze-dried fruit to prevent the batter from becoming too watery and soggy from fresh fruits.

Partially Eaten Mini French Butter Cake on Gray Background- Closeup Shot

Tips And Techniques For Madeleine Cookies/Biscuit

Number of cookies can vary– This depends on the cookie tray that you used and how deep and wide the molds were.

How to know when cookies are done baking? They are ready when tops are light golden brown and there is a “hump” or “bump” or “belly” in the center. They should be slightly firm along the edges and an inserted toothpick in the center should come out clean.

You must chill the dough– This allows batter to rest and become bubbly, and that causes the signature hump in the center of the cookies and makes the cake airy and spongey.

Do not mix the chilled dough– Mixing the chilled dough will cause the air bubbles to deflate and the cake will be more dense as opposed to fluffy and airy.

Melted butter must cool down a bit before being used– So that it isn’t too hot and does not melt the sugar or even begin to cook the eggs.

Flour must be sifted– Because this allows for a smooth and even texture that is light and fluffy.

Cookie pans must be greased– It does not matter if they are nonstick pans, the batter will still stick unless the pans are greased. You can use an oil spray, if you like.

Use unsalted butter– So the cakes do not become too salty.

Storing them is tricky– They just don’t taste as good after a few hours. They start becoming dry quickly.

Beat the eggs and sugar for 5-6 minutes– You are adding air into the mixture, which is VERY IMPORTANT. It is what makes the cakes so light and airy and gives them their signature texture and shape. Otherwise, they will be flat in the center.

Don’t over-fill the mold– This will affect the shape of the cakes and make them less presentable plus the batter can over-flow from the pan and make a mess.


These are best served immediately. They dry out very quickly. Try to finish them off in a 1-3 hours.

Refrigerate– If you must store them, then cool them, and wrap them individually in saran wrap and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. They will still be slightly drier than when eaten fresh.

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Easy French Madeleines Cookies/ Cakes on White Plate and Gray Background
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Madeleines (Mini French Butter Cakes)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Chill time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Best old fashioned French Madeleines recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft, tender mini butter cakes with beautiful shell design on one side and signature bump or hump or belly on the other side. Dusted with powdered sugar.
Yield: 18 Cookies


  • 1/2 cup Butter, Unsalted
  • 2 Eggs, Large, Room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Lemon zest
  • 1.5 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour, Sifted

For greasing pan

  • 2 tbsp Butter, Unsalted, Melted


  • Add butter in a nonstick saucepan and melt it over medium heat. You can choose to brown the butter and that will add a lovely nutty flavor and aroma. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool as you work on the remaining steps.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract and mix for 5-6 minutes until mixture becomes thick and pale and it forms ribbons when you lift the beaters.
  • Add half the baking powder and half the flour and gently mix it into the wet mixture with a silicon spatula. Do not use the mixer any more!
  • Add the remaining baking powder and remaining flour and gently gently mix it into the wet mixture with a spatula too until just combined.
  • Add melted butter and gently stir it into the batter too until mixture is smooth and shiny.
  • Cover and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes. This allows it to become airy and "spongey."
  • Brush melted butter lightly on your madeleine pan.
  • Remove batter from fridge. Do not mix! That will cause air bubbles to deflate.
  • Spoon out about 1 tbsp of the batter and drop it in the middle of each mold. Don't spread it.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until tops are light golden brown and there is a "hump" or "bump" or "belly" in the center. They should be slightly firm along the edges and an inserted toothpick in the center should come out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let them cool in the pan for about 1 minute and then, gently remove them from the molds and transfer them to a wire rack to slightly cool.
  • Top them off with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
  • Serve immediately while warm and enjoy.


  • Read all my tips above.
  • Tastes best when served on the same day because they dry out quickly.


Calories: 111kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 63mg, Potassium: 28mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 223IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Calories: 111
Author: Abeer Rizvi

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