I have been dying to make this little spongy shell-like cake with lemon flavor. You might think that I am exaggerating with how much I love Lemon Madeleines. However, I must say I fell in love immediately at the first bite. The inside is moist and spongy, while the edges are slightly crispy. Moreover, I love how intense the lemon flavor in this recipe. I was super excited to share one of my most favorite dessert recipes and I hope you will like it as much as I do.
Madeleine is a French bite-sized sponge cakes with distinctive delicate shell-like shape on their bottom and the slight bump on their top sides. The shape is acquired from being baked in special molds that imprint a shell-like pattern. The cake is somewhat lighter than sponge cake as air is suspended in the batter during mixing to provide volume.
Tips on Making Lemon Madeleines
1. Beat eggs and sugar properly
Madeleines are in sponge cake category. They mostly get their volume from whipping the eggs. Firstly, you need room temperature eggs as the eggs will disperse more evenly into the batter, trap more air, and make lighter cake texture. If you forget to set your eggs out a few hours before you start, you can sit them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. After beating the eggs with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer until foamy, beat in the sugar little by little until the egg mixture become thick and pale. The clue is when the beater is raised, the batter should fall back like a ribbon into the bowl. If you don’t get it to this stage, your madeleines will be dense and will not have much rise.
2. Do not overmix the batter
In a separate bowl, toss in the dry ingredients together. Then, fold them into the beaten egg mixture. As not to deflate the air in the batter, add in the melted butter little by little into the mixture. You need to pay attention to avoid over mixing the batter so that your madeleines do not get dense and tough.
3. Chill the batter
Madeleine batter needs to chill out in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before baking. Letting the batter rest in the refrigerator helps in creating taller bump, which is a signature characteristic in madeleines. The taller it is, the fluffier the cake. You can start to preheat the oven 10 minutes before letting the batter out from the refrigerator and scooping it into the molds.
4. Choose the molds
There are so many kinds of madeleine mold material to choose from non-stick, aluminium, and silicone. Non-stick and silicone molds help to make unmolding and clean up easier. However, madeleines made with silicone molds will not brown like it should or crisp up the edges, while the one made with non stick molds come out too dark. I really recommend to buy aluminium madeleine molds as they make madeleine pretty crispy with light brownish color. You just need to grease and dust the molds with flour, and they should come out easily.
Can I bake madeleines in another pan? Yes, you can use a mini muffin pan, but the cake’s texture will be different. More importantly, you will not get the iconic shell-like shape on the bottom like how madeleines should be.
5. Freeze the molds
Getting that nice bump is the most challenging part of making perfect madeleines and I am still struggling at this part. The bump is like the most important feature in madeleines. Freezing the pans for 10 minutes will make madeleine more likely to form the classic bump on the back. After that, fill the pans and put them into the oven immediately. Do not worry if your madeleines do not have the bump as the texture and flavor are exactly the same.
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 gr)
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour (90 gr)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (55 gr) melted
- lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- confectioners' sugar for dusting
In a medium bowl, sift all purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir together to combine. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla extract until the eggs are frothy. Slowly add in granulated sugar and whisk for another 5 minutes.
Add dry ingredients, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the egg mixture. Stir with spatula until well combined. Don't overmix. Stir in melted butter little by little into the batter until incorporated.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest the batter for 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Preheat oven at 375F / 190°C. Grease the madeleine tin with melted butter and then flour the tin.
Remove the batter from the fridge. Fill each well in the madeleine tin with 1 tablespoon of the batter (about 3/4 of the way full).
- Bake for 13 minutes, or until the madeleines’ edges looks done and the tops spring back when touched.
- Remove the madeleines from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Using a fork, gently loosen the madeleines from their tin and then tip the whole tin out onto a cooling wrack or tea towel.
Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.