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Buttery Madeleines Recipe

Madeleines are tiny shell shaped sponge cakes and very popular throughout France.

This particular buttery madeleine recipe originates in Landes and is adapted from  The Cooking of Southwest France : Recipes from France’s Magnificent Rustic Cuisine by Paula Wolfort.

Prep Time (1 day in advance): 15 minutes | Cook Time: 12-15 minutes | Servings: 12-18 cakes



  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of superfine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup clarified butter *see below for instruction on clarifying butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened


  1. The day before serving, combine the eggs, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Whisk until thick and pale, about 2 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. Mix the flours and baking powder.  Sift twice, then gradually stir into the egg mixture.  DO NOT OVERBEAT.  Gently stir in the clarified butter, cream, lemon zest and vanilla.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  This allows batter to rest which results in more tender madeleines.
  3. The next day, preheat oven to 425° F.  With a pastry brush, coat the madeleine pan with the softened butter.  With a teaspoon of batter fill each madeleine mold about 2/3 full.  Tap the pan on the table to settle batter.  Smooth tops.
  4. Bake madeleines for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 325° F and bake for 7 to 10 more minutes until madeleines are light golden and just browning around the edges.  Place the tip of a knife at the base of each madeleine and gently turn madeleine out onto wire rack to cool slightly.  Madeleines are best served warm and can be gently reheated.  Serve with whipped butter or your favorite fresh berry jam.

*Clarifying butter to yield 1/3 cup (simple method)
Place one stick of butter (1/2 cup)  in 2 cup, microwaveable measure, and microwave on high for about 1 ½ minutes or until melted. Place butter in refrigerator for about 10 minutes to separate.  Skim off and discard foam that rises to the top and gently pour the butter off the milk solids, which have settled to the bottom.  This method yields a bit over 1/3 cup.

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