Recipe for Lemon Madeleines

Transport yourself to the charming streets of France with our delightful recipe for Lemon Madeleines. These small, shell-shaped cakes have a rich history dating back to 18th-century Lorraine. Legend has it that a cook named Madeleine or a young maid named Madeleine introduced these treats, which have since become a staple in French patisseries. Author Laura Bradbury‘s friend Marie’s version adds a zesty twist with the inclusion of lemon zest instead of orange, imparting a tart citrus flavour. Straight from the pages of the cookbook Bisous & Brioche: Classic French Recipes and Family Favorites from a Life in France. these Lemon Madeleines promise a taste of traditional French baking in your own kitchen. Perfect for those who love baking, French recipes, or simply savouring a delightful treat!

Lemon Madeleines

Makes 24 Madeleines


1 scant cup butter
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Icing sugar


  1. Set a small pot over medium heat and melt the butter, making sure it doesn’t bubble. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, about 15 minutes.
  2. Using an electric beater or a metal whisk, mix the eggs on high speed (vigorously, if mixing by hand) with the sugar in a medium-sized bowl until pale in color, about 5 minutes. A
  3. dd the lemon zest and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the melted butter. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down onto the surface of the batter to avoid it drying out, and allow it to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
  4. Heat the oven to 430˚F. Grease a 24-cavity madeleine pan and set aside. (If you have a 12-cavity pan, bake them in two batches.)
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cavity no more than about three-quarters full. Put the pan in the fridge until the oven has reached temperature.
  6. Place the pan in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 380°F. Bake for about 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake until the edges of each madeleine are golden brown and there is a bump in the middle of the cookie, 5–7 minutes. Lowering the temperature in this manner is how you obtain the infamous madeleine bump!
  7. Immediately remove the madeleines from the pan by gently tapping the pan on the counter. Let cool a little on a cooling rack and sprinkle with icing sugar to taste. Madeleines are best served slightly warm on the day they are made.

Recipe excerpted from Bisous & Brioche by Laura Bradbury and Rebecca Wellman. Copyright © 2020 by Naomi Hansen. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.