You can turn your kitchen into a French bakery and make these spiced Cinnamon Madeleine Cakes flavored with our favorite fall aromatic spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Madeleines are a classic French dessert cake with a pretty scallop shape that are buttery and tender inside with crispy edges on the outside.
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Years ago I bought a Madeleine cake pan and promptly put it away never to be used. It took cleaning out my cupboard to find this pan again, still all clean and shiny. If you have done the same pull that pan out and make these easy-to-make Classic French cakes that are our favorite little treats.
What are madeleines?
A madeleine hails from France and is baked in a special madeleines mold with scallops that produce a petite sponge cake that has a signature bump on top.
Are madeleines a cake or a cookie?
Many times madeleines are referred to as cookies, but the batter for madeleines is actually called a genoise which means sponge cake. Sponge cakes use eggs for leavening which causes the cakes to rise during baking and gives them their light and airy texture. So no baking powder or yeast is required. Let's call them CAKES!
There are so many possibilities to flavor Madeleines by adding different ingredients to the batter. Here are a few flavor ideas for you ~
- Earl Grey
- Honey Lavender
- Lemon with Lemon Glaze
- Orange Cardamom
- Pumpkin Spice
- Vanilla Bean
Of course, plain Madeleines with a dusting of powdered sugar are always delicious!
- Unsalted Butter
- All purpose flour
- Large eggs
- Superfine Sugar
Do you ever see the madeleines in containers next to cash registers in bakeries or coffee shops? So tempting to buy one or two or three, right, but you can bake these at home because this madeleine recipe isn't complicated and uses simple ingredients.
Grab a mixing bowl and a madeleine pan and let's bake.
Step 1. Place the butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted, then set aside to cool.
Step 2. Prepare the batter by adding the sugar, eggs, and vanilla to a bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl and using a handheld electric mixer. Mix these ingredients on medium speed for five to seven minutes until the mixture becomes pale and has tripled in volume.
At this point, you want to treat the egg batter as delicately as possible so it doesn't deflate, so be gentle.
Step 3. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl then lightly spoon this flour mixture on top of the egg mixture. Then with a rubber spatula start folding the flour into the beaten egg batter until the flour has been incorporated.
Step 4. Add the melted butter to the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula.
Step 5. Your madeleine sponge batter is done and ready to chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Chilling does help the batter rise during baking so you get those nice fluffy madeleines.
Step 6. While the dough is chilling in the fridge prepare your pan. Always butter your pan even if it is a nonstick pan. You can use cooking spray but I like the butter flavor better and then lightly coat the pan with flour.
Step 7. Spoon one tablespoon of batter into each shell. The batter will be thick, so you can press down on the batter to smooth it out a bit.
Step 8. Bake these cakes at 400 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes until the bump is on top and they are golden brown.
Step 9. Remove the little cakes from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Remove the cakes from the pan one by one, pushing each from the mold. If they are stuck you can run a knife around the edges to release them. It is better to prop the cakes up in the pan to finish cooling instead of putting them on a cooling rack which could cause the indentation of the racks lines.
Step 10. When cooled dust with confectioner's sugar using a sifter or a small strainer to sprinkle the sugar on top. Store the cakes in an airtight container for three days.
Oh joy, this batch came out beautifully. Give these little cakes a sprinkle of powdered sugar to add a bit of sweetness because anything dusted with powdered sugar just looks extra special.
Since eggs are the main ingredient for this recipe and what is used as a leavening, they need to be at room temperature so they will combine with the other ingredients. If they are cold they may separate.
The chilled batter can be kept covered in the fridge for up to two days.
Eating madeleines warm is simply the best, but they do keep for a couple of days in a covered container.
Do you have a madeleine mold?
Of course, you are going to need a Madeleine pan, just don't put it away in your cupboards for long. When buying a pan make sure to purchase one that is heavy-duty, that doesn't warp, such as the carbon steel non-stick madeleine mold.
More spicy dessert recipes
Who doesn't love spices? Here you will find nutmeg recipes, recipes with cloves and of course our favorite spice - cinnamon!
- Spiced Holiday Cookies with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
- Classic Ginger Cookies are always a tasty cookie.
- Cinnamon Rock Candy is a fun-to-make sweet treat and perfect for the holidays.
- Apple Cider Bread has all the yummy fall flavors we all love.
- Homemade Cinnamon Crescent Rolls are made with cottage cheese for a light and fluffy texture.
- Chai Spiced Shortbread Cookies are filled with chai tea.
- If you love nutmeg bake a loaf of our favorite Nutmeg and Pecan Braided Bread.
You can freeze the baked madeleines in an airtight container for up to six months. To serve let thaw for one to two hours.
If you don't have a madeleine mold use a greased and floured mini muffin pan, just add 2 teaspoons of batter and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Pin for later when you want to bake these sweet and tasty shell cakes
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Cinnamon Madeleine Cakes
- Place the butter in a small bowl then melt it in the microwave or you can use a saucepan to melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium-sized bowl beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla for five to seven minutes until the mixture becomes pale and has tripled in volume. You can use a handheld mixer or a stand mixer.
- In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and whisk to combine.
- Spoon the flour mixture over the egg batter and gently fold the flour into the batter with a rubber spatula to combine.
- Pour the cooled melted butter over the batter and again, gently fold into the batter until combined.
- Chill the batter for 1 hour.
- Set the oven temperature to 375 °F and generously grease and flour the Madeleine pan. Butter is my preferred choice. Some pans are non-stick so you may not have to flour the pan, but I would still grease it.
- Spoon a tablespoon of batter into each mold, and you can press down the dough to fill the cavity.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown the bump appears on top. Watch carefully so they don't over-brown.
- Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from the pan. See notes.
- With a sifter or fine-mesh sieve sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the cakes.
- Madeleines are best eaten warm or at room temperature on the same day they are made, but if you have leftovers store them in an airtight container for up to three days.
- Superfine sugar is also called Caster Sugar or Baker's Sugar - If you do not have superfine sugar you can make it in a food processor, spice grinder or blender. Simply add the amount of regular white sugar you need in the recipe and add additional sugar and grind for a few seconds to make a finer sugar crystal.
- For this recipe add 1 ½ tablespoons of extra sugar to the ¾ cups of sugar before grinding.
First published: Nov. 10, 2018. Last updated: July 16, 2022, for better readability.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.