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lemon madeleines

Lemon madeleines buttery and so very moreish! These little french fancies are a perfect mid morning treat or make an excellent after dinner petit four.

Lemon madeleines are both delicious and very easy to make. Once baked the problem is stopping at just one!

Close up of Madeleines in a baking tray dusted with icing sugar

This best lemon madeleine recipe is a basic batter that can be made ahead and chilled in the fridge until you are ready to bake.

The only requirement for lemon madeleines is a well prepared tray, brushed with butter and dusted with flour.

However their simplicity in no way impacts on the taste. Rustle up a tray and you’ll be hard pushed not to eat the lot!

Close up of Madeleines in a black baking tray dusted with icing sugar

This is French patisserie at its most simple. These simple cakes are also French tea cakes or French butter cakes.

These simple sponge cakes originated in France where they are serve warm from the oven, either with morning or mid afternoon coffee.

Lemon madeleine recipe steps:

Ingredients measured out o make a cake
Preheat the oven to 200C/180CFan/400F.
Weight out ingredients ready to start.
Place the eggs and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy.
Sifting flour into a lemon madeleine batter
Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl and add in the lemon zest and juice. Gently whisk in the remaining ingredients.
lemon cake batter
Allow the batter to stand for at least 20-30 minutes
a well floured madeleine tray and a dish with melted butter and silicone pastry brush
Meanwhile generously brush the madeleine tray with melted butter and then add a little flour to coat the tray. Tap off any excess flour.
A madeleine tray with batter added ready to be baked.
Pour the batter into the prepared madeleine tray. DO NOT overfill, fill to 3/4 full. Pop the tray into the oven and bake the lemon madeleines for 8-10 minutes.
madeleines from the oven freshly baked.
The cakes are ready when they have risen in the middle and are cooked through.
Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack and leave to cool for a couple of minutes, before plating and dusting with a little icing sugar. Serve immediately.

Recipe ingredients and substitutions:

  • Lemon can be substituted with other citrus flavours like orange or lime. You could also do a combination of citrus fruits.
  • Caster sugar is used as it has a lighter texture and dissolves quickly. We don’t recommend substituting with any other sugar in these light cake.
  • Carefully measure out the baking powder as too much will leave the cakes tasting bitter and you also run the risk of the cakes rising too quickly then collapsing.

How to serve madeleines?

Madeleines were traditionally served as an afternoon tea cake. However, my first taste of madeleines was in a London restaurant along with after dinner tea and coffee.

That gave Michelle and I the idea to serve it as the perfect petit four with after dinner tea and coffee at last month’s Supperclubs.

Our diners were delighted with these warm pastries served straight from the oven.

Madeleines in a baking tray dusted with icing sugar on dark blue backdrop
Madeleines fresh from the oven perfect mid morning or after dinner treat.

Hints and tips:

  1. The batter can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake the cakes.
  2. Key to the success of baking these simple lemon madeleines, is preparation of the tray. Generously butter and flour the madeleine tray before pouring in the batter. You want the cakes to slip right out of their scallop shapes moulds once baked!
  3. You know the cakes are ready when a cocktail stick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  4. The traditional madeleine shape is that they look like little scallop shells. One side has a scallop shape from the madeleine tin, the other side of the cake will be domed.
  5. Lemon madeleines are best served warm, straight from the oven and eaten within an hour of cooking.
  6. That is not to say that you can’t eat leftovers the next day, just that they are at their best served warm from the oven.
  7. A really simple and straight forward recipe, go on give them a try.

Pin the recipe:

pinterest graphic of madeleines

Additional recipe suggestions:

If you like this recipe then why not try some of our other great after dinner treats:

Close up of Madeleines in a black baking tray dusted with icing sugar

Lemon Madeleines

Buttery, lemony and so very moreish! These little french fancies are a perfect mid morning treat or make an excellent after dinner petit four.
4.72 from 14 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 16 portions
Calories: 101kcal


  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 lemon (zest & juice)
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 100 g butter (melted & cooled)


  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Brush a madeleine tray with melted butter then add a little flour to coat, tapping out any excess.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a bowl until light and frothy. Gently whisk in the remaining ingredients. Leave to stand for at least 20 minutes before pouring into the prepared madeleine tray using a dessert spoon. Do not overfill the trays, only about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture has risen a little in the middle and is fully cooked through. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack and leave for a few minutes to cool slightly. 
  • Serve immediately and enjoy whilst warm.


These are best eaten within an hour of cooking.
Feel free to change out the lemon for orange or blood orange when in season or mix the citrus flavours, just taking care not to add any more liquid than that equivalent to one lemon, approx 75ml.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Madeleines
Amount Per Serving
Calories 101 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 52mg2%
Potassium 47mg1%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 185IU4%
Vitamin C 3.5mg4%
Calcium 17mg2%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Baking
Cuisine : British, French
Keyword : easy baking, Lemon, Patisserie, petit fours
Tried this recipe? We’d love to see your photos!Mention @lostinf00d or tag #lostinfood!
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We are sharing this recipe with #CookBlogShare, and also with Jo’s Kitchen Larder and Apply Face to Blog that run #BakingCrumbs linkup.

Recipe Rating


Saturday 28th of May 2022

Fantastic great recipe. It’s true very difficult to stop eating them. Scrummy


Tuesday 31st of May 2022

Thank you Theresa, I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe. It's not easy stopping at one.

Kat (The Baking Explorer)

Friday 12th of July 2019

They look absolutely perfect! Beautiful photos too!


Monday 15th of July 2019

Thank you Kat, these are one of my favourite things to make (and eat!). Michelle.


Saturday 25th of May 2019

These look delicious - so pretty! I bet they taste super fresh and light too!


Saturday 25th of May 2019

Thanks Hannah, yes they are so light and they really need eating straight away - which is never really a problem for me!:-) Cheers, Michelle x

Cat | Curly's Cooking

Sunday 12th of May 2019

I'm embarrassed to say I don't think I have ever eaten a madeleine. These look so inviting and beautiful!


Monday 13th of May 2019

Thanks Cat, and can I just say - I have never eaten one either....more like 5, 6, a time! :-) But honestly so easy. Cheers, Michelle x

Jenny Walters

Wednesday 8th of May 2019

I'm the same here as Jo!I have a beautiful madeline tray sat in my drawer and have never used it! But this recipe will be my virgin bake in it. These look and sound absolutely delightful! So delicate and pretty. Thank you so much for sharing with #BakingCrumbs


Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Thanks Jenny. I must admit mine sat for years and I was always going to make them, now I've started again I reminded myself just how quick and easy they are! Cheers, Michelle