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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines
As I have written before, I do have an addiction to those luscious shell-shaped sponge tea cakes known as Madeleines.  I have never strayed far from the David Lebovitz recipe that has always worked so well for me.  However, sometimes you just have to take a walk on the wild side and hope it works!  Here are links for the Lemon-Glazed Madeleines and the Vanilla Bean Madeleines I have made in the past....just in case you want to check them out.

I looked at a lot of blog posts and online recipes, trying to find a recipe very close to Chef Lebovitz's, with the addition of some Autumnal spices...and I was focused on adding pumpkin.  Not much luck.  There were several out there...some with pumpkin, some with just the spices.  None of the recipes were very close though.  So, I got brave and just decided to experiment.  Flop or fabulous?  It's never really wise to mess with a classic recipe...especially when you are hoping to take the goodies to a special occasion (going to take some to author William J. Cobb's The Bird Saviors book signing at Paragraph's on Padre Blvd).  Mehh, I'm doing it anyway....and here's how I did it.

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines
Based on Recipe from David Lebovitz
Makes 24 Madeleines


3 large eggs, at room temperature (important to be at room temp)
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned pumpkin)

(this is double the original recipe)
1 1/2 cup (300g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
4-5 tablespoons water (you judge the thickness you like)


1. Brush the indentations of a Madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer. (I use a non-stick pan, so I wipe with softened butter instead, using a paper towel...I have found the melted butter pools in the bottom of the non-stick pan causing flour to clump and uneven browning...lesson learned)

2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened. (it routinely takes me 7 minutes to get to a ribbon stage)

3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and dry spices.  Spoon the flour mixture into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)  Remember to fold gently - you want to keep the air incorporated into the mixture for a light sponge.

4. Add the vanilla bean paste and pumpkin puree to the almost cooled butter and whisk until completely smoothed out (and allow it to cool all the way).  Dribble the butter mixture into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.  Again, being cautious to fold gently to maintain incorporated air.
I prefer making the pumpkin butter before you need it

Gentle folding is integral

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours)

6. To bake the Madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

7. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation sufficient to fill it by 3/4's (you'll have to eyeball it, but it's not exact science, don't worry if it's not perfect - mine are never all the same size) Do not spread the batter - let it stay the way it lands.**(See note below)
This is the second batch

8. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set when pressed gently with your finger. (These took exactly 8 minutes in my oven)

9. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the sifted powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, and water until smooth.  Use a bowl suitable for dipping the Madeleines.
I like a thicker glaze so I doubled the original recipe amount.
I ended up with leftovers this time...oh well, rather too
much than not enough!

10. Remove from the oven and tilt the Madeleines out onto a cooling rack.

The moment they're cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife (or the side of the bowl)  After dipping, rest each one back on a cooling rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up. (Put a baking sheet under your cooling rack to catch any stray drips). 

Storage: glazed Madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they're best eaten the day they're made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. Freezing a glazed Madeleine doesn't really work - the glaze melts.

Have I mentioned how much I adore Madeleines?  To me, they are the ultimate bite-sized treat (okay, 3 bites).  A happy middle ground between a cookie and a cupcake; glazed not frosted.  They are, in my humble opinion, one of the absolute best treats you can have with a cup of good coffee or hot tea.  I will admit, also, that I love the traditional lemon-glazed the best.  I'm a lemon lover.  The rest of my household, not so much.  Thus, the "always thinking about it" search for different ways to make a favorite treat and make it family-friendly.  I think they are going to love the Pumpkin Spice Madeleines.  They are really tasty and the recipe tweaking worked out mostly okay.

What's different?  Well, they are much more dense, although still spongy.  They only vaguely taste of pumpkin because there was not much in it.  The spices are just right in my opinion, but it could handle a touch more to enhance the pumpkin pie flavor I was going for.  The mixing of the pumpkin and butter is, I believe, the reason they did not spread as much as usual.  **They didn't make it to the top or bottom of the mold shape.  They puffed up more than usual...they are supposed to have a "bump" - but these were completely round on the bottom.  Probably the mixing of the pumpkin butter instead of straight up melted butter is again the blame...I believe anyway.  The batter was "tighter" than usual - again the density result of adding pumpkin?  More "air holes" in the Madeleines as well.  I even tried give the pan a good bang after filling the second pan - but that did nothing - in fact there were more air holes in the second batch than the first.  I tried to fill the holes with glaze with my fingers...that didn't particularly work.  If I make them again, I am going to try skipping the pumpkin to keep the texture more true to traditional...and maybe bump up the spices a tad.  I like the little bump on traditional Madeleines and that was totally missing on these...a fully rounded bottom instead.

Still, the shape looks okay because it had all the mandatory scallops.  They taste delicious and pretty much how I imagined.  I give them a thumbs up for a nice Fall version of a traditional French cakelet.  I suspect purists would NOT agree.  I've never claimed to be pure, now have I? (batting my eyes)

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!

Shared With:

Ali Bee's Bake Shop Pumpkin Linky Party

Sweet Treats and Swanky Stuff Linky Party

FriDays Made Sweet

Chef In Training



  1. I havent ever tried a madeleine so I am glad you shared these!

  2. I totally get that addiction, madeleines are one of my favorites. I'd love a pumpkin spice. They look so good!

  3. Gosh they look so so good!
    I would love to have you share this (or any other recipes of yours) at Wednesday Extravaganza - my Foodie link party, and maybe win a lifetime feature on my Wall of Fame! Here is the link:

    I can't wait to see you there!

  4. These just look amazing!!! I adore them too but haven't made them in years. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!

  5.'s like combining 2 of my most favorite things...pumpkin and french pastries! :)


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