These fluffy and buttery pumpkin madeleines are the perfect Fall twist on these shell-shaped cakes. They're made with real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for their delicious flavour. These soft, spongey, tiny cakes are easier to make than you think. You won't be able to have just one!
These pumpkin madeleines start with a sponge cake base. Making the batter is easy but may be a bit different from what you're used to. The eggs and sugar are whipped up for several minutes to incorporate tons of air into the batter. The melted butter is added to the batter last to trap all the air bubbles that you've created. The result is airy, spongey, and fluffy little cakes.
Despite being so fluffy, these madeleines are rich and full of pumpkin spice flavour. They're perfect all year round but especially for the Fall season. They're a great cozy dessert to enjoy with a hot beverage.
What are madeleines?
Madeleines are small sponge cakes originating from France. They have a recognizable shell shape due to being baked in a special pan with shell-shaped depressions. Madeleines are sometimes referred to as cookies but the soft, fluffy, cake-like texture definitely makes them tiny cakes.
The perfect madeleines are dense and spongey with tiny holes throughout. They're puffy in the middle with a bump on one side. Soft on the inside and slightly crisp on the edges.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- These pumpkin madeleines are fluffy, buttery, and delicious!
- This recipe is a great way to use up leftover pumpkin puree from other recipes because you only need a small amount.
- They’re perfectly spiced with pumpkin pie spice making them a great Fall-inspired twist on a classic recipe.
- They’re surprisingly easy to make!
- You can make them ahead of time because the batter needs some chilling time. Make them the night before and bake them fresh the next day!
Tools & equipment
There are two special tools you'll need to make madeleines:
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer - You'll need this to very easily beat lots of air into the egg mixture. You can use a manual whisk but you'll be beating for longer and your arm might get sore! I use my KitchenAid Hand Mixer or my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
- Madeleine pan - This special pan is the key to creating the shell shape of madeleines. It's a rectangular pan with shallow shell-shaped depressions. I used this madeleine pan that makes 12 madeleines at a time.
- Eggs - You'll need 2 large eggs at room temperature. If you forget to take them out of the fridge ahead of time, just submerge them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
- Granulated sugar
- Pumpkin puree - Use canned or homemade unsweetened, pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. You only need a small amount so this is great if you have leftover pumpkin puree from other recipes.
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Pumpkin pie spice - This spice mix gives these pumpkin madeleines most of their flavour. If you don't have pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, mix together ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
- Unsalted butter - Your butter should be melted and cooled before use.
- Powdered sugar - This is the finishing touch for dusting on your madeleines just before serving.
How to make pumpkin madeleines
Whip eggs - In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to beat the egg mixture until it becomes very pale in colour and leaves trails when mixed, about 8 minutes. Mix in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract until combined.
Add the dry ingredients - Sift in the flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Use a spatula to gently fold together until just combined.
Fold in butter - Add in the melted butter and fold until just combined and no streaks of butter remain.
Chill batter - Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the batter and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. It should become very spongey and airy.
Grease pan - Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter and use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of melted butter on the madeleine pan.
Portion out batter - Use a tablespoon or a small cookie scooper to scoop out about 1.5-2 tablespoons of batter into each madeleine mold. Leave the batter as is - it will melt and expand into the pan as it bakes.
Bake madeleines - Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes then turn down the temperature to 350°F for another 5-6 minutes until the tops are puffed and the edges are golden brown. Cool madeleines in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before enjoying!
Madeleines are best enjoyed on the same day they are baked. If you have leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. After the first day, the texture changes quite significantly so I would recommend enjoying them freshly baked.
Madeleines can be frozen but there will be a loss in texture after thawing. If you must freeze them, wrap them well in plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil and freeze them for up to 1 month.
Tips & tricks
- Use room temperature ingredients. Your eggs and pumpkin puree (if it was stored in the fridge) should be taken out ahead of time to let them come to room temperature. If your ingredients are too cold, the butter will solidify into little bits when you add it to the batter and it won't come together smoothly.
- Whip the eggs for the full amount of time. You really want to beat your eggs and sugar for the full 8 minutes or more. Whipping lots of air into the batter is essential for this recipe to work. Your eggs should go from yellow and frothy to very pale in colour and thick.
- Handle the batter with care. After whipping all that air in your batter, you don't want to deflate it. Gently fold in the rest of the ingredients until combined with a spatula.
- Chill the batter. The batter really transforms after being chilled for at least 1 hour, several hours, or even overnight. The texture of the batter will be very airy and spongey when you scoop it - this is the correct consistency.
- Enjoy your madeleines freshly baked. The texture of madeleines is the best when they're freshly baked and starts to change after a day. They'll still taste good but fresh is best!
Frequently asked questions
If you don't have a madeleine pan, you can use a muffin or cupcake pan. Grease the pan with melted butter in the same way. The result will be about the same, just without the distinctive shell shape.
Chilling madeleine batter is key to achieving the right consistency. It allows the batter to thicken and for the butter to firm up. When the heat from the oven hits the cold batter, it bakes evenly and helps the madeleines rise and puff up.
Storing madeleines in an airtight container will cause them to become sticky to the touch from the moisture trapped inside the container. It isn't a bad thing and it doesn't affect the taste.
More pumpkin recipes you should try
- Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
- Pumpkin Crepe Cake
- Pumpkin Swiss Roll
- Pumpkin Crème Brûlée Tart
- Pumpkin Panna Cotta
- Pumpkin Spice White Russian
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 50 g pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 100 g unsalted butter, melted & cooled
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to beat the egg mixture until it becomes very pale in colour and leaves trails when mixed, about 8 minutes. Mix in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract until combined.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Use a spatula to gently fold together until just combined.
- Add in the melted butter and fold until just combined and no streaks of butter remain.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the batter and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. It should become very spongey and airy.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter and use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of melted butter on the madeleine pan.
- Use a tablespoon or a small cookie scooper to scoop out about 1.5-2 tablespoons of batter into each madeleine mold. Leave the batter as is - it will melt and expand into the madeleine shape as it bakes.
- Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes then turn down the temperature to 350°F for another 5-6 minutes until the tops are puffed and edges are golden brown.
- Cool madeleines in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before enjoying!