Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleine with Lemon Curd

I embellished this Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleine with Lemon Curd recipe with lemon, poppy seeds, and sweet, silken lemon curd.

Oh, Madeleine, your reputation precedes you. Exalted by writers and poets, baked by legends and served to Kings and Queens for centuries. No true Francophil’s repertoire would be complete without a sampling or two of these lightly scented, delicately sweet, petit gateaux (little cakes). With such an air of prestige, one could be fooled into believing that the baking of Madeleine should be left to the accomplished pastry chef or baker. On the contrary! Madeleine ingredients are common household staples that you probably already have in your pantry and refrigerator and are generally quick and easy to prepare.

There are a few tricks to the Madeleine that I would counsel you on. First, you must use a Madeleine tin. The most prominent feature of these dainty cakes is their scalloped, shell-shaped exterior. Second, be sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature to ensure proper emulsification and batter consistency. Third, watch your Madeleine closely during the cooking process. They cook quickly and can easily go from the desired, crisp, lightly browned edge to burnt and hard. If you follow these basic guidelines, making Madeleine should be a “piece of cake”.

Madeleine are delicious in a variety of flavors but the classic has just a hint of lemon.  In this Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleine with Lemon Curd recipe I embellish the classic by using more than the traditional amount of lemon, a smidgen of poppy seeds, a slightly denser texture and an accompaniment of sweet, silken lemon curd.

Both the Madeleine and Lemon curd are wonderful on there own but the combination of the two is outstanding.  This pairing is elegant without being fussy, traditional without being out-dated and decadent while remaining simplistic.

Who knew whipping up a batch of time-honored luxury was so easy?

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Units Scale
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (softened more for greasing)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (sliced and softened)
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  3. Grease the Madeleine tins
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Mix on med-high speed until pale in color and fully combined, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the poppy seeds, vanilla, lemon juice and zest to the creamed butter mixture. Mix on med-low speed until combined.
  6. Beat in eggs one at a time
  7. Add the baking powder and flour. Mix on med-low speed just to combine. Do not over mix.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among 12-16 Madeleine molds. (there are usually 12 per tin)
  9. Rap the tin against the countertop to nestle the batter into the molds
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes. The tops should just be set and the sides golden brown and fragrant.
  11. Immediately turn out the Madeleine onto a wire rack to cool, shell side down.

To Serve

  1. Madeleine’s are best served the day of baking, slightly warm or at room temperature. They will keep in an airtight container for 1-2 days but will develop a dense texture the longer they sit.
  2. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving then transfer to a serving platter.
  3. Serve with lemon curd and /or tea. If serving with tea, I recommend a tea blend containing bergamot.

Lemon Curd

  1. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a med-small bowl
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or by hand), cream together sugar, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and sea salt. Mix on med-low speed until fully combined
  3. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer running. The mixture may begin to look curdled, don’t worry it will become smooth during the cooking process.
  4. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart sauce pan and cook stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble slightly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 more minutes, making sure not to let the curd burn. The lemon curd is fully cooked when it coats the back of a spoon and has reached 170 degrees. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the lemon curd into the med-small bowl previously fitted with the strainer.
  6. Mix in the vanilla and cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the warm curd.
  7. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until cold at least 1-2 hours or until ready to use.
  8. Serve alongside the Madeleine or alone in decorative serving bowl.


  • The curd will keep in an air tight container for up to 5 days
  • Lemon curd is sweet and piquant, if you want to lighten the taste or the texture, fold in 1-2 cups of whipped cream (whipped to stiff peaks)
  • Madeleine’s are best served the day of baking, slightly warm or at room temperature.
  • Special Equipment: 2 standard Madeleine tin Adapted from: Jacques Pepin, Madeleine recipe Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa, Lemon Curd recipe

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